Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Back to the bush, but not for long...

Gotheye was good times.  It's fun to see other volunteers villages and what their experience is like.  No two are the same.  We got to visit Alex and Alison's villages, and we got to see a radio show done by them and Michael.  We're hoping to start doing radio work in Balleyara, the new folks seem very gung ho about it.  The hostel at Gotheye is really nice, cement with 4 rooms and all, but we have running water and they don't (that's what I keep reminding myself when I feel that we got the short end).  We were in Alison's village for the end of Ramadan, which wasn't as spectacular as I expected.  I'm glad it's over, I can eat and drink in public again, and all the street food venders will be back out.  I don't know how they do it, going without food and water from sunup to sundown, talk about miserable!

I should be able to pick up the money for my project tomorrow, then back into Niamey on Sunday to shop with Djibo for stuff Mon.  Cathy is coming in with her villagers too so that we can share shipping costs.  I'm hoping the building will go up quickly once the ponds dry up a bit and we can get clay.

In exciting new news, my parents are coming to visit, WOOT!  They'll be here for a couple of weeks in December, and I've got lots planned for them.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I want to show them my current post, new post, Niamey, etc.  It looks like we won't be able to avoid at least one bush taxi, but that's not too bad.  I also want to expose them to some native cuisine, though I'll keep bush food to a minimum, it's very boring and bland.  I know they're coming to see me, but I think it will be awesome for them to see Niger as well, it's bound to be a trip they'll never forget.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Off to Gotheye

Just in for the day, off to Gotheye to see Alison, Alex, and Kurt tomorrow. I came in today because Cathy and I had a meeting about project funding. Both of our projects were funded by Rotary, which is awesome! Barring complications, we will have the money next tuesday when I come back through on the way to HoloBalle.

Our newbies are doing well, better than I was at this point in my service. It's a good thing too, as they'll be in charge sooner than they think! It's only a couple of months before the new group comes in. I'm going to try to be one of the trainers for that group, and I think Sangare will let me. I'm also moving to Icrisat in early January. I have to go sometime before then to Sadore to set up new housing. I'm not sure if I'll go with all grass, or all brick, we'll just have to see.

I told Djibo to check camel prices at market sunday. If they're up, I may as well sell. If I can get some profit for the villagers, that would be great. I might look into a horse when I move.

I think that's all I have for now, will try to put in another update on the way back through.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Back to the bush

I've been in Niamey for over a week now.  I wasn't even going to come in till last Wed., but I got mildly ill due to skin infections on my foot (long story, but nothing major), and came in for antibiotics the friday before.  I ended up needing to stay for a meeting the following wednesday, when I would have come on the shuttle.  So I've been here much longer than I wanted to be, but it's been good because I got to see nearly all my stage-mates who were in for swear-in.  It was like a mini reunion, and we got to welcome the new batch of PCV's.  Tomorrow I'm going back out to the bush, after helping to install our three new team mates. 

The Gender and Development dinner/auction was fun.  As always, I was the only one who can work electronic equipment so I got stuck running the sound system.  I did get some fun things at the silent auction though.  I got a pint sized nalgiene bottle, a fanny pack with a camelback type water bladder, some coffee, and a dvd that didn't work.  I almost bought a horse at the live auction.  It went for about $250 USD.  I should have bid higher, but que sera.  Natalie donated the horse and is going to take a long trip to deliver it to the winner while stopping in villagers to do AIDS sensitizations.  They also had someone from the national dance team teach some PCV's some traditional dancing, which was cool (no, I didn't dance), and we had a Nigerian named Hadiza Mangou come sing.  It was good times, and the enchiladas they served were wonderful.

I'm in good health, and have even gained a few pounds back, probably due to the time I've been in Niamey.  I've been so busy lately, with newbies, meetings, etc, that I haven't had much quality time in the bush.  I also haven't got to work with Tarzan (the camel) much, but I did have a bonding moment when I got to shove grass down his throat and he didn't complain much.  The villagers are trying to fatten him up and make him grow big.  I'm okay with that, it means we'll make more money when we sell him.  I named him tarzan because he thumps his chest a lot with his front feet. 

I should be able to start gardening when I get back.  I meant to start some seeds a couple of weeks ago, but it's good that I didn't because they'd have died while I was away.  I don't know if I'll get much from them though before I move.  Anna claims to have convinced Sangare that I need to move in January.  I'm okay with that.  I've been working on the proposal for the grain bank.  Naturally it got rejected the first time through.  I think there's some rule about not letting it be too easy.  Hopefully it will go through this time and will be on the web soon.  I figure that either I'll get funding and be done with the project by January, or I won't have gotten funding and will leave it to the next volunteer to do.

I got my new PMP, a Cowon A2, which is incredible.  It plays and records music and movies, and acts as a portable hard drive.  It's like an iPod but WAY BETTER.  I call it my omniPod, because it can do everything.  I've spent a good amount of time on the computers putting my movie/music collection on it.  I got it a week ago.  I went and picked it up at the post in Niamey, because I didn't want it to go wait for me in Balleyara, where I wouldn't have a computer to load stuff on it with.  It took some convincing for them to give me the packages here, but a nice lady named Rabi got it taken care of, and wants me to send her two chickens.  I'm tempted to do it, just to surprise her.  I also have discovered portable applications, such as firefox, gaim, gimp, and all the linux programs I love that run off of a usb key.  it's wonderful, as  get to take all my programs and settings with me and run them on any computer without leaving a trace.

I'm fixing to stay in the bush for about three weeks, then I'm heading out east to visit some friends.  I'll try to hit the web sometime around then.  Ta ta for now!