How hot is it?
I cannot emphasize how good it felt to be back in the village after 4 weeks out. For one thing, my zarma was going to shit. After just 4 days back in the bush, I had to resolve an issue concerning a table that didn't exist at the niamey hostel and I felt infinitely more comfortable discussing it with the hostel employees. I also got some good quality time with my guitar which is always nice.
The down side is it's hot season. Just in case I didn't make it entirely clear last year (it still wierds me out that I can talk about last year and still be talking about a time when I was here) I will now elaborate some more. Hot season is hell come to earth. After about 1pm I just try to find somewhere to lie down where the sweat doesn't pool too much. Sometimes...I can sit still long enough to not sweat. Then I inhale and every poor does it's best Old Faithful impersonation. It is so hot that I can leave a cup of water in the shade and make hot tea. I shit you not. At night, it's only bearable because the sun isn't adding it's death rays. And hot season is just getting started.
Enough of that though. Two days ago, I went to Kirtachi with some team mates in search of our elusive candidate for the Young Girl Scolorship program. Apparently the volunteers from the old Kirtachi cluster had agreed to sponsor one of the girls there. Then they all COSed, Peace Corps closed the region, and so we stopped sending money and supplies to her. Well Kathryn was good enough to track down some information and we shuffled our shuttles so that we could take a bureau car down the 80km of laterite road instead of a bush taxi.
Turns out there are two girls we are sponsering. And the amazingly helpful bureau folk had mixed up the information so we had brought the wrong books for the one we were looking for. Luckily, one of the two is actually going to school in Say, which makes things very much easier since May is posted there. The one who is still in Kirtachi, however, May and I have to go back next week to bring her the proper books and the funds and to search for tutors for her. It should be exciting since this time we won't have a bureau car or Kathryn's french. We're going to try taking a boat from Say, spend the night down there, and hopefully get through all the official stuff with just Zarma. Should be an adventure. I'm trying to convince Djimi to come too.
Some amusing things that happened on the trip down though:
The bureau decided to activate the Emergency Action Plan and issue a standfast order. It was just a test, but it was still amusing that for fully half of our team our response was "ok, we're gonna head 80k further into the bush instead to where there's no cell reception. We'll text when we come back though." Still, we were in a bureau car, and not planning on spending more than a couple hours out of service so it all worked out.
We saw several dust devils, one of which was nearly a full on twister. It definately picked up a piece of some sort of housing and threw it into the air.
We saw the biggest termite mount ever.
So that's the news for now. Also, as always, Google is awsome. I have borrowed a digital camera and have started uploading images to Picasa on my Gmail account. If you go to http://picasaweb.google.com/tastyfishcreature you should be able to see all my public photos. Enjoy!