Snow in Niger!

3 03 2009

[Dusty day along the stadium wall in Dosso]

Just kidding…  There’s no snow here.  Just 105 degree temperatures and lots of dust being blown in by the Harmattan winds.  My sister, on the other hand, is getting snow days off from work in Athens, GA!


[My sister, frosty, and brother in-law in Athens, GA]

Unpleasant weather aside, everything is going well here.  I’ve begun harvesting veggies from my garden.  It is producing some monster radishes, turnips, and squash! This week I’ll probably go ahead and harvest all of the radishes and most of the turnips.  I just need to figure out what I’m going to do with them.

 

My mural projet got off to a great start yesterday!  Six sections of the stadium wall were repaired and repainted.  Roger, the artist I’m working with, did a great job assisting the youth with painting in the morning.  In the afternoon he brought his drum.  What started as a small drum circle, turned into a large group of perhaps 200 students.  Roger took the opportunity to talk to the group about AIDS in both Zarma and French while mixing in musical performances.  The day worked out exceptionally well.  So far the project has taken more paint that expected.  That means I’m going to have to find more funding.  For now I have most of what I need to complete the first few murals.  Today I’m busy teaching computer classes, but work on the actual AIDS murals should have begun this morning.

Yesterday I was also invited to join representatives from the Helen Keller Institute to visit and evaluate radio stations they had installed several years ago.  Unfortunately I had too much going on today to participate.  People working in Niger have a knack for notifying you about upcoming events at the very last minute.  Hopefully I’ll have other opportunities to work with the ONG.  One of the most significant problems facing community radio stations in Niger is a lack of funds necessary to sustain reliable operations after the initial station has been built. Without outside funding and with no product advertisement it is difficult for stations to raise enough money to pay the electricity bill yet alone repair equipment as it fails.  This is a common problem related too all sectors in the developing world.  Non-profit organizations provide funding to create infrastructure like radio stations or water pumps, but they do not provide ways for the community to effectively maintain it.  It’s all about sustainability!<!–[if !mso]>

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