About two years ago a young couple from our church was teaching in a school in Ivory Coast when that country's political stability dissintegrated nearly overnight and they had to evacuate via a harrowing two-day excursion with a French military convoy. It was at least the second time in recent history the school had had to be evacuated because of a resurfacing civil war, and this time the school board decided not to reopen. Now the couple from our church is serving a missionary school in the city (?) of Niamey in Niger, West Africa, where many of their students from Ivory Coast moved.
This year a small group from my church in Florida plans to spend about a week and a half in Niamey visiting our friends and helping a local French school (not the one they are employed at) by building desks and reroofing their building. We plan to leave the day after Christmas, have a two-day layover in Casablanca, Morocco, and then spend until January 5 in Niamey. I'll try to have pictures to share. No doubt stories will arise as well. Niger is 90% Muslim, has a population density of 28/sq. mi. (about 14 million total), and a per capita GDP (adjusted for PPP) of $872. Most of it is desert (Sahara), and they tell me the sand is so bad you have to learn to chew differently so as not to grind down your teeth.
I would appreciate your prayers as I work out the details (financial and logistical--do you know how many shots you have to have to go to West Africa!?).