Hello from Maradi
I guess its been a long time since I’ve done a post. A lot has been happening…Our bike tourney went pretty well but it was so much work!! I was glad when it was over…We went around and sensibilized people about hygiene and hand washing..By the numbers:
5 Peace Corps volunteers
1700 Nigeriens who came to our presentations
4 days on the road
1 biker/ox-like animal collision (it was Kristy, before we were even out of Maradi, and the thing had sharp 5 footlong horns)
We did a skit and I narrated the whole thing on a megaphone in Hausa. The pictures are pretty funny with us dressed as Nigeriens. I’m babbling in busted Hausa into a megaphone and am surrounded by hundreds of Nigeriens.
What else is new…So I have a radio show!! I forget what its called in Hausa, but it translates into “The Chit Chat Show.” So I do it every Sunday from 5:30 to 6:00, at a radio station in Maradi called Radio Anfani…So far I’ve done shows on AIDS, hygiene, and tonight is the importance of putting girls in school. Its funny, because at the station, it’s just the sound technician guy and me. I talk into a microphone and I’m thinking no one is listening to this at all. No way, I’m a rock star in my village now, everyone wants shoutouts all the time now, and even when I hitchhike with NGO cars (hey its better than bush taxis!), when I tell them I’m Peace Corps, they’re like “You’re that girl from the radio!!” I just don’t know how I’m going to come up with a new topic to talk about every week…Also if anyone wants to send me burned CDs with some new music, that would be much appreciated!!
I also went to Niamey last week for the swear-in of around 40 new volunteers. It was so much fun. It was good to see all of my old friends that are in the Zarma-speaking part of the country, and we went out and ate lots of good food. This next month, Inshallah, I will be helping some of my friends in a different region, Konni, with a hygiene / handwashing tourney that they’re going to be doing, and also doing translating for some doctors who come here from America to give free surgeries to women suffering from fistula. That will be at the National Hospital in Niamey. Also in a couple of weeks, one of my closest neighbors (Frances) and I are going with a group of health workers from the government on a polio campaign. We will go to villages near our own helping give the vaccinations for polio.
So for the one week I was in Niamey, 3 girls from my girls club got married and moved to other villages!! Keep in mind, they are 15 years old!! I’m a little confused about the whole process, but here’s how it happens, I think. Word gets out that the girl is to be married and there is a celebration for a few days at the bride-to-be’s house. They call it literally “the washing.” Everyone comes over to congratulate her, she sprays everyone with perfume that comes over, everyone puts on henna, many people give her little gifts, and she wears the nicest clothes she has, with lots of makeup on. So they party like this, and then finally, on the day of the wedding, a group of the girl’s friends, singing the whole way (usually she’s crying, because she doesn’t want to leave home or her family and friends), take her to the groom’s house. Everyone eats kola nuts, the nastiest things on earth. They are the bitterest grossest nut, but if you chew on it for a few minutes, apparently you get a caffeine buzz…Really though, its so gross that I’ve never been able to keep it in my mouth long enough to get the buzz.
I miss everyone from home a lot! Can’t wait to come home…Talk to you all soon.