Apathetic in NIger
Seems like it's been forever since I made a post. Oh right. It has. Well I suppose I should start with a few updates on what I'm doing then.
The grain bank is funded, filled, and running! What's more, the villagers are actually doing a good job on the book keeping and have even taken some of the income so far and restocked the bank once. And they pretty much did all this without me telling them to. Color me impressed.
I've also started a tree nursery with the school teacher. We've planted about 350 trees, mostly Meringa along with some gum arabic and namari. School isn't in session anymore though so it's just me and him doing all the work. But if we are successful here we're going to look for funding to expand into a full garden/nursery for the school in cold season. My goal is to get a solid meringa plantation running as a)meringa leaves are delicious and b) it's a good source of income for the school kids.
Other than that life continues as usual. Though I have managed to start pulling longer stints in the bush. Though in a way, it kinda feels like the first few months of service all over again. I once again find myself counting down hours until I can go to bed and taking long naps just to kill part of the day. While I'm glad I'm able to stay out for a week at time again, that much time also feels like eternity.
Part of it I think is just due to the fact that I'm going home for a visit in a month and half. I plan on bringing back several things like my computer movies that I know will make my last few months that much more bearable, even if they are only things I'll use in Niamey. I'm also excited to see my friends and family and once again be able to participate in my old hobbies with other people who are just as enthusiastic as I am. Even when I do get doses of gaming here, it's not with other gamers and so it's just not the same.
Also, getting the grain bank up and running was a shift. All of a sudden one of the major things that kept me from giving in to frustrations and just going home was finished. Now I'm just kind of apathetic. Niger stopped being exciting a long time ago. Now I just get by as I would anywhere else...except that even just getting by is way less convenient or pleasurable than it would be if I was home.
Being in Niamey isn't really any better. Hanging out with other volunteers is fun, but it's mostly all the same conversations complaining about Niger or musing about life lessons we've learned. There's not much to do in Niamey aside from eat, drink, and chat.
Back home I was part of so many different communities. I had my family, my friends from school, my guild in World of Warcraft, and the crew I played Magic with. There was some overlap but most importantly I had variety in the groups I hung out with and had conversations with. I almost never talked about the same things with my family that I would get so heated about with my Magic group. It kept things fresh and enjoyable.
Here I basically have two groups. Other PCV's are nice because we're all going through the same thing...but I'm kind of tired of the bitterness and apathy or alternative enthusiasm and idealism. Same conversations over and over and over, and most of them aren't terribly uplifting or distracting.
On the other hand, it doesn't matter how integrated I get, I am just not going to be able to relate to Nigeriens the way I do to other Westerners. And frankly arguing over how long it takes to ride a bike to the next town, or joking about marrying the chief's 5yr old daughter and taking his baby son to America got old about 15 months ago. This I think goes a long way toward my feeling of just biding my time. For the most part, Peace Corps just isn't terribly exciting anymore...plus the climate sucks.
Oh well. I get by. I get through the days. Hopefully my visit to America will refresh me. Then my friend Kat is going to come visit. After that is my COS conference and then there's only like 3 months left. Who knows, maybe something exciting will happen in the mean time and I'll have renewed enthusiasm for this whole endeavor.