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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They’re coming…..

24 07 2008

[Grain storage in the Hausa village of Zoday]

Yesterday besides discovering the magic of the new firefox and Scribefire (which enables me to easily compose blog entries on my computer with or without an internet connection), I worked on processing some radio scripts for entry into my ICT database and finally got one of my recent radio shows on the air. The show talked about the world food crisis and what nigeriennes can do to lessen the negative impact on their families. This was at least the 5th show I’ve participated in. I hope to get them all online as soon as I find a place to store them.
After a few weeks of minimal spending, last night I finally got reimbursed by PC for some recent expenses. So I splurged and went down the street for an egg sandwich and some baobab fruit candy. Luckily egg sandwiches are a fairly common street food item; they’re delicious. After that I went back to the station for a little while to complete some Adobe Audition training with one of the technicians.
Later that night at 4am I awoke to flashes of lightning and thunder nearby. I moved my bed and mosquito net inside to continue sleeping. That’s one of the few downsides of sleeping outside during rainy season; storms often blow in at night. They usually only bring a little light rain, but occasionally result in massive downpours. Last night’s rains were minor.
I woke up a little after 8am to one of my neighbor’s kids at the door. I tried to lecture him on the fact that if my millet stalk door was shut in the morning not to disturb me. However, since I really needed to get up anyway, I let him in to play a game on my cell phone. (Niger has very little infrastructure, but they have good cell service as of about 3 years ago) I biked a few minutes into town for farimasa (like beignets) and bananas and returned home to being preparing for this weekend’s guests.
About two weeks ago the newest group of upcoming volunteers arrived in country. A group of about 40 CHA, CYE, & MCD trainees. That translates to health, education, and community development. I’m officially a NRM (natural resource management). Anyway about 3 weeks into the training program trainees go on demystifaction. They all stay with volunteers for a few days to get a break from the training center and host families and also to get a taste for what life as a volunteer really means. So i’ve started cleaning, put up lines for mosquito nets inside, put up wire in the kitchen to hang stuff (including a calabash), and installed some extra hardware on doors for ease of use and improved privacy. My two volunteers will arrive Saturday. I’m looking forward to hosting two newbies. During my demyst, almost exactly 6 months ago, I had a lot of questions and really looked up to my host with all the answers. I also got some weird bacteria in my system that gave me the worst case of gas ever. After spending some time in Niger you get comfortable talking about bodily functions so please excuse this and any future comments. I’ll do my best to serve the cleanest food and water possible to my demysters.
I need to get started on some laundry, take a shower, and prepare for my first official computer class tomorrow. My favorite leisure activites here are cooking, reading, and listening to music. I also try to study Zarma. I’ll try to include some of those aspects of my time here regularly. (see below)
Kala Tonton!

Reading Rainbow

Kafka On The Shore; Haruki Murakami

“Symbolism and meaning are two separate things………………Artists are those who can evade the verbose.”

What’s The Word(in zarma)

Translation: to carry; porter
A na turo jare bono; He carried the wood on his head; Il a portĂ© le bois sur sa tĂȘte.

Menu du Jour
Pasta with Garlic Cream Sauce
  • Twisty pasta
  • 1 small maggi cube
  • 10 stems of dried basil leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 spoons powerdered milk
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 spoon baobab leaf powder
  • pinch of chipolte peppe

Notes: Not bad. I mix up the leftovers with tomatoe paste and onions for dinner.

Musical Chairs

Beethoven: Piano Trio No. 4 in D Major (Ghost)
Notes: Beethoven and classical music in general is mentioned several times in the book I’m reading, especially the Archduke Trio. Which was apparently the last one Beethoven wrote. I unfortunately do not have a copy of it. Ghost, also mentioned, is quite beautiful though.