Niger Travel Stories, Page 12

Niamey to Maradi Niger Bus Trip

Niamey to Maradi Niger Bus Trip

Two very happy beggars outside the windows of the bus, I gave them coins, as no legs is way to get me to give money in the missing a member requirement is reached. I also am in the bus and we will leave, so these two cannot make me a mark.

What is this?
The boy next to me called it - MIL- Maybe a French word, maybe an Arabic word, however it looks like corn, could be sugar cane, however not thick like I normally see sugar cane. I am not sure.

This some form of nasty tasting nut or crunchy thing, what is it? I am not sure, however for sure it is bitter tasting.

Bob - his name is something I cannot pronounce said this is a place where they store the - Mil -.

Look close, I think this is sheep, as told to me by Bob, I have not seen one sheep and I think he means it is a goat. He did not say sheep, he just baa or baah like a sheep and I said sheep and he agreed. I think we have a hand language problem. I am pretty sure this is a goat. I suppose they leave the tail on this so you can be sure it is not a rat.

Annoying Person

Annoying Person
September 5, 2005

xxxxx the worker for xxxxNGO Quebec a wanna be Canadian however born to a Niger Mother and I think a Canadian White Father is just plain annoying. She has lived for two and one half years in a House paid for by Oxfam Quebec. She got up late for work today, came home at noon and waddled around, she is living on the benefits of being a pretty girl in a country, and she is a practicing Atheist. Her boyfriend makes documentaries, and is a rock singer. He was here, however he does not like it in Niger and needed to go to Canada to use the computer systems there. I would say…. He got the Hell out of Dodge.

Why does a person that work for some NGO believe they are an expert on the world, there is nothing that qualifies these people to even discuss the world, they have never been to more than three countries in their lives. I was trying to explain to her that in Chiapas, Mexico it more of a problem of Mexican Corruption over a hundred years, then a food problem. There are places like Chiapas where there appears to be plenty of food, however maybe very little money or systematic racism.

XXXXXX is the expert on everything and impossible to discuss anything with her, she is arrogant and just a rich sucking on the NGO system person.

Wonder how I can say all this, she does not know my last name and for sure, she does not know my web site. She is so self-centered a person can live in her home for four days and never learns about the other person. This to me is epidemic coverage of the mentality of NGOs. Listen to me; however, I really already know it all, so why would I ask questions or learn from anyone. I am very glad to leave this mentally blank environment.

I sometimes experiment to test on self-centered behavior, can I get there email address, however they do not ask or want mine. Can I take photos of them however; they have no idea what I am going to do with them. There are many ways of talking with a person where they only care or talk about themselves and I am not even included in the conversation.

I was laughing or thinking about the Airline Attendant on the plane coming here, he ask me where I was from, what I was doing, why Niger and made me write down my Web site address while I went to the back of the plane to use the toilet. I wanted a glass of water, and asked him from which country he was from, whether it is Egypt, Morocco or Niger, he was from Morocco. I always have this curiosity about Airline people, they can live in two or three cultures and some cultures like the Islamic dress code makes it strange on how you could have a western dressed female airline attendant.

There is this secularization of religion and work, most will change anything or everything for work, or want to change.

Maradi Niger 8 Hours from Niamey

I will be in Maradi, Niger soon, it is about, I hope 8 hours from Niamey, the Capital of Niger.

I have no clear explanations on where to go or where to look for the feeding stations or places that are being helped here in Niger with the Food Crisis.

I am realizing everyday that this type of problem did not sneak up on them, there was no sudden abrupt day when this happened. This is a long-term situation, plus for sure the NGOs, U.N and every other agency has been here for years.

I leave the room at 3:00 to catch a 4:45 morning bus to Maradi. Blocked in Niger

What a drag, I think the new host I am testing has blocked in Niger.


The block themselves also

So I am sitting here in Niger for the last couple of day trying to figure out why is down

This is why I am testing this company, they do not understand that I purchased service have my site hosted and allow the world to access the site.

