Last Days Of This Trip

On Thursday, a power surge ruined the power cord to my computer. While the computer is fine, I’m unable to use it, and therefore haven’t had the opportunity to keep up with this blog. A kind friend is letting me use her computer tonight, but unfortunately, I can’t seem to download my pictures. I’ll put the pictures up next time. I’m guessing that this will be the last entry I make until I return to the States on Friday.

I have spent the last few days at the school trying to finish up art projects, interview students, and take pictures and film of the activities. Most of this is for the Art Auction benefit in April, which will be held in Grand Rapids, MI. Since the Tsibiri school is about 25 minutes away from where I’m staying, each day I bring my lunch and stay for the entire day.  In Niger, there is a two and a half hour break from 12:30 – 3pm. Normally, people eat and then rest for an hour or so. Instead of resting, I’ve been using the extra time to work on art projects, which I’ve really enjoyed. On Friday, some of the older girls used henna for an art project. Nigeriens use henna to paint designs on legs, feet, arms and hands of women. It’s a lot like a tattoo but only lasts a week or two. While the girls were working on the project they were talking amongst themselves in Hause (the local language). It was a fairly lively conversation. When I asked them what they were talking about, they explained to me that they wondered if I would let them paint the henna designs on me. So, I’m now walking around with a pretty flower design on my arm.

On Saturday, I went to the school to continue with my student interviews. It is really interesting talking to the students and finding out where they come from, how big there families are, what they like about the school, and what they want to be when they grow up. What has amazed me the most is how many of the children – Muslim and Christian, girls and boys – attend the school because their parents believe this is where they will get the best education in Niger. There are even children from Niamey, where there are already many good schools. The more I talk to people, the clearer it becomes that the Tsibiri Mission School is great school. I was talking to the Peace Corps volunteer in the village the other day, and even she said that the students at this school were different than those at other schools. It’s not just that they are academically ahead, it’s also that they act differently than many children in Niger. They are kind, respectful and honest. It’s really encouraging to hear that.

On Tuesday, I will take the bus from Maradi to Niamey. I’m expecting another hot long ride! I had the choice of taking the 5am or 8:30am bus. I chose to go at 5am because I figured I would get at least 3 or 4 hours of reasonably cool weather. My plane leaves at Midnight on Thursday, so I’ll have 2 busy days in Niamey.

See you soon!