6:24 AM Sunday September 11, 2005
This man dressed in normal clothes is Mageri Maman Rabiou he has been helping learn about the Niger Culture. His dream is to write a book about Africa, he has a name already:
More or less this means in English African Apocalypse - Dead End.
We were having a conversation, I was using my Encarta Encyclopedia translation function to get us past the difficult words, I was trying to learn a way to go to Zermou, sometimes spelled also Zermo or Zerma, it means valley in I think the Hausa language.
Ok, I wanted to go this city and I am also trying in this conversation with Rabi as is simple to call him and common, the basics of what I learned from Ahmed of the Doctors without Borders.
Rabi is on a one-track path explaining the theme of his book, he is driving me crazy explaining that the people of Africa need to take responsibility, and after his research, he has found the present problem to be a problem of the mind, the thinking.
However he keeps saying Africa people are lazy, and I told him to stop, this is not a conversation I wish to get into with him or in this country, I always opens up a map of the world and explained that the tropics area between 23 ½ degrees above and below the equator were more or less all the same, the sit around a lot because of the heat, plus the only essential need is food. House, home, cars, TV are just a luxury, heat for the home is not, so life can be extremely easy.
I hope he write his book, I am not optimistic, however I have only encouraged him, he says he will send me a copy; he says it will be done in one year.
Our friendship became strained yesterday as we went together, me paying for two Motorcycles to go to Zermou. It was a day of torture, as everyone as gave us the little no problem solutions and we drove motorcycles into a place where they were not meant to go, a donkey or camel yes, 4 wheel drive maybe. The strain was because what he said was a three-hour trip lasted from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. This was a needed trip; I needed to know for sure, witness a real village. I took the only option that was not a dead-end and took my only sure option. There are four wheel drive old Land Rovers that go to this place, however the two Motorcycles drivers thought they could make their weeks money in three hours off of me, I am not sure about Rabi, I know now the only way to keep his friendship is to go down to today and buy it back for 10,000 Francs, I am going to do this, however I know it is a bad idea, I am only teaching him that he is not responsible and that if he pouts, I will give him money.
We got into an argument at 4:00 PM yesterday at one of many villages we stopped at, a local leader or small small group of people wanted us to sit and have free food. I am under the impression that nobody could turn down free food, the leader was trying to treat me to a good meal, sort of a thing of respect. I wanted to proceed on, telling Rabi it was dangerous to delay, and it was, and it became later extremely evident as Rabi and his driver wrecked their motorcycle and now Rabi has a big cut on his leg, not deep, not bleeding a lot, however I am sure it hurts. He blames me.
The argument was we must leave, we only have three hours of sunlight, we have one more hour of travel to Zermou, we have ten minutes to spend in Zermou, then have one hour to drive to Zinder. If we drive at night, it will be dangerous. I keep trying to explain time and planning and thinking ahead and this was driving me crazy, the word - impasse - is what is so correct or dead-end is so absolutely correct. I am listening to Rabi drill into my head this word impasse and I want to slap him side the head,
- IMPASSE - !
You are trying to make me enter a dead-end!
Stopping to eat took up at least 30 minutes, and I had to walk many kilometers to set a pace or they would have just sat down and stopped, I am 49, Rabi is maybe 30, and the two drivers are maybe 20. I am not the one to walk around, I want to scream.
BE A WARRIOR!
I have no words, I do not speak Hausa, I do not speak French, I could scream this, I know that they are on a dead-end, I cannot motivate, the only motivation I knew was to keep walking and let them finally think, we cannot let the white man walk.
I am not sure where this comes from, however they all believe I should live well and they should not have to live the same. It is annoying as I am always on the special path and they take the lower.
I will go buy back my friendship with Rabi today; I will give him 10,000 Niger Francs, not much for a relationship, maybe 15 dollars USA money.
We went to a village 21-25 miles from Zinder, we took the wrong road, no planning, no thinking, no anticipation, so under-developed, I am not responsible for showing them their own country. I feel like a dollar sign, used, and in the end all that matter is money.
Rabi with his driver wrecked their motorcycle because we stopped to eat for free. We needed to drive through one of the most dangerous stretches of road for a Niger person, as they do not anticipate danger.
I learned with a little torture, maybe the loss of a new friend.
I am 100 percent sure there is no famine in Niger.
As Ahmed said from Doctors without Borders, it is,
- An Epidemic of Mal-Nutrition -
This is Doctor Ahmed Zouiten the Medical Coordinator Switzerland Branch of - Doctors Without Borders - in Nigerhttp://www.geneva.msf.org
The people live on Millet, Goat, Eggs, Chicken, Beef, Beans, Peanuts, maybe the Atkins Diet of only high protein taking to the worst degree.
I am hoping the Atkins diet is the eat only High Protein diet, well it works to eat only high protein. The Millet is the carbohydrates in their diet and supplies the energy. Fruits and Vegetables are scarce and only for the rich man, I can go buy a chunk of beef easy, to buy an apple is difficult.
This is where the day started with me and Rabi, having a discussion about apples…
I am teacher.
I think two times in my life I eat apple.
10:36 AM Saturday September 10, 2005
Mageri Maman Rabiou
An apple a day
keeps the doctor away.
Meat, Rice and Millet
Eggs are expensive
One egg cost 100 Niger Francs if natural if not, then 50
Natural are from Niger and Artificial from Nigeria
Mageri Earns Per Month as a second grade teacher.
(He says he is a Philosophy Teacher.)
121,000 per month 192 Euros Mois
170 per Annes
300 Francs por jour
I decided to make sure Rabi was happy, I gave him 20,000 Niger Francs for his troubles...
He is happy, he met me below and gave me a ride with his Moto or Cycle to this internet cafe.