This morning, at 5:30 a.m., I boarded a plane to Morocco and said goodbye to Niger, potentially for forever.

On Wednesday, Peace Corps Washington decided that terrorist activity, mainly al-Qaeda, in Niger has grown to dangerous levels and Americans are no longer safe. A suspension was issued for Peace Corps Niger and all volunteers were evacuated. All 98 Niger PCVS are now in Morocco for what is called a transition conference. We will spend the next few days discussing our options and officially ending our Niger service.

The last few days have been incredibly hard for all of us. I was at the PC training site for in-service training when the news was delivered and was flown to Zinder the next day so I could go to Dantchiao, pack my things and say goodbye. I had a total of one hour to leave behind the life that has given me so much and shaped me into a better person. I was allowed two nights in Zinder to continue organizing and bidding farewell. On Saturday, Team Zinder departed its home and we spent the night in Mardi and both teams continued on to Niamey for more briefing and the final night in Niger.

Words cannot describe how sucky this. I am not ready to end this life, return to my American one or start another. I am not ready to make big decisions, nor do I really want to.

Leaving here is one of the hardest things I’ve ever endured, primarily because it’s not my decision. I don’t want to go.  My service has ended before it really began. Niger is my home and soon it will be a scene in my past.

I’ve cried many tears the last few days and walked around in state of disbelief. I ate and drank till my heart didn’t feel empty.

Morocco is definitely an adjustment from Niger. It’s so green and industry seems decades ahead of Niger. It’s colder and less dusty. It’s beautiful, but I miss my home.

I can’t keep my thoughts straight right now but I plan to update more soon. Thanks for all the support.

Always and forever,


21 thoughts on “Evacuated

  1. Big decisions suck, but the ones that you’re in charge of mean a lot more in the long run. You can make any big decision that you need to. Go with your heart.
    I am sure that Dantchiao is walking around in disbelief as well.
    Thinking about you and just happy that you’re safe – but sad that you had to go.

  2. I’ve been keeping track of the evacuation through parents of other volunteers. I know Stephanie would be deeply saddened to leave Niger as well. Please keep me posted as to what you decide. I need to keep in touch with as many of Stephanie’s Stag as possible. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Love, Kathy

  3. Heather – I’m very sorry you had to leave your beloved Niger. But I am glad that you are safe. Keep trusting — God has a plan for you and it will be amazing.

  4. Oh Heather, I’m sorry to hear that. But glad that the Peace Corps is working to keep you safe. Hoping that they can get you and the other PCVs transitioned to a new location soon where you can continue doing good work.

  5. Reading on the edge of my chair, waiting to hear the latest. It’s a terrible change of events, but I have a feeling it will only strengthen your resolve to positively influence the world. Stay safe and be well.

  6. Heather thanks for keeping us all updated here in the states. I’m so sorry for this sudden upheaval. Stay strong and know that you’ll land on your feet wherever that territory is called.

  7. Heather, I can’t imagine how difficult this must be. I will do my best, if given the chance, to host you in style.

    Hang in there!


  8. I am so sad for you. I was a PCV in Niger from 1999-2002 and just heard the news about the program’s suspension today. (I then started searching blogs to find out more, which is how I found you.) I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to have your service cut short. I would have been devastated as well. Just know that your villagers won’t ever forget you. And hopefully Niger will be a safe enough place for us all to return to someday.

  9. So sorry to ar about PC Niger getting shut down. I had a great 42 month stint 1992-1995 in Fari, just east of Birni N’Konni. I still think about the relationships i made and things i saw, i still have mefloquine dreams, i think i still have dust in my teeth…such a sad day. Peace, and thanks for your time and effort

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