Top Five Nigerien Discoveries

1.      Peanut M & M’s Don’t Melt!

I only half-believed the packing list that said peanut M & M’s are the only kind of chocolate that can survive the Nigerien heat but its true, none of them melted! After a few days of rice and millet they tasted AMAZING, even though I accidentally burst open the bag into the sand. The accident resulted in a pinata like scramble as all of my seven host siblings jostled for the brightly colored candy.

 2.      Knees are Worse than Breasts

Yesterday I was reprimanded for wearing a skirt that didn’t fully cover my knees when I sat down. I almost laughed when, at lunch, my host mom pulled out her breast to suckle my baby sister and sort of left it hanging out for the remainder of the meal. There are very different cultural norms regarding nudity here….

 3.      Call it Exfoliation

In order to placate the part of myself that wants to scream every time the wind blows sand into my hair/bed/feet/soap, I’ve decided to think of my daily grit as exfoliation. Some people pay big money for this in the states right?

 4.       Heat: The New Boyfriend Replacement?

I no longer need anyone to keep me warm at night since I am ALWAYS sweating underneath my mosquito net. This is probably a good thing since my training class is 80% female. 

 5.       The World is a Better Place When You Laugh

Despite Niger’s status as the poorest non-conflict country in the world, I’ve never heard so much laughter. It isn’t so much that life is funny (although my attempts at Hausa certainly are) but more that people here really know how to enjoy the little things.