Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sticking your neck out for F-U-N!

I recently got back from a trip to Niger. It was a load of fun. We saw a hippo (Yes only 1), the biggest Baobab tree ever (well I’ve seen bigger, but I went along with the story) and lots of Giraffes. I went with 2 other volunteers for a quick trip east.

We left really early, but it seemed to take forever to get there. Border patrol took the longest, which I guess is ok, since it shows they are doing their job. Once in Niamey we dropped our stuff off at the hotel and started exploring.

We took a canoe ride along the Niger River, which is where we saw 1 hippo. One day we went to a village about 45 mins away from the capital and saw giraffes in the “wild.” They are super cute. We got pretty close, which I didn’t think would happen. In this park there are 210 giraffes, but since they travel in packs, we saw 12. Later that day we went to some important island where there is a haunted baobab tree (Rafiki’s tree in Lion king) and supposedly the biggest in Niger, but like I said I have bigger ones in my village and we didn’t see any ghosts! The last day was spent shopping!!!!!

On the way back, I was at the border patrol and I ran into someone from my village. Which is crazy because I just said my village name and he knew me!!!?? I thought he knew my name because it was on my passport, but it isn’t so it just goes to show how small the world really is.

I’m back in village now. Trying to tie up a few lose ends, because I need to start winding down my projects. The biggest project I am doing right now is teaching women how to make a lotion to repel mostiquto. It’s really popular which is good because everyone is getting Malaria (well not me).

The rain has basically stopped, so it’s gotten really hot. I know it’s always hot here, but during rainy season, hot weather means rain, now it just means HOT!

(I’ll let you know the very last possible minute, but big items like packages or fat envelopes need to be done nowish!)

Mail Received:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Le Finale

This time WAS for Africa!

I had such a great time with my soccer tourney this past month. I was a little nervous because my village changed all the rules and dates on me while I was on vacay. My biggest concern was the RAIN!!! Overall I feel my luck was ok, because it only rained during 2 regular games, but my villagers think I had bad luck because it rained during my final game. I knew in advance that it was going to rain because the night before I had asked my mother to look up the weather on the Internet. I told people this and they got kinda nervous. On Sunday morning however it was great. I went to church and it was beautiful! Everyone was like your wrong, the Internet cant tell you everything. The funniest part was trying to explain the Internet to people who don't get the concept of technology. I was in the local drinking spot talking about the final to some people and it started down pouring! Once it started people thought I was crazy because I said all along it was really going to rain.

It rained from 11:30 am to 3pm non stop. Once it ended I assumed the game was
postponed, but I had some kids come to my house and say lets go. I tried to convince the kids to wait 3 days until the next market day, but they weren't having it. So we started that game and hour later and once it started it ended up raining through the WHOLE things. I was really surprised how many people came in the rain, over 200 people 15yrs and up. Then I got kinda sad because I could have had A LOT more people if it wasn't raining. The game ended 1 to 1, but since it was the final they couldn't end like that we went into a shoot out. Each team got 5 shots, we had to bend the rules because we didn't have a lot of day light left. Once it was over both teams started arguing about the rules, or penalties, etc....Once I got the crowd settled down I gave my thank you speech and passed out the prizes for each team.

What I was really impressed with was how soooo many people knew about it. I had people coming up to me and my village boss saying how much this event meant to the community, or how impressed they were by how it was run, etc. I got a lot of compliments. I really liked the support I got from my community. I tried to pay the people who helped me organize this, because they did most of the work, but they refused because they knew how much this event meant to me. I wanted to show kids how easy it is to do events with little cost. Things that are fun should not cost a lot, and I used local resources(besides soccer balls and pennies(mesh jerseys), which were donated)

School aged children do not get the support and interaction that they should be getting. I feel there is no stimulation. If they get to go to school, they memorize what they need to get to the next grade, then go home and do pretty much nothing until the next day where they repeat it. I find it fascinating to watch a child who never gets do anything exciting be the center of attention, even if it is just for 90mins.

I feel that I accomplished what I wanted to do with this activity. TO me that is the most import part of the whole thing!

I want to say THANK YOU to all the kids of my brothers World History Classes who helped with the donations of soccer balls.

Upcoming Events:

I'm going to see Giraffes! I'm going on a little vacay safari! I will defiantly post pictures!!!

3 months and counting until my return. Time is FLYING!!

Sarah and Andy

(This pretty much sums up the day on the finale!)

(Me giving the award to the runner-ups and my village Nakaba)

(The winners! Ounougou!)