I arrived in Niger on March 2nd with my fiance and work partner, Denis Gontero. Our team has been attending meeting upon meeting, developing partnerships, obtaining additional geologic data, and determining the best location and infrastructure for our next borehole.
This evening Moustapha Alkassoum (program co-founder) and I introduced "Amman Imman" to the Niamey Rotary Club "Croix du Sud". Mr. Gaston Kaba, "Croix du Sud" club president, kindly invited us to give an official power point presentation next Thursday. Mr. Kaba has been extremely supportive in various ways, by serving as my personal mentor, allowing us exposure to different clubs, and offering to help the project bring equipment into the country if necessary. Sidi Mamane, president of the Rotary club of Agadez, and Leslie Clark have also provided us with invaluable advice and support. The Rotary Club of Agadez currently operates north of our target area, and devotes much of its energy to improve the lives of pastoral nomads. They have expressed interest to extend their work to our region.
This morning our team met with a representative from the Ministry of Hydraulics, who claimed to be very impressed with our efforts. His eyes grew huge when we told him our target area in the Azawak. Hiding behind his large desktop computer, as if embarrassed to be the bearer of bad news, he informed us, "the good news is that there is water everywhere in your target region, and your work is direly needed. The bad news is, you have to dig over 200 meters to find a permanent source of water... you need a lot of money". He explained that the cost of digging so deep is often a discouraging factor for both the government and humanitarian organizations, thus explaining why there are so few sources of water in our region. Of course, this "bad news" is old news to us, and we plan on persevering no matter how deep we have to dig. Luckily, Mary Ohren and Ron Peterson, geologists that work with the Desert Research Institute, have been helping us work with the Ministry of Hydraulics to determine the best (and most shallow) locations for our boreholes. Mary will be arriving on the 16th to continue gathering data, and visit the Azawak. On Monday we will be meeting with the ministry's specialist for our target region in order to obtain additional geologic data.
In the afternoon we met with the coordinator for the international non profit organization "Action against Hunger". He has invited us to present "Amman Imman" at the monthly meeting held by all the international non profit organizations working in Niger. We will be presenting Tuesday morning, at which point we hope to meet future partners.
Last but not least, we will be meeting with the newly appointed Minister of the Interior this weekend. He is a Fulani from the Azawak, and very interested in helping his people. I have no doubt that many good things will come of this!
Thank you for your continued support! Thank you for believing in our goal and vision!
Yours in Peace,