He hasn't been home in 18 years- and has since lost siblings and both of his parents, missed weddings, births and other major family milestones. His home village is on an island in the Niger River, north of Niamey, and only recently has some electricity and a few residents with cell phones to enable communication.
Now, his biggest wish is to just move back home. He is the eldest son from his parents, and culturally (Djerma Songhai) that has a lot of significance. His presence will bring healing and leadership to his large extended family and he will be surrounded by a community that welcomes and values him.
The cost of a one-way airline ticket and bus fare from York, PA to NYC is prohibitive for him. And as much as my current husband and I (& Moumouni and my son, Avi - in photo) support him and wish him only happiness, it's beyond our means to fund his travel on our own.
I've priced one-way tickets to Niamey (the capital of Niger) and the cheapest is $650 plus luggage fees. The remaining funds will go for his bus fare to JFK airport, fees to renew his Nigerien passport and some travel money to change into local currency to travel from Niamey to his village, buy food, etc. I'll be purchasing the tickets myself after researching the best prices and ensuring that all the logistics go smoothly for him.
When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, I was always amazed at the generosity of the Nigerien people, despite their poverty. I'm hoping the US community can reciprocate for this instance. Whatever you can contribute, no matter how small, will be so appreciated.
Thank you/Merci beaucoup/Fofo/Mun gode
- Katherine Finberg
- Stephanie Kahn
- Jen Stolbach
- Anne Pellowski
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