Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Village in a City
As every large city Niamey, the capital of Niger, has both poorer and wealthier parts of town. The funny thing is that even those wealthier parts have an interesting mix of poor and rich. Here you don't have the absolute division between people of different social backgrounds. My hotel is in a richer part of the city, where most houses are old colonial villas that are a bit worn, but they still are large properties with nice gardens surrounded by a high wall and guarded by day and night. Not that criminality is an issue here, in fact is ridiculously safe here for a city of this magnitude.
In between these castles you will find plots of land that are also surrounded by a wall, but they don't have any gates. This is were you will find poorer people. Their houses are the spitting image of how you used to draw a typical African hut when you were 10 years old. In front of them, women (who else) will cook on wood fires, while the children tend the goats. In fact, these are small traditional villages in the middle of the city. It really sets Niamey apart from all the other large cities I know.