The problem is not so much Niger, the problem is I do not know what other things they are going to pop up with, very annoying about hosting companies. I suppose I need to change hoste and get rid of as one my new host.

It is to me unethical to so this without having big sign offs on many places to let a person know they are not serving the site.

I hope I am wrong, however I am 99 percent sure.

Niamey Niger Checklist

Niamey Niger Checklist
Monday, September 5, 2005 1:01 PM

I am going down a checklist to be ready to leave for Maradi tomorrow by bus.

I have returned from a great walk from the SNTV bus station back to the Hotel Gawaye. I would say this Hotel is maybe the center of the Universe for Niamey, you can go both directions pretty easy by taxi from this location. It is right at the John F. Kennedy bridge. When you hail a taxi in Niamey you are going to share it unless you want to pay extreme tourist fare, and miss out on some great cultural moments. I have met most Niger people inside the taxi so now I am getting to like the Taxi. I do not negotiate inside the city, I just pay them 300 what not money and they always seem happy.

Maradi Bus Ticket
I went to the SNTV bus station and purchased a ticket for 9600 Niger Francs to Maradi, it will leave very early tomorrow morning and the man said it would arrive around 1:00 PM, this would be great if anything close to reality and he understood and answered correct in English.

Oh, well, I am going to be in Maradi tomorrow night so all is great, I think the bus should be a hoot, I looked at one on the way out and reminds me of Guatemala and the Chicken Buses.

I tried my best to pay a lot and take a - Bus Climatise - and not the Non Bus Climatise - however I did it, he keep saying there is no Air Conditioned Bus, maybe on Tuesday there is not and other day it is not, I still do not have a French English dictionary and I could not figure out the days of the week in French so I am on a bus tomorrow.

This is some bus they were loading up about midday, I am hoping I get a better model.

This is one of three Niger buddies of mine, they sit down on the corners of my street, they watch cows as they at the road side grass, and are very funny. I took their picture and am sharing my cookies.

Coming on the back trying to capture the babies face, it was a precious photos however not a close up.. Too bad.

These two girls were walking in front of me on the say out of the bus stop, they gave me no notice, however of course when I passed them I said,
- Hello girls -

They started jabbering and talking and saying a lot them, however who know what they were talking about, they was doing that quick talk not caring if you listen, trying to make sure everyone hears, a cultural way of talking in some parts of the USA and the world… hehehe

Good photo being I did not point at the food, taking photos is difficult and people are almost silly about this.

This is some unknown vegetable I think probably the same as South America, however presently the name evades me.

Checklist - World Vision
I went to the office of World Vision and had to talk real hard to get through the gate, and then proceeded to be ignored by the receptionist for 20 minutes while I waited for someone to come out and talk to me.

I finally realized from a cultural aspect they would be more than happy to have me sit there all day so I left, I will go back I hope so I can snag an American if they exist there. I saw maybe 20 Niger people coming and going and the place is packed.

However no presence of the good ole USA there, maybe it is not a USA organization, I am not sure, just out and about trying to figure out the lay of NGO land.

For the most part I have not seen many White people, or Western People, they must be hiding, who knows, I have to very careful taking photos of the decals on the side of the SUV or Big Toyota Land Cruiser as normally the driver is from Niger or at least they look African or something.
( a.k.a. They are black people with traditional type clothes. )

Ok, life is good here, I am having fun taking taxis and talking with the locals in the taxis. I hate to think how hot it is, must be over 100 today, I am not sure, however I am drenching a couple shirts per day and could do more if I would keep one on while I am in the room.

I need to find a Hotel in Maradi, I am hoping to do better in a smaller city with the NGOs in my quest to figure out where people are having a food Crisis, it for sure is a well kept secret from me.

Do not think for one second I am shy, that is the last thing I am, I am a type A, overly aggressive American that understand I must be patient and extremely repetitive with going through bureaucracies of NGOs and such. I am just sad because I think they do not realize that the culture we are in created the problem, and the culture we are in does not want to tell the world, we have goofed up, so it very dysfunctional to believe that a dysfunctional situation can solve a dysfunctional situation.

