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Gearing up for Africa

January 4, 2011

Why has travel become so hard? Shots, visas, flights, packing, the build-up to a long trip is more extravagant than Christmas! I have had to go for shots, find my old yellow fever documents, confirm with my insurance provider the possibility of covering malaria pills, get gifts for people that I don’t even know yet, and get clothes for the warm weather. It’s exhausting! But in the end once all of it is all done, we hope that our trip lives up to our expectations, and I know that Niger will live up to mine. The thing about Niger is that I do not have very many expectations. You cannot find pictures of Niamey on google photos; the layout that it gives you in google maps seems incomplete. In-fact the best image I got of Niamey, Niger was in the Sean Penn flick “Fair Game” and that was not a very iconic view of Africa. I keep asking my self, “What have I gotten myself into?”. Reading about the famine, the international corruption, and how the hands of countries like the USA and France are harming the development of the country for the profit of a few, does not make the outlook any better.

Yet when I think about it, this is why I do want to go to Niger! It is something new, something different, and something that is unknown. Niger is exactly that, it is not the tourist traveled Kenya and South Africa; it is a former French colony that when I told my French teacher this semester that I was going there she asked me where it was. This trip is something that I cannot wrap my head around at the moment and that is interesting, that is mind churning, that is exciting! And that is why I cannot wait for January 20th.

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