28 August 2012

What a day in Niamey!

It’s 23:00 now and we had a full day, including a dip in the pool in the evening.

Electricity just went out and then back on, hope the WiFi will get back on quickly.

Both Avi and I are still having some dizzy spells, not sure if it's the malaria pills or the affect of the flights on the inner ear? We’ll probably know tomorrow.

We had a good meeting with Mahamad today and we went over our visit to village, what we should do, what not, we have brought from Israel different kinds of presents and we agreed that we should give the Chief – a masbaha – the Muslim prayer beads which we brought from Jerusalem and for the mayor and the vice mayor Halva – a sweet sesame dessert.

Before leaving for Africa, Maayan, one of Avi’s neighbor's child in Tuval, asked for a toy from Africa, when Avi told him that in Africa they don’t have the toys that he is expecting, the boy went to his room and brought Avi all his webkinz, for those of you that do not know what webkinz are, they are small, very cute, cuddly and soft animal toys and we decided we will give them to the village school. Will tell you all about it on Wednesday when we go.
When I asked Mahamad what I should wear to the meeting, his answer, to my surprise was that if we want to have a good bonding I should wear a local costume and that would show respect and true commitment. So we decided that we need to by me a local costume, which are quite expensive. We saw one for 200$, a bit steep for a one time courtesy call, but then at lunch, Avi met as he always does some very nice missionaries which introduced us to their pastor and his wife, who has a son which is a tailor and so the story goes on and on, but in the end he offered to drive us to the Grand marche – the big market, where, they found a shop for us and negotiated a price, they haggled very seriously for us and we were so touched. And here is the outcome:

So last night I was not so happy with the hotel, but after the market scene and heat, I got some perspective and after sweating like a horse the whole day, coming back to the hotel for a cold shower, the cool AC, a dip in the pool and WiFi……. transformed the hotel into a five star deluxe. some pics:

The Room

Washing before prayer in the market

Prayer at the market

Our pool and the sunset from our hotel

Some more experiences:
Yesterday, on our way from Lome to Abuja, Avi as a true business developer and people friendly person got to know Oliver, a Nigerian national, living in Burkina Faso, and working for an inter governmental agency for water and sanitation, so we had a 3 hour business meeting, Lunch meeting and social gathering, talking about how business models are so desperately needed to bring in the sustainability in the projects. I am glad to say that they too have taken the business approach and understand that without this issue and being on the charity side in not getting us anywhere and different approaches need to be taken. We will definitely be in touch for further cooperation.

Food – got closer to local food, but basically eating in the hotel, had mutton and rice with a spoon of the local hot sauce which was really good. Veggies are also different. We bought some bananas in the market – outstanding really good!

Heat – didn’t rain in the end, the forecast was thunderstorms from yesterday, but yet another day of sunny and hot, in the mid 30’s, not so bad in comparison to Eilat with 42c where I was a week ago.

Cost – very high, everything is very expensive, or at least it feels like that because everything is in the thousands 10,000CFA = $20, that's what we paid per person for the meal.

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