I saw Alice, Rae Ann and Karissa off last night. Their plane left Niamey around 1am, and, if my calculations are correct, by now Alice is at home and Rae Ann and Karissa are waiting for their final flight. It always feels a bit strange when my volunteers leave before I do – as if there is a bit of a void. I really enjoyed this group and was sad to see our time come to an end.
The last few days in Maradi were spent doing tourist type activities. On Saturday morning we went for a camel ride. When I was arranging this activity I imagined that there would be one camel and we would take turns riding it. But, when we arrived, there were four beautifully saddled camels waiting to be ridden. I have to say that Rae Ann looked down right regal sitting on her camel. On the other hand, my riding skills left something to be desired. My camel stopped to snack on a tree once or twice and, at one point led me right through the branches of a thorn tree. Also, I seemed to be in an awkward “leaning forward” position the entire time. In fact, after we were safely off, I saw my “leader” examining the saddle, rearranging it, laughing and saying something to his colleagues. While I don’t speak his language, I imagined he was saying something like, “Wow! I’m surprised she didn’t fall off!”. Of course, I’m just guessing. There may have been nothing wrong…besides my lack of skills.
Later that afternoon, Alice arranged for everyone to have Henna done and then we ate an African meal – which we had ordered from a Nigerien friend. The peanut sauce was amazing!
We got up early the next day and traveled to Niamey. The best part of the trip was that the giraffes were right by the road when we passed the giraffe preserve. This was a great surprise and incredibly convenient since I was still trying to figure out a way to fit a trip to see the giraffes into the last couple of days.
We were able to accomplish a good deal during our time together and we had a lot of fun doing it! I still have a few weeks remaining here, with much to be done including planning for the July trip! The trips always come up quickly!