Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mmmm.... Coffee

I'm not sure why I always wait until the night before I leave to make a blog post...
It's been a hectic few weeks.  I haven't been in my village much though.  I only spent about a week there, so I didn't get to ride the camel much, and they won't let me drive yet.  Sometimes they can be a bit overprotective.  I also worry that Djibo thinks he's going to get the camel when I leave, he's in for a few surprises there.  They are unaware that I am planning to move in the next six months, and that I'm taking the camel with me!  I'm hoping to ride it down to icrisat, it's only about 100km, so I think I can do it in three days or so.  I went down there last tuesday to visit the place and see if it would be a good fit.  I love it and can't wait to move.  I'm trying to convince the boss that I should move there as soon as my grain bank is done, if not sooner.   We'll see how that turns out.  I stayed the night with Anna and then went to visit Seabass in his village for a night before we came into Niamey on Thursday morning.  We got a ride from some rich fellow in an awesome car right to the bureau, yay! no bush taxis!  Everyone was here from the region as we had a bicycle maintenance training yesterday and today, and we're all going home again tomorrow.  We also had to say goodbye to a couple of friends who were going home, some were done, and some who decided they were done.  Every time someone goes home early, it makes it more tempting to quit, but we're almost done with the miserable weather, and I don't want to give up just yet.  I do have that new post to look forward to as well.  I'm hoping to spend a month or so in the bush before coming back, so it might be a while before I post again.  In the mean time, wish me luck on the camel, I want to ride it into market in a week and a half, without my villagers pulling it.  I just need to stand up to them and say "Damnit, it's my camel and I'm going to ride it!"  He still doesn't have a name yet, but I promise to have one next time I come in. 

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Productive week in Niamey

I didn't come in under the best of circumstances, but it's been a good week nonetheless.  I had planned to come in Wed. because Seabass's birthday was thurs.  But my wallet got stolen in the Balleyara Market on Sunday, so I came in to deal with the bank and police.  It's all taken care of, and I didn't lose much.  I now have a hefty leather wallet with a chain that ties to my belt.  Anyway, I was glad that it didn't get stolen earlier that morning because I had a large sum on my way to pay Djibo for my camel. 
Yes, I bought a camel, finally.  He is 2 or 3 years old and not fully grown, but mild mannered and rideable.  He doesn't have a name yet, I bought him on Saturday in Bonkoukou (they wanted way too much in Balleyara) and have been in Niamey pretty much since then, so I haven't talked to him about a name yet, much less ridden him.  I'm hoping to learn this week and be able to ride to market next Sunday. 
I'm going back to the bush tomorrow morning, and Anna (Yasmina) the previous volunteer is coming to visit.  That will be a lot of fun, and the villagers will be ecstatic.  In a couple of weeks I'm going to visit her at her new post in the Say region to see what work she's doing in Icrisat and what I want to do when I move there.  We've talked to the boss and it seems very likely that I'll move down there early next year.  I will continue to work with HollaBella, as I love the village and will be doing the same thing at Icrisat that I want to do in Hollabella.  I'm hoping to move into the Bella village near the facility, as they are more rural and less pampered by Icrisat, plus I like Bella culture and am starting to learn their language in addition to Zarma.  Nothing is concrete yet, so wish me luck.
Anyway, I've gotten lots of stuff done, preparing for new volunteers, dealing with paperwork, shopping, laying plans for a grain bank, and laying plans for the new post.  It's been a fun and crazy week, It will be nice to spend a few days in the bush before going travelling again.
I'll try to get pics of the new camel, and I'll let you know as soon as he picks a name.  I'll be back in a couple of weeks.  Love and miss you all!