Last day of my trip in Niger, February 17th, 2011

Had a very early 6:30am breakfast with Judy and John to say goodbye as they were leaving for Benin. Hamani the wonderful picked them up to go to the airport and must have been up at 4:30 to start his day.  At 9am Hamani picked me up for the last day of errands……visit to some shops and the phone centre, and then off for a surprise visit to Nawa at DHL. It was terrific to finally meet the man who had been helping us ship our pencil necklaces from Niger to Canada. Nawa was truly a gem and told me that DHL has a tremendous sense of social corporate responsibility….that is why he went with his DHL team to donate furniture to a village in Libore a few months ago.  He felt that the since we had already forged a connection with DHL, why not continue to help Libore!!!! I was so thrilled to hear this. He was kind enough to also give me one of the DHL clocks for my wall…..when I told him how crazy I was about everything “DHL”…..kissing and hugging DHL trucks whenever I saw them as my way of showing support for this company that helped us when they didn’t even know who we were, but believed in our cause.  After this, Hamani and I drove to Libore to give out the handmade teddy bears donated by the Richmond Hill high school home economics class. We found a village with lots of little children and took many photos of them with their new bear friends. Then I was thrilled also to meet two of Hamani’s three little girls…..and together we were given a demonstration of the women pounding millet. Very young girls also do this chore every single day. I lifted one of the pestles that they use and it is very very heavy. Imagine pounding every day for hours, at young and old ages…….even Hamani’s daughter Ramissa, just three years old, automatically picked up a pestle of her own size and began to pound. It is the reason we are starting the P4K Millet Pounding Experience in a few months… get women and girls here in Canada to get an understanding of life in Niger and help us raise money for scholarships so that future generations of girls will not have to do this backbreaking work, day in and day out.
We had another lovely conversation with Hama and Yacouba who help Hamani with LIBO, and I also visited Hamani’s home.
It was wonderful to see in his yard our newly created Travelling Library…callled Itinerant Bibliotheque….on a scooter. And both Yacouba and Hama proudly gave me copies of their newly acquired drivers’ licences that we helped them get, so they could initiate this new program to bring books and excitement about reading to the more remote villages in Libore.

Hamani drove me back and we went through the receipts that I must bring home to Canada……they were meticulously organized…..every penny spent explained. Ramatou then came over and we spent a wonderful two hours on the Grand Hotel patio, talking about life, family and work. She is an exceptional woman who does much through her work with UNICEF to improve the lives of her fellow citizens in Niger.

At 10pm, the former Vice Mayor, Fatouma, the former Mayor, Amadou came to say their final goodbyes and give gifts and take me to the airport. Hamani and Amadou stayed with me until almost midnight, in the VIP section of the airport…..and in walked many dignitaries…….and everyone stood as they entered. I told Hamani that maybe one day, they will all stand for his entrance!!!

A few hugs later and I was boarding the plane to come home. It was a very successful trip……!

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