Needless to say I have never had an experience like I had today, If you would have asked me a year ago do you see yourself in Niger, I would probably have said “Nigeria”, not in the near future, so Niger was not really even on my map, especially since it is so remote – took us five legs to arrive her, Israel and Niger do not have a formal relationship although Israelis are very much welcome here, and the prime minister of Niger recently said in a speech he gave that ”we should stop the hypocrisy and form a bilateral relationship with Israel”, Israelis are well known for their agricultural abilities here and Prof Dov Pasternak which I mentioned before is a well known and respected figure in the agricultural milieu.
So we were welcomed very kindly and most people whom we meet are thrilled to meet us and to hear where we come from. Many people talk very badly about al-Qaida and there is a feeling that they continuously loom over the country as a threat.
Niger is divided into security zones and our village is on the boarder of the red zone where foreigners are recommended not to go.
We are now in the midst of the rainy season, (May to September), this year it rained a lot and there was much flooding, but there is no water retention for agriculture and after the rain everything just dries up.
We were welcomed very nicely by the mayor and the vice mayor, other than French, the mayor also speaks English to my delight, (he was a former English teacher, for 20 years) so we had a conversation where I could talk freely. We had a formal side of the meeting in which we gave them the presents and then they set out to prepare the goat meat (in the old days people would bring the goat with them, for practical reasons in modern times you just pay for it) and exchanged niceties.
The goat meat, which I have never ate before, was similar to lamb but a bit tougher, they added a spice on the side, in which you should dip the meat, the spice was very fragrant and had a touch of spiciness, I liked it very much. They cooked so much, and obviously it was too much for us, but I understand that others received the food as well after our ceremony. We thought that was the end but then, a man came in with two huge pots, which funny enough were like our ptitim, but mixed with meat and sauce, it was very delicious.
Pic of mayor, enjoying the halva.
The picture of the food will be sent later.