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Published: October 21st 2005
this week was homestay
with our nigerien families
i was with Madam Rabi and her two teenage daughters Samira and Lafisa and their cousin/helper Saratu.
they lived in a tiny compound with an outside concrete courtyard with a toilet and place to "shower." all the cooking happened outside on two stands with fire underneath. inside was just two rooms, maybe ten by ten each. the from room had the t.v. a big shelf armoir thing a little table and the chairs and the back room had a big bed and was mostly storage since they sleep outside when it's the hot season, under mosquito nets on mattresses.
the door to the house to the courtyard was always open and there was a curtain always covering it. the door to the courtyard outside had a 6 inch gap at the bottom so when you need to dump water out you just do it so it goes under the door.
Madam Rabi has six daughters total, but only Lafisa and Samira live with her still, they're 17 and 15. i wasn't quite sure what the story was with the dad but i guess he visited a little last night...
we ate all the dinners with our hands, that's when strong asbestos fingers come in handy, when the food is scalding hot and you're hungry and they're easily dipping in, maybe tossing the food in their hand a little to cool it off.
Madam Rabi liked it when i ate. A lot. the fist two mornings she insisted on getting me a whole baguette and a bowl of tea with 3 heaping scoops of condensed milk and 40 sugar cubes. she was surprised when i only ate 3/4 of the loaf, with difficulty
since it's ramadan right now and mostly everyone is fasting during the day, i ate lunch at the cfca where i live 'cause i had to come back for classes and Madam Rabi lives in Harobanda "behind the river" and it takes a long time to get there, not really, maybe 30 minutes, just to fill up the taxi.
Kwazo was with a family with two cloistered wives who had to get permission to leave the house, and then fully covered, although not full face burkas
Handu was in a household of mixed religions, muslim, christen, agnostic the mom was a former midwife and both the parents are working on aids education; the daughter is a fashion designer
Farida stayed with the dean of factulty of letters at the university here in Niamey...
Sibti stayed with the famous Yazi Dogo and family, a full house. most of our houses were full of people all the time, not mine so much...
Rahila stayed with our cleaning lady Binta just up the street in a grass hut
Zeinabu stayed with Illia's family, our trip coordinator...
i'm a little too wiped out right now to sufficiently recap this experience...sorry...
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