POST!!!!! I’m going to Zinder!!!!!
The name of my village will remain secret for security reasons, but lets just call it D’ageLand (D’age means bush). My village is in the Zinder region and I’m totally stoked about it! I hear Team Zinder (Team Z) is really strong. They like to cook and dance a lot. I will spend the next 2 years in D’ageLand. 2 YEARS! Woah! I am going to get to know probably every person in this village and hopefully become a effective member of the community. Its going to be one of my biggest challenges- to build these relationships and gain the respect of the community. This is the crucial first step which will allow me to implement sustainable projects in the community as well as build friendships. I am impatient to get started.
The Run Down on D’ageLand:
- Population 1,700
- Access: Dirt Road
- No running water or electricity
- Limited cell phone coverage (if I walk out into the bush)
- Primary School, Monday night market
- My closest Peace Corps neighbor is about 15 km away and my closest neighbor from my stage (training group) is 50 km away.
- I’m 150 km from Zinder city, it takes 2 bus taxis to get to D’ageLand- one from Zinder to outside Magaria down a very bad, but paved road. Then you catch a second bush taxi from there to D’age Land, about 50km down an unpaved road.
- Super close to Nigeria, about 12 km or so. I’m going to be using Naira the currency of Nigeria, compared to the Nigerien CFA that are used in the rest of the country. Its about 500 CFA to 1 US dollar, and about 680 Naira to 500 CFA, so you can do the math there.
- According to a reliable source- there is no shakatawa (entertainment) in D’ageLand, but the regional capital, Zinder city, has several restaurants and some pastry places.
- CHEESE Zinder has cheese! Cheese is worth its weight in gold in the western part of Niger I swear, but apparently there is cheese in the East. Cheese and avocadoes and watermelons and sugarcane and mangoes. Nigeria has lots of fresh fruits and vegetables also that it exports and since I’m so close to the border I should be able to buy some pretty awesome stuff.
My role in D’ageLand
There is so much to do in D’ageLand, hopefully I’ll be very busy. My work will fall under 3 categories
1. Work at the local health clinic
2. Official projects within the community
3. Small projects and informal educational activites within the community
My home base is going to be the health hut in the village. In the Nigerien health care system, the health hut is classified as a Case de Sante. I’m not sure yet what resources the health hut has, but I’ve meet the man who runs it. I think he is trained as a nurse, but he could be a full doctor. My role will not be primary care, although they do have way more patients than the single nurse/doctor who works there has the time or energy to treat. My role within the health hut will be mainly educational.
- Handwashing and hygiene
- Diarrheal disesases- causes, preventions and treatments
- Maternal and infant health, how to make nutritions weaning porridges.
- Helping in immunization campaigns
- Being the connection to the community- encouraging pregnant women to give birth at the clinic, encouraging people to go to the clinic when they are sick, doing follow up home visits.
- Baby weighing
- Moringa tree project. I want to start a moringa garden outside the clinic. Look up moringa! It is seriously a miracle plant. Its chalk full of vitamins and nutrients.