I leave for Niger VERY early on Wednesday morning, and won’t be back for a full FOUR WEEKS!
Some of the details about the trip are still up in the air, but it’s pretty near impossible to plan anything with any accuracy when it comes to Niger. So, for those who are interested (and since I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to find an internet connection to send updates) here’s my general plan:
I leave Wednesday, November 19th at 6am. I’ll fly thru Atlanta, then Paris, and then finally arrive in Niamey, Niger at 4:30pm local time on Thursday. So, a little over 25 hours total travel time.
I’ll spend a few days in Niamey before heading south 4 hours to Gaya, the city nearest to my village. The amount of time in Niamey will all depend on if I’m able to score a ride in a Peace Corps vehicle that might be going down to visit volunteers. Let’s hope that works out! In Niamey I’ll be staying with my old PC boss, Gaston Kaba, who came to stay with Reuben and me last month while he was traveling for a Rotary project. I’m hoping to have a chance to check out some local Rotary projects with him, as Reuben’s working to raise support from various clubs in Oregon.
In Gaya I’ll visit some of the secondary schools, where I may use some of the donated funds to help fund a PC project to provide English textbooks to the students. From there, it’s about an hour drive up a gravel road, and an hour walk on a dirt road out to my village. They know I’m coming, which will make the surprise not quite as fun, but it will be great since I can be more confident that my friends will all be around.
I’ll likely spend anywhere from 4 – 10 days in the village. It will depend on 2 things: 1) What projects I decide to undertake and how much travel back to the city they’ll require, and 2) How much time it takes before I realize it’s a lot harder living in the bush when I’m in my 30’s and don’t even have my own hut or latrine anymore. 🙂
My colleagues arrive on December 4th, and we’ll head pretty quickly out east about 10-12 hours to visit families who are impacted by severe hunger. We’ll be talking with mothers and small children, visiting health clinics, seeing how therapeutic feeding works, and taking lots of pictures and video. At that point in the trip I should be able to get online a bit more reliably… hopefully!
Our return trip starts on December 15th at midnight, and includes a mandatory 24-hour stopover in Paris, which I find incredibly fortunate! So, I won’t be back in Portland until the evening of December 16th, just in time for Christmas!
Here I go!
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