Prior to leaving Niger I had a town meeting with my village
The setting was at night, the stars were out, many were coming and going to the night market to socialize and buy food, it was the conclusion to a typical day in my village.
The next day I would be leaving for the States and needed to address my village and share with them my thoughts and provide the proper gratitude
Behind my house between the mosque a single lantern on the ground marked the spot of the meeting. Many came, some familiar, some not. Women, men, children, ages of all ranges came to hear me speak.
I expected to be nervous, I had never addressed a village before, especially in a different language other than my own. But that wasn't the case, I felt completely at ease, like this was what my life is supposed to be like.
In the dim light I spoke for the first time in Hausa to a mass gathering of my village.
Not to villagers who needed me but to my new family whom I needed more.
I spoke of my work, and gave a thousand thank you's for the devotion and grace of my villagers effort to welcome me to the village and include me as one of their own.
"When I return and people ask me where I am from, I will say my home is Dan Saga, and that new family is a village in Africa. "
If it sounds overly sentimental, well it should.
Back in this place I am visiting, yet where I have lived for a large portion of my life, things easily become hazy and its easy to lose your way, but in Niger its simple. If you have family, community, and a place to call your own in life what could anyone else really need.
Prior to leaving for Africa all ever wanted for as long as I can remember was to follow my dreams and live in Africa. Now there is so much more I want.
In so many ways leaving everything behind in the States brought me closer to home. I left Dan Saga certain that my future was in agriculture and my future home would be on my family farm in northern Missouri. But even to get to that point is going to be another adventure, but none the less exciting.
But I am not coming back just to seclude myself away on a farm like many tend to do
I am planning on finishing my work in Dan Saga for atleast the end of the next growing season and then after that if I feel satisfactory with my work then its going to be time to move on.
So what am I going to do?
Glad you asked.
To take over my farm means that I have a lot to learn about many things, especially in learning new models of Agriculture but the goal is to use my imagination and create a farm entirely unique.
My goal is to turn a traditional American family farm into a local, regional, national and international resource,training, and recreational center for farmers, artist, peace makers, or anyone who feels compelled to enjoy the pleasures of living off the land and connecting with others.
Currently I am looking into the possibility working with my good friend Matt McCue (the guy pulled out of the PC to return to Iraq) in California to hone my skills and expand on my ideas. My goal is to create a national network of farms where vet's from the Iraq war can come, take some time to heal, learn a valuable skill, and hopefully teach others about the pleasures of how to nurture life instead of take it.
Why am I doing this?
Because its needed.
This is just the tip of the iceberg and its only going to get more interesting from there.
Its nearly christmas and there are many things I am thankful for in life.
I have wonderful friends, family, and many others always rooting for me to go further in life, your support is always greatly appreciated and it inspires me to keep going further.
The support I recieve reminds me if that if what I am supposed to do with my life is genuine than those who understand will listen and become part of it in each individuals own way.
Its the wonder of how closely we are all connected to each other
Guess this is my way to thank you all over the last year for every bit of support that has overwhelmingly came my way.
okay my Nigerien sense of time still persist and as always I am running late for my own party two hours away.
To sai anjima, tahi da lafiya
"Okay until later go in peace"