Niger

1
Review of Dan Grossman's (Niger 1992-94) Rogue Elephants
2
William F.S. Miles (Niger 1977-79) "A Used Book, a Lost Era"
3
School Garden Project, Madarounfa
4
Aïssa
5
Ruth Hirsch (Niger 1976–78)

Review of Dan Grossman's (Niger 1992-94) Rogue Elephants

Rogue Elephants: a novel of the Peace Corps by Dan Grossman (Niger 1992-94) Lulu Publisher $16.00 (paperback) 300 pages2013 (Reissued) Reviewed by Richard M. Grimsrud (India 1965-67) For the most part, Dan Grossman’s novel Rogue Elephants is a fast and informative read about Peace Corps operations during the early Nineties in southeast Niger, a little-known area in West Africa at the southern edge of the Sahara adjacent to where the terrorist group Boko Haram (which literally means “Western education is sinful and forbidden” in Hausa) recently kidnapped 276 schoolgirls. The book provides among its many interesting insights a look at how the Peace Corps experience can affect sexual diversity and assault and a good ethnographic sketch of Hausa culture, from which Boko Haram has drawn most of its adherents. Hausa culture is a fusion of Arab and traditional black African systems, which grew up in the Sudan/Sahel zone with the . . .

Read More

William F.S. Miles (Niger 1977-79) "A Used Book, a Lost Era"

The back page of The Chronicle Review always has a thoughtful short essay written by an academic (yes, some academics can write) and it is usually what I turn to when the weekly Chronicle of Higher Education arrives. (This publication, by the way, is one of the best edited papers in the U.S.) The November 8, 2013, issue has an essay entitled “A Used Book, A Lost Era” by William F.S. Miles (Niger 1977-79) that tracks how he found a used copy of R.C. Abraham’s 992-page Dictionary of the Hausa Language, that he had as a PCV in Niger, and that he would use later when he was a Fulbright Scholar in Niger. He found a used copy of Abraham’s dictionary on sale at Amazon for $25. He bought the book and he writes with great feeling and great regret: I opened the shipping packet with the kind of anticipation . . .

Read More

School Garden Project, Madarounfa

by Margot Miller (Niger 1972–74) This essay was first published on the blog of PeaceCorpsWriters.org on January 31, 2006 THE SUN SLIPS ABOVE THE HORIZON on the dot of six in Madarounfa, a mere thirteen degrees north of the equator, close enough that sunrise and sunset vary almost not at all the year ’round.  The ten primary school teachers who have gathered for this late-December, weekend school-garden-project instruction are up within minutes. Once they have washed and made their separate trips to the bush, they gather for breakfast under the old baobab tree. It’s still cool and they drink hot tea, brewed very strong, with great chunks of sugar chopped out of a cone that comes wrapped in blue paper. Jon, the American who is instructing them, has made oatmeal. It’s nice of him but the teachers find it rather bland. They add sugar and salt and are polite while . . .

Read More

Aïssa

by Margot Miller (Niger 1972–74) First published on the blog of PeaceCorpsWriters.org on October 12, 2005 • UNDER MY MOSQUITO NET, I’d barely slept an hour when I stirred awake. I heard soft footsteps and the sound of scraping near the wall. I pulled the mosquito net up and looked around, disoriented. My clock was gone. I took myself indoors where it was too hot to sleep. The next night I moved back outdoors, locking the front door and putting the key under my pillow. Perhaps I should report the incident to the police. I remembered that I had been told something about the Chief of Police living across the street. When I found the time to go across the street, at the doorway, I clapped to signal my presence. A tall, slim young woman came to the door. She had warm brown eyes and beautiful, straight white teeth that . . .

Read More

Ruth Hirsch (Niger 1976–78)

Monday, November 21 3:36 pm HOW TO PUT INTO WORDS an experience that profoundly affected my outlook on life, my core values, my “spirit”? I began my Peace Corps service at 22 years of age, bringing with me a middle class background, a belief that life held much suffering, and a strong desire to work to alleviate suffering. For 2 years I set up maternal-infant preventive health programs in several villages. I conducted well-baby exams and prenatal exams; nutrition education programs; training for indigenous midwives; evaluations of the relationship between the season of the year and nutritional status. I lived in small villages, along side the people that I’d come to work for and with. In retrospect, while my work was not insignificant, its importance to my personal growth seems minor in comparison to what I learned about my African co-workers, patients, and medical trainees. It’s been 10 years now . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2016. Peace Corps Worldwide.