09 July 2008

?uestlove Spins Strength and Sustainability

So, today we finally leave for Niger, West Africa. We have to get some immunizations this afternoon (yellow fever) and then we will first fly to Paris, France and the to the capital city of Niger. We are a nice large group of 48, so I'd imagine we will be taking up the majority of the plane. Last night, we tried to take advantage of our dwindling time in the states. Some other volunteers and I strolled around Philadelphia and found an obscure Italian restaurant beneath one Philadelphia's secluded and more quiet bridges. Open windows, red woods, floating candles, and steaming hot pasta were among the many aromas and flavors suspended in this street-side shrine to Italian delicacies. We continued to walk around the city, and we ended up at Silk City Bar, and listened to the wet/sick/heavy dub beats of old school reggae mixed by the R&B/soul drummer ?uestlove from The Roots. This club was amazing! Smooth beats, humid air, afros, dashikis, dread locks, rocking hips, that pure philly love! On our last night, we could all put our hands up, raising dub beats to the ceiling, close our eyes, smile, and just jam.

As we arrive in Niger, we have to keep in mind that the Peace Corps approach to development is strength based. We will be evaluating the strengths of our villages to see what's already working, talking to people and assessing the needs of the people. I will be doing teacher training/education work while I'm there. And let me just add, that we DO NOT take jobs away from qualified Nigeriens! We will have 9 weeks of training in Hamdallaye so communication will be tough. This might be my last post for a few weeks. Once we arrive in Niamey, we will drive about an hour to the training site, and then we get to meet the Chef du village! I know...I'm gonna make sure I put my best foot forward. Can't wait to share some pictures with all of you. I'll do my best to write letters while communication is bad in Hamdallaye.

Paz e amor,



Anna said...

Paz e Amor to you, Ryan dear. Thanks for sharing this new and exciting phase of your life. I feel as if I am having this opportunity myself thru you. I eagerly look forward to the next installment!!!
You are in my prayers,
Auntie Anna

Geek Princess said...

Welcome to Niger! Looking forward to meeting you all at swear in. Good luck in Hamdy, I promise life is better in real Niger :)