After three times in Niger in Januaries of 2009, 2011 and 2013, I see some notable changes in the EERN and “Remember Niger” schools. First of all, I think and Kara agrees, that the schools are cleaner inside and outside, and the teachers’ and directors’ desks and offices are cleaner and more orderly. There more teachers and they are young men, for the most part. There are now young female teachers. It follows that there are far more students with almost doubling of enrollment in all three schools, thanks mainly to the sponsorships.
Another positive change is the feeling by both Kara and me of increased optimism and excitement from the teachers and support staff. The additions of classrooms, computer labs, new latrines, increased food aid especially at the boarding school at Tsibiri and increases of student enrollments have contributed to this excitement.
Lastly, a big change is the garden at Tsibiri. Two years ago when I was here the “garden” was a large bare place on the ground. Now, due to a Rotary International Grant, the electric pump has been fixed and life-giving water is pumped up from a very deep aquifer to supply water to the flourishing garden of vegetables, new fruit trees and herbs. The students are learning basic horticulture along with eating a healthier and more varied diet.
It has been such an honor to be able to witness these changes over the past few years!