Damn Good Biking

Damn Good Biking
Mammath Mountain

Saturday, October 6, 2007

My Goings-Ons

Rainy season has come and gone, my field has developed beyond any of my expectations and harvest season will be ensuing for the next couple of weeks. My plan for the next two months before coming home is to burrow into my village and work on integrating, language, and a few other things…

What may those other things be? Glad you asked.

Well after harvest season at about the mid-to end of October I will be heading to Zinder to pick up my computer so I can begin making videos and other multimedia morsels of my existence here. Its all for you peeps!!

It’s about a 3-4 hour bus ride east of Maradi, I plan on traveling by bus this time, but prior to leaving for ‘merica my plans are to ride my bike with a couple of friends from Zinder to Maradi. This will probably take two days and will be a good test run prior to achieving my ultimate goal. Riding from Zinder to Niamey. This epic trip is virtually cross country and should prove to be an amazing opportunity to see some beautiful country and meet some new people. It should take about two weeks and will probably be achieved prior to next hot season.

Waskally Wabbits!!

I am getting into the rabbit business, and my villagers seem incredibly excited to start working with rabbits. After harvest season I am going to purchase three or four rabbits and let them get busy. Might have to name my house the “Bunny Ranch”

My goal for this project is to create a lucrative business venture for women and children in my village and ultimately provide households with a cheap plentiful supply of meat.

Prior to coming to Maradi a month ago my villagers were heckling me saying “why you leaving” your never here” why you going to Maradi”…Well I am going to look into raising rabbits here….”you are?”….”Then why are you here, get going we want rabbits”

All I need to do is build a couple of hutches and start forming a women and childrens group with individuals motivated to work with the rabbits.

The Goat Lane Project.

Now this is kind of a regional development idea that popped in after wandering around the bush and looking at peoples field. I started to recognize good things that my villagers were doing such as planting trees for construction, fuel, and food along the paths adjoining their fields. Then I saw that others were building living fences with bushes, and shrubs both for field protection and for animal food. Shizam!

Why not plant trees all the way out of the villages and intercropping trees for food, fuel, construction and firewood as well as field protection!!!

So to achieve this I am going to have to pool a lot of resources together and find some funding for building a bigger tree nursery. Recruit farmers and motivated individuals. In a perfect world I would like to plant between 500-1,000 trees for my SEF model, and for the Goat Lane Project (GLP)

I am writing a book

I am currently recruiting some support to write a technical manual for Sahelien Eco Farming for villagers, other Peace Corps programs, and future PC NIGER agriculture projects. Already I have recruited some others to be working with me next year. My goal for the next growing season is to coordinate with other volunteers and establish SEF’s all the way across Niger. My goal is to start SEF’s in each region and craft each field individually to market forces and environmental constraints. Hopefully this project will open some doors to potentially explore some of my academic curiosities. SEF’s or a variation of, is going to be the future of agriculture in the Sahel, hopefully. Currently there is a lot of room for some research and who knows I might be returning to the Sahel or other areas after working for the Peace Corps to work privately for an organization or as a graduate student.


Seldom is there not a melody popping around some where on my mind. Even before I started playing music, I lived and breathed music. I love studying the history of music, the significance of the songs, and how we can learn from the artist.

After being here for 8-9 months I have finally achieved a major goal and that was to break into the local music scene in Niamey. It was an incredible opportunity to play with the Rasta’s, and the other musicians and we will continue to exchange our culture and music to create something unique and beautiful. Already my friend matt and I are discussing the possibilities of recording an album at the studio here, it can be done pretty cheap and we should have some recordings of our jam sessions.


Every group of volunteers in Niger is provided with technical training from current PCV’s, our responsibilities are to prepare new volunteers for their future in Niger using language, and sharing our work experiences. Sometime in November the list for potential trainers are sent out and it seems that it’s very likely that I will be asked to work at the training site in Hamdallaye. The benefit of this position is getting to meet the new kids, and being able to enjoy the wonderful food. In training we eat really well. I love food.


My last project which will probably take up a lot of my efforts for the rest of my service will be to help establish a seedbank for local farmers to sell their improved seeds regionally to other villages. I have one of the most incredible farmers field schools in Niger. Though Dan Saga’s FFS is just starting out the individuals are incredibly motivated and they have been working closely with the Nigerien National Research Center INRAN over the years to improve farmers yields by teaching them improved methods of field management, techniques, and the use of improved seeds. As a result of the FFS’s success INRAN has decided to begin a seed bank in Dan Saga. This incredible task is to create a major income generating venture for the local farmers to sell their improved seeds regionally. Currently if farmers want to purchase improved seeds they have to travel to major business centers and then arrange for the transport of seeds.

What is my role you ask?

Well I have recently become a recipient from a sizeable donation from the rotary club to purchase around 10 tons of cereals. My idea instead is to potentially invest my pardon the pun but “seed money” to establish the farmer’s seed bank. Aside from my SEF ambitions this is my big project, so if I can help in any way to achieve this ambitious project then I can say “Shakanan” it is finished. I will be coming home happy.

Who would have thought last year I was a long haired bartending college graduate, now I am saving the world.

Damn I love my job.

1 comment:

Overeducated Twit said...

It sounds like you're having an incredible experience, like you're exactly where you need to be right now. Certainly planting fields and raising rabbits is a far cry from tending bar in Podunk, MO.

Looking forward to the multimedia posts.