Kind of seem like the Fox is has set up a management system on the Chickens. However SAP - Standard Operating Procedure for NGOs and the reason I try to avoid them, like watching city kids trying to keep clean in the barn yard.

Niger Problem

Niger Problem
Monday, September 5, 2005 6:25 AM

I am in Niger because I watched a BBC report with the Doctors without Borders from France while in Europe and got curious about what was going on in the country.

I have discovered.

The NGOs have been in Niger for at least 10 years, some less and some more. I am taking photos of all the offices and hopefully will create a map of the locations.

I believe there are plenty of paid people working here in Niger; however, I am not sure they leave the major capital city here and go to the places where they are needed.

I will ask you, where should I go?
What are the names of cities, communities, the exact locations where there are problem?

This may be the problem.

I contacted on person who a friend of friend knew, however I have not heard anything from this organization.

We should be able to get on and find a map of the problem, with all the defined locations.

Or maybe

Alternatively, for sure we should get on the UNICEF site, which is maybe the true non-profit site of the United Nations and find the exact locations, to me they should be providing a clearly defined problem so the not so well funded NGO groups could go and work.

A solution requires a well-defined problem.

(I am XXXX the names of this person as I believe it is dangerous for me and her to talk too much about this where the Niger Government could read, she told me last night that the Doctors without Borders from France left the country for two months and just now came back, I think as a result of the interview I saw on BBC.)

I am living in the home of XXXX a girl that has worked for XXXX Canada or Quebec for two and one half years. I have asked here multiple times where the problem is located.

She has no idea; she only says there are many NGOs in Maradi.

This is nothing new, in fact, the Lonely Planet Guidebook says this and I have what I think
is the 2002 or 2003 edition, it is old.

- … more than the usual quota of international aid organizations. -

Page 298 Lonely Planet Africa - Niger Section

I was talking with XXXX from Slovenia that works for UNICEF from Slovenia.
They are paying her to make an assessment of the problem.

These organizations have been here for ten years, and this problem is not
a new problem, ever three years the same problem happens. The government stockpiles food for this problem and one even lost his job because they discovered food inside his home. (Read the Lonely Planet history section on Niger.)

It seems obvious to me that the problem is not defined clearly.

However, I really do not think that is the problem. I think the NGOs make numerous reports explaining the problem, however do not share collectively the information.

This should in my opinion be published with photos explanations on the internet for the Journalist to mine and create stories and documentaries on the situation.

I will ask every NGO person I meet where the problems are and how I find a map of all the locations, I need to learn if they have a central location and if any of them know. I have met now maybe 20 people and none of them knows.

This is a ridiculously sad problem, a very preventable problem.
The Government of Niger, the NGOs and everyone involved seem committed to keeping this problem so they can benefit.

The nutshell is this; a Government needs to collect taxes to provide assistance. They first in most countries need to make enough so they live like a king, then after that they will try to make the people happy by providing services and help.

I think less than one percent of people here in Niger pay taxes, and probably 90 percent of the tax type income for this country is coming from money collected from foreigners in the form of fees.

Normally a government that is ineffective in collecting taxes does by setting up roadblocks or funnels whereby a person needs to go through this gap as part of living in the country.

Example: They set up a tollbooth to collect fees from cars that enter and leave the city, this guarantees they collect money.

Example: Thy collected about 100 U.S. Dollars for my 3 month visa to Niger, for a country that could create many jobs in the form of tourism they have made sure that every person jumps through these hoops, this is the normal operating procedure, collect when it is possible and do not work on long-term solutions.

Example: Any business that has a proper location, is big enough that it cannot move, that has an office pays the lions share of the taxes, the way you avoid this as a business is to be corrupt and pay bribes to the local officials so they do not collect the taxes. It is a string type logic whereby the money never makes it to the till, the way to get rich in a poor country is to work for the government.

