Monday, November 21, 2005
Niamey may be the capital of Niger and quite a big city at that, but it has ample of wildlife. This starts with the omnipresent lizards, that scatter everywhere when you set one foot in front of the other.
Another very present and extremely anoying animal is the mosquito. When the sun starts to set, around 5PM here, they turn up with voracious apetites. They will attack you like a divebomber, and before you know you're covered with mosquito bites. This is bit worrying, because Malaria is quite a problem here despite the general lack of water in the country.
Much larger but luckily much less agressive are the impressive camels that you'll find here even in the city centre, happily annoying traffic. They're quite a sight, but I didn't have the opportunity as yet to take a picture of them. The handlers charge for those anyway.
Donkeys are also a very popular means of transport and can be found everywhere. This inspired me to the following self-developed joke:
What's the difference between a farmer's group, an NGO and a ministry? The farmers ride donkeys and dream of jeeps. The NGO's drive jeeps and shout at the donkeys blocking them. In the ministries, the donkeys drive the jeeps and shout at the NGO's and the farmers.
Pretty good eh?
To continue with the theme of animals, a colleague of mine was attacked by a huge dragon last week. It was sitting on the ceiling, ready to eat her in one bite. At least, that's how she saw it. In reality, it was just a little and very colourful gecko. They're better in climbing walls than the lizards, unlike them they can get on the ceilings and even climb on windows. I saw a lot of geckoes in Central America, but here I only saw one - that wanted to eat my colleague.
And so ends another interesting lesson about the life and times of the people in Niger. Stay tuned for the following commercial messages!