Friday, December 29, 2006

To the village...

Been in Niamey for a week now.  I rode my bike in last Sunday, that was a trek.  100km, or about 60 miles, in just under 8 hours.  It was a fun ride, but I don't think I'll do it every time I come to Niamey.  I've been here working on reorganizing the Hostel in Niamey with Seabass and Alex.  We've been ridiculously busy with it for 3 or 4 days now, so I haven't had much time to chat, shop, and do other normal Niamey things.  It's enough work to keep us busy for another week, but we all have to go back to the bush today.  We're making definite headway, and have a surprising amount of support from the bureau as well as the other volunteers.  I expected more volunteers to complain about changes, but they took it vey well and are eager to see the place cleaned up.

I'm going back out to work on the grain bank in full force today.  I really want to have it done by Jan 5, but I'm not sure it will happen.  I wanted to move out of my village then, but I'm starting to realize that that's not feasible, and I will probably have to do it around the 16th or after.  That will aleviate some pressure on the bank, but I worry that it will just let them procrastinate and in 2 weeks we'll be in the same boat we are now. 

I need to get a couple things done here at the bureau then head out, so ta ta for now.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's been forever, sorry 'bout that

I have a bad habit of forgetting to do things once I find a fun new thing to do.  Like forgetting to write blogs when I discover the wonderful world of pod casting.  I apologize.  So much has happened lately and will happen soon, I'll try to give you a rundown...

I came into Niamey a few days early and cleaned up a room in the hostel to put my folks in.  It turned out quite presentable, for Niger anyway.  I picked them up on the 4th, which was very exciting.  It didn't hit how long I'd been away till I saw them again.  I also hadn't remembered the airport correctly, I thought it was a dirty crude terminal, but nope, it's a modernish (if small) airport.  Who knew?  We went to the hostel and chatted until about 5am, then I put them to bed and went for some sleep myself.

On their first day, we went to the Grand Marche to get some fabric and took it to a tailor to have a dress made for mom.  Next day we went to the Musee (or zoo) which was interesting if kind of depressing.  The animals are in miserable digs, but still neat to see.  The artisan center is kind of neat too, though not a place I would shop regularly.  We went out to Sadore, my new village, on Wednesday and got a tour of Icrisat.  We stayed with Anna that night and just hung out the next day before catching the bus back to Niamey.  We picked up mom's dress on Saturday morning and barely caught the Post Moto before it left town.  There was much hanging out in Balleyara, then we saw the market on Sunday.  Dad rode bikes with Cathy out to my village, while Mom and I bush taxied it.  We had a party on Monday; my villagers killed a goat and made a delicious red rice.  Next day we saw the mesas and the brick making process.  Wednesday we came back to Niamey in a bush taxi.  It was a pretty mild one, not too awfully cramped, but enough to give them a taste.  We hung out in Niamey on Thursday and they went back to the airport Friday morning.  Luckily they got to ride in a Peace Corps car and have a chaperon, since Liza was also going home on that flight.

I'm here in Niamey still, going home on bush taxi in a couple of hours probably, might stay till morning.  The next few weeks in the bush will be crazy.  I have to get the grain bank finished by Jan 5 if I want to move out then.  I will be there a week, then come back to Niamey for Christmas and Hostel business (Alex, Seabass, and I are the new Niamey Hostel managers).  It is really crunch time and I need to be there to motivate the villagers to get the darn thing done.  After move out, I'll spend a week at a "training of trainers" session then in Feb I get to help train the newbies for two weeks, then stay for a week of mid service training while they're checking out their new posts.  It's going to be nuts, with lots of time out of the bush.  It's crazy, but at least it's not boring, right?

I have changed the address to the left there, and that is where I'll be getting my mail from now on.  I would like to send a heartfelt "Thank You" to all who have written me and sent me things.  I very much appreciate it.  I'm pretty well stocked on things for now.  I will let you know if I need anything.  I'm good on coffee, tea, batteries, sunflower seeds, and drink mixes.  I would love to get some photos though, you can never have too many of those, and they're cheep to send! I do appologize for not writing more letters.  I have tried to sit down and write a few, but then I realize they're mostly the same, and the same as what I write here.  I'll try to send some in the coming weeks, though.

I guess I'll cut this off for now, and maybe throw up a new podcast :-)