They're Watching Me...
I've always been rather dissappointed that my house in Vermont is actually too remote to be viewed on Google Maps. Dissappointed... comforted, it's all the same. Thus you can imagine my surprise when I found this:
(click for larger image)
That's right, you are looking at a satelite image of my village in Niger. How do you know you live in the middle of nowhere? When Niger is better mapped than your neighborhood. But I digress.
My entire village is actually much larger than this area, but I have focused in on the main area where I spend most of my time. I have indicated a few points of interest for you all:
1. This is my Maigari's (village chief's) family concession. All the huts and houses in this circle belong to him or his sons or his sons in law. The hut at 12 o'clock is where my house now stands (this picture is somewhat out of date). The maigari's two wives live in the double mud house at 1 o'clock.
2. This is the well where I pull my water. Looking at the scale I now realize that I walk almost a kilometer a day in my two trips to the well and back to get water. Man indoor plumbing was a cool idea.
3. My school teacher lives here. Sometimes I hang out with him and drink tea and talk about being bitter about Niger.
4. This is the old school house with two additional shade hangar classrooms on the sides. It is now being used as office and storage space for the new school house that was just recently finished.
5. This is the old mosque. It's not used for anything anymore.
6. If a sat image was taken today, this would be where you would find the new school buildings. Two cement buildings were just finished this past month and there are two additional grass hangar classrooms as well. School is starting this coming week.
7. This is where the new mosque sits. It's all white washed with a turqoise minaret and is much nicer than the old mosque. Villagers come from the farther parts of the village to pray here on Friday afternoons. Then they hang out at the maigari's house and talk loudly to make it hard for me to take a nap.
I have also highlighted two more family concessions just North of my usual area. There are many such family clusters scattered over the 32 sqkm of my town.
So there you have the quick and dirty arial tour of my small farming/herding community here in Niger. I hope you have enjoyed the excursion.