I got to spend the past week in Niamey, the capital city of The Republic of Niger. It wasn’t bad at all, not like I expected it to be bad or anything…I just didn’t know what to expect as I haven’t been to any other African country besides Nigeria. Visiting Niger was an exciting experience for me, mostly because I was in a different environment and I really tried my best to take it all in.
Nigerians- From Nigeria
Nigeriens- From Niger
Don’t miss the “e” LOL
I got to mix with a few of the locals at the market and at church- which was dominated by Nigerians (95% of the population in Niger are Muslims) It was exciting listening to people speak french around me like its no big deal. Oh well!…that was a big deal for me. One weird sight for me was how women and even young girls casually rode motorcycles…with swag.
I think Nigeriens are genuinely friendly and hospitable, I remember going to get eggs at the supermarket with my sister. She waited in the car as I got down to get it. only for me to realize I didn’t know what egg was in french. for some weird reason I expected the man to know what egg was in English!! *seriously?!*
I stood there clueless on how else to communicate with this man. I started playing charades! (gesticulating and trying to describe eggs. I even made the mistake of saying “Poulet” which is chicken in french. I guess that confused the man even more. Finally I resolved to going outside to meet my sister.
She didn’t know the french word for egg too! But luckily she knew what it was in Hausa- kwai.
While French is the country’s official language, “Hausa is the language of trade” so I heard.
so this man finally knew what we were talking about, but he didn’t have eggs and most shops around were closed cause it was evening and time for prayer. The man went on to help us look for the eggs till he got it. I think that was really nice of him,
Also, when I went to the market to buy food stuffs, even though I didn’t have to struggle much with communication as I had someone to interpret for me, some of the other traders, seeing as I was not from around there, helped me negotiate and were just really nice and helpful. I noticed that the market was dominated by men. didn’t see a single woman selling!
One thing I didn’t like was the numerous motorcycle accidents. There were so many motorcycles and most of them didn’t have mirrors (that probably contributed to the cause of the accidents. Whenever there is an accident, the persons involved would have to remain in the scene until a police officer arrives. They seem to have a very good law system, Nigeriens seem to be law abiding citizens. It was rare to see someone beat the traffic light.
It was hot! and humid, even in the mornings. Well I guess that’s because Niger is one of the hottest countries in the planet. It has the Saharan desert in the north, the Sahel to the south of the desert, and the Sudan in the southwest corner! (I googled that 😀 )
Most of the houses are colored mud-brown, I didn’t really see colorful houses ( I was told it is as a result of the dust air, to save maintenance cost, they paint their houses brown). Some houses were made of straw and others, mud. People live there 🙁
THE ZOO AND MUSEUM
The zoo was amazing, I got to see Lions roar for the first time! I also saw a Hippopotamus and probably the largest Crocodile ever! Probably…The zoo also had a museum inside but I didn’t get to see much of it.
THE FOOD AND NIGHTLIFE
I noticed Millet and Kilishi (dried, peppered meat) I Tried some of their sauces too. But I liked the.Beignet ( pronounced Baget) — which is more of a snack than food.
I also noticed they love drinking tea (anytime of the day), they even hawk it on the streets.They also take Shisha/Hookah alot, you would see people randomly sitting outside, watching TV and taking Shisha.
Getting pizza was a bit difficult, we eventually found it but couldn’t wait for it cause it was going to take a while. We opted for burger instead.
Has anyone else been to the Republic of Niger or any other African country? Please share your experiences below. Also, if youhave any questions feel free to ask.
Please note: All pictures are mine