Inspiration, by Alex

camel ride
Alex on a camel (notice Kara VanderKamp hanging on for dear life in the background!)

My involvement with Remember Niger began five years ago with the James Island Presbyterian Youth Group Hunger Strike. Something about making fundraising into a competition really motivated me and I quickly became very involved with the organization. After a few hunger strikes, I decided that I wanted to go to Niger to witness the culture and meet the people that I had been working with RN to support. After one foiled trip to Niger and after completing my senior thesis in which I created a health and hygiene curriculum, the pieces finally all came together and I made it to Niger.

My international travel experience was very limited and I had no schema for the culture that I was about to encounter. I think that this blank slate mindset was beneficial in creating meaningful memories and making detailed observations. I thought I knew a lot about Niger and I realized that I knew nothing. Every second was a novel experience that fell well beyond my expectations. As I taught my thesis lessons to a group of sixth graders, their answers to my questions were insightful and well thought out. Their interest and attention was heartening and reinforced the importance of Remember Niger’s involvement and support in Niger. These kids are smart and they truly want to learn, but sometimes the resources just aren’t available.

David Alex Samuel at church
David Parler, Alex Parler and Samuel (Ibrahim Abdou’s son), at church.

In short, this trip completely altered my perception of intercultural relations and international mission involvement. This trip has inspired me to continue my work with Remember Niger and to continue to expand the services that we can offer through increased local awareness and involvement.