The long trek to Maradi. After waiting so many days to read my blog, you are blessed with one entry that is … to say the least … brief. Our drive from Niamey to Maradi took approximately ten hours, covering a good 600 miles. Nearly half of that drive is over rugged terrain. Imagine combining a roller coaster with a slalom course comprised of potholes, maybe throw in a small wading pool for good measure and you begin to get the idea why such a ride would take ten hours. Yet, the expansiveness of this country, the varied landscape and the many villages that dot it certainly helps one deal with the time and the heat. If one imagines the desert a la Lawrence of Arabia, there’s none of that. The desert here is rocky and as we move east from Niamey, while it dominates, it shares space with arid, vaguely farmable land and trees. Reaching Maradi was a relief for the whole team, getting settled in our rooms a comfort. We are all very ready to get to work tomorrow.