This morning, Ruth and I quickly packed our suitcases, ran a few last minute errands, and then went to the Maradi Airport. As I’m writing this, we’re sitting in the tiny, propelled airplane. I’m sure the pilot was right when he said that the massive amounts of dust in the air and the strong winds wouldn’t be a problem. Ibrahim, the president of the EERN education committee and our Nigerien colleague and friend is flying with us. It’s kind of fun because it’s his first time flying. (Which is interesting, because he seems more calm than I am.)
When we arrive in Niamey we plan to grab something to eat and go to our 4pm meeting, which is with the Niamey school committee. We will discuss their plans for building the first block of classrooms on their property. They have started making bricks with funds from their church members, but they ran out of money. One of Remember Niger’s goals this year is to help them raise enough funds for a three-classroom building. This is a very important project.
Often, people ask me why we would want to build a school in the capital of Niger where there are already so many schools. But, the reality is that there are not enough schools for every child to attend. Also, the cost is prohibitive. While parents don’t have to pay tuition at public schools, they still have to buy books, supplies and uniforms. And, in particular, the future EERN school in Niamey is located in an extremely poor neighborhood. When the school is complete and open, they will be serving many of the most disadvantaged kids in Niamey. It’s a privilege to be a part of this project.