Subsistence farming here in Niger is prevalent, and only about 15 percent of the people can read. This is an easily controlled population, they cannot organize, and culturally the new bosses are the same as the old bosses to quote -The Who-.

The government of a nation is held responsible by the Freedom of the Press to shame them into action and the people of the country becoming angry when they learn how they are being abused.

I have said on many occasions, take photos, this is the solution, take photos because a photo or film tells a story better than any other method, send it to the media, let them get responsibility for the photos or take responsibility for the stories, let them earn the money, and the world is therefore shamed into action.

BBC did this, so I thank them, however I see a shortage of reporters here, I got to admit, you would not catch me walking around in Niger with one of them 1500 dollar U.S. one-foot long Canon Digital Camera I want to buy… hehehe, it would make me the biggest target in the country to be deported.

I was told people like that are turned back at the border.

I have been taking, let me check.

2288 X 1712 JPG Photos of about 1500 to 2000 Kilobytes with my Olympus Camera.

I have stopped using this camera in Niger, only for special reasons because it does not open, load, and focus fast enough to take a photos quickly it is extremely slow Camera, my Sony 200 Dollars Camera with the same type specifications was better, however I am trying the Olympus, however I am not happy. However, the zoom has not broken and the zoom on the Sony made it worthless, so who knows, I need a camera that is bulletproof and small. I cannot be secret about photos when the camera takes two minutes to open and has a zoom pointed at the people.

1632 X 1224 JPG Photos and about 500-Kilobyte photos with my Sony Cyber shot waterproof camera. My camera of choice, however I dropped it a few too many times on the floor and the flash does not work. It does not have a zoom and this is a problem.

On hindsight I have realized this four zoom optical camera of Olympus and three zoom digital is rather worthless also, the Sony I had with the same zoom was worthless also. This is not a good zoom situation.

My 10 Optical Zoom on my Sony Mavica was good, however the 3.5 Floppy did not create good photos or large enough to make into paper stills.

What I need is a small flat camera, where I can screw on a 10-20 Optical zoom that does not look like a pig, the huge cameras that are used by the Journalist or Photographers would spoil the real culture and only create a problem. I need to not have a zoom unless I really need it, I do not want the world to know I am taking photos.

The question I have is can I take the 1632 X 1224 JPG Photos and about 500 Kilobyte photos and are they big enough for a newspaper or magazine to publish.

I should get on the Getty Photo site again and nose around; they sent me an auto responder email about specifications for selling photos to them.

I went and read the email, its not really about submission guidelines for photos, more about submission guidelines to work with them.

This is from their page:

- To request our submission guidelines, please contact the email address below. -

None of this is needed for the internet and what you really need are small photos in the Email format 640 x 480 and around 50-150 Kilobytes in size, however I have discovered most people think they are going to get rich taking the photograph of the century for Look Magazine, or National Geographic and they will become famous…. Hehehe

Or more likely give their photo away for peanuts to a company that pays them nothing, because what they did is accidentally be in the right place at the right time. This is my theory on photographs in Niger; I may be in the right place at the right time to take a good photo that some Magazine could use.. FOR FREE, I will give them to you, providing you say, hehehe - Compliments of and of course, you do not annoy me by making me kiss you before you try to take something for Free.

I am pretty much resigned to the fact that I do not want to make money working with Photographers or Journalist, they annoy me too much, and they are too lazy as a group, the very best of the best I do not meet, bottom line is they are just not warm and friendly people.

I have written a few emails with a semi-Journalist or some definitions I am not sure of and he is a good guy, and does help, however he is not a full time Journalist. Probably good, because a Journalist must create a great story, or in my view INVENT a story to be successful, there is not enough money to be made in reporting the truth.

Thank the good Gods has become solvent and I can travel the world as a roaming beach bum! Not having to kiss anyone, not that I ever was good at kissing for money or donations.

