Hello my dear friends and family,
I am currently in Niamey, the capitol of Niger, and have a few minutes of Internet access to send out a brief update.
First off, HELLO! How are all of you? Send me letters, emails and Facebook messages of your life and what’s new. Also, one of my training friends says to send information about what’s going on in the world. She, who is refraining from the Internet for now, is mad that all we’ve done on the Internet (and we’ve only got a few minutes and that’s been within the last few days) is say hi to the people we love. She wants to know what’s up with the oil spill and if Beyonce is pregrant (someone randomly started that rumor as if we have interaction with the outside world.)
Life is Niger is going fairly well. As my mom mentioned in the last post, I live with a really sweet and understanding family. My host sister is a riot and a menace at the same time, but that’s what you get from a four-year-old. I sleep most nights outside, and I love it. I also love taking bucket baths. Seriously, they are great. My water situtation may change at post, but I will probably sleep outside for the next two years.
Right now, our training is pretty intense. Four days a week, we have language for six hours. Currently, I am studying French. After eight weeks, if my skills are at intermediate-mid, I will move on to Hausa, a local language. In addition to language, we have sessions on culture, safety and health.
I did get sick one day, but recovered nicely. Many of my stag (the local word for training group) mates are starting to get sick as our bodies adapt to the new culture, but I’ve been good since my one incident. Fingers crossed.
We just got back from our Demyst weekend, where we spend a few days on a training site with a current volunteer. My Demyst volunteer, Rachel, was fantastic and cooked us a great combiniation of Nigerien and American food. Yesterday, we stayed the night at the regional capitol and met many of the other volunteers. They were so sweet and cooked us a great dinner and breakfast. We also had a super fun dance party complete with some of our fun American tunes (Party in the USA and Africa, of course.) It was a great weekend and I’m sad to see it end.
The people in my stag and the other volunteers are wonderful. We all come from diverse backgrounds and have interesting stories. Also, people are super helpful and understand. I am really looking forward to getting to know people more.
The next few weeks will be pretty busy with my language and training sessions. In a couple of weeks, we will be told where are posts are and Iam so excited to find out where my new home will be. We’ll also get phones in a few weeks and I’ll be able to call more.
We have been told we’ll be spending more time in Niamey in the next few weeks, so hopefully that means I’ll have Internet. Till then, please contiue to write letters and email. I will respond as much as I can.
Anyway, life here is pretty great and the people are so giving and welcoming. Every day, I am reminded why I am here and I know that this is the best place for me. Sure, it’s tough, but I still constantly believe that I was meant to be here. I am just excited to get to my village and start meeting the people who will be my friends, family and coworkers for the next two years.
I have written a few essay-type entries in my journal that I hope to turn into blog posts when I have more time and access to my computer (it’s currently locked in a safe.) I hope those essays will be more entertaining and give you a better picture of Niger than these update posts.
Well, I should let someone else on the computer. (Sorry, if this is rushed and doesn’t make sense.) Thanks for the letters and emails so far, they mean the world to me. I love you and miss you all very much. Please stay in touch.
love and blessings,