Today [written on April 7th] was the first full day that the full Remember Niger team was together and we made it count. We began our day with a quick flight over the desert to Maradi, where we will be staying until Friday. After about eight lunches catered by our Nigerien friends, we trekked to Tsibiri, the boarding school right outside of Maradi.
Catherine and Kylee were seeing the school for the first time, so Isti, the principal, gave us all a quick tour of the dorms, classrooms, and garden. I was especially impressed with the progress that has been made, even since my last trip about a year ago. There are new hand-washing stations throughout the campus and I saw posters on the classroom walls depicting instructions for washing hands before meals. Additionally, the garden is continuing to expand. Isti explained to us that the garden serves a dual purpose: the students have outdoor classes to learn about agriculture and botanical science and the garden helps to feed the school of almost 500 students. The 2014 Rally for Niger helped to pay for new trees in the Tsibiri garden and we were ecstatic to see these saplings thriving. Thank you so much to everyone that helped with last year’s rally! In the picture, you can see three of the new saplings. It’s really exciting to see so much progress in so little time, especially in areas that are so pivotal to the students’ health and education.
Tomorrow, we are going to spend the whole day at the Tsibiri boarding schools with the hope of gathering information and meeting with school leaders. Stay tuned for more updates!