Actually, for me to live by donations is a great way to starve, or for sure live below the poverty level of 98 percent of the planet.

All, what a bunch of crap, I have lived very good for the last 8-9 years, I need to try to count, maybe I have passed 9, I need to keep some records, I really cannot be bothered.

Ok, I have lived wonderful and I am in a place where Photographers and Journalist cannot afford to come, because they would have to be pre-paid for the stories. This is an idea, I could pay people to submit photos of Niger and I could post them on the internet. This would create the solution I think is needed, a way for them to make money while being a Volunteer.

Note, I have not seen Volunteers here, except for Peace Corp, however that is not a true pay for yourself type of Volunteer situation, and when they leave, they have a resume that helps them get jobs.

Hmmm.. Are there the pay-to-play volunteers here, not a pretty place to live, not enough alcohol or party, no tourist, I would say in my guess, NO, there is no way to get a Volunteer that pays to come here, they will stick to the fun countries like Peru where they are not needed so much, or maybe not at all, and life is fun.

Volunteers need to have fun to be Volunteers, that would be a great idea, create an NGO bar, restaurant that you could visit and share…

I say starving people here X.
I know where there is a food crisis X.

To say the least it is annoying at the ineffective group behavior of the NGOs of the world, more or less, I will save the world, you can tell me I am a great person if and only if you give me Air Conditioning, a great salary, and let me have a 50,000 Dollars Toyota Land Cruiser to drive in a country where the average person may makes, I guess I have the data in my Encarta Encyclopedia.

10th from the bottom, that means that one lets be kind, one of them 30,000 Dollars SUVs could buy the life of 30,000 divide by 170 dollars per year, it could buy the life to live for one year of…
179 people

So every time I seen an SUV, I can call it the 179 Car.

Remember in Schindlers list when he was taking the rings off his hand, crying and saying how many people he could have saved with the money from each personal item he owned. That was a great scene, and Steven Spielberg did a great job of producing or directing or whatever.

This is me though, it cost me 900 Dollars for the plane ticket, 100 Dollars for the Visa and I am working on a 1000-dollar computer. I will probably spend here 700 Dollars so for more or less 3000 Dollars I am carrying the lives or spending the life giving money to save…

17 People.
I guess that is my due, I need to save 17 people lives to not feel guilty.

The collected this information from the
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) -

170 Niger 170
171 Malawi 170
172 Tajikistan 170
173 Liberia 160
174 Guinea-Bissau 160
175 Eritrea 160
176 Sierra Leone 150
177 Congo (DRC) 100
178 Burundi 100
179 Ethiopia 90

How do I save 17 people lives?

I am not sure, I am sure this is the problem also, how can we save a persons life, in the end I am positive of the long term solution is when the country of Niger manages this problem, therefore I believe to help I need to help convince Niger to take care of its people, organize its military, police, and people to help their own people.

I think as BBC did or done, it is with photos, words, and a creation of a voice in the world for those who cannot read or write.

I still owe 17 lives, I am happy now, I am thinking this through and finding out what I am responsible for in the world.

World Vision Org

Here is a sign to the office of in Niamey, Niger.

I th

This is there office, I stopped by on Sunday at about 8:00 AM, and they said everyone was gone until Monday.

So here are the normal SUV or Big 4 Wheel Drives... hehehe

Niger Internet is Normal Now

The internet in Niger has been terrible for the last two days, however it is pretty normal or what I would expect for a place with new machine and new office.

I also brought my computer into the office to use as their machines seem low on memory and cannot function fast. I was able to publish all the photos to the internet and maybe I can pop out a quick newsletter before I leave for another city.

Maradi is suppose to be a big city, however on introspection I think this is only the place where there are many NGOs.

It is amazing that anyone could die in this country, I have never seen so many aid organizations in one spot in my life.

The must not being doing a very good job.

The girl that I am living with said that she has now worked for two years for the Organization that employs her, the home has been rented now for 10 years by this NGO or Non-governmental Organization.

Somebody is really dropping the ball.