Damn Good Biking

Damn Good Biking
Mammath Mountain

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Folks we meet along the way. Written 2-16-08

Going to Niamey or traveling for that matter is always an encouraged event when needing to step away. Or if you want see some old friends taking off from Niger as they end this period of their lives and begin another journey as they step back into the unknown, the world we all left behind.

Its helpful to see them, gauge their mood and use it as a tool to cope with only having a short time here.

I have a little over 9 months left before my adventure changes again.


Trips often revel their true meaning as the journey develops. Sometimes on a good journey you meet new interesting people and learn a little more about the world through them. Or all kinds of fun challenges present themselves and provides more fascinating self discoveries to the limits of patience, or the levels of microbial infection one can weather on a pot hole road.

Adjusting to unexpected detours is part of the spice of life and as time rolls on you just go with the flow instead of fighting the forces of nature.

My trip to Niamey was swell, seeing my good friends Alex and Bri's village in the Balleyara region was both informative and a treat to see new country plus I was thrilled to be able work in their garden, and eating the spoils of their labor. Also conversing with like minded agrophilliacs about our experiances and work, is always worth the mulitple day trip it takes to get there.

Sometimes the road throws you a bone in the form of a taxi; empty, cheap, and with the same structural integrity of a slinky. But as it comes wiggling by, damn if its not a sight for sore eyes.

Afterwards I went back to my Native Hamdallaye and immediately heard "Nazifi!!! Nazifi!!! Barka da Zuwa!!!!! (blessings on your coming)

I haven't been in this place for nearly a year, how do they remember me?

Briskly pining over this, I reduced there are not a lot of white guys wearing a brimmed hats with bright red beards and a mandolin strapped to their back.

I spent lunch strolling down memory lane feeling like a an old veteran and talking about my projects and experiences.

A year ago I was one of them, any stimulus is good up on the desolated training site.

In Niamey I met a courageous married couple, he is a Swedish adventurer/math professor and she an Iranian hydrologist. Currently they are driving an 89' tank of a Land Cruiser all the way from Sweden, to the south of Nigeria then they are going to climb a mountain then move to America and work at Purdue University as a math professor.

Not a bad way to set off for America huh?

That's the beauty of being on the road, especially in Niger. A large part of the Nigerien culture is historically nomadic, and it seems that it attracts a different sorts of wanderers from all corners of the globe.

Last night we had a farewell dinner and party for our soon to be departed and estranged AG/NRM class of '07. It was a real joy to dress up again go to a formal dinner, and have a good time and put my dancing shoes one afterwards. Though I prefer the bush life and roughing it, sometimes a boy just needs to feel pretty.


Supposed to go back to Maradi this morning, but it can wait. Its going to be a long time before I see these folks again, besides until I buy my ox, I am kind of in a work lull.

Okay that about settles it, day after tomorrow I spread my wings and fly.

Till then sai anjima

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