Quickly following our return from demyst all the Peace Corps workers within Niger were placed under something called ‘Consolidation.’ Consolidation is the second phase Peace Corps goes into when things get a little heated or unknown in the country. During this all Peace Corps workers are required to leave their posts and move directly into Peace Corps owned and protected sites (for us we moved into our training site just outside of the village were living in). Peace Corps Niger has been known to be a relatively safe country never having to evacuate once over the course of sixty-one years. However, kidnappings and terrorist activity have heavily increased in recent years forcing Peace Corps to evacuate different countries in the West Africa region.
This consolidation was sparked by an attempted kidnapping on five U.S. embassy officials in the Tahoua region. It was initiated by four armed individuals claiming to be linked to Al Qaeda. No one was hurt or kidnapped, but the perpetrators were not caught. Concerned that the kidnapping was specifically targeted towards Americans the Peace Corps ordered a country-wide consolidation. For the last three weeks my stage has been living on the Peace Corps compound, anxious to return back into Niger. Just last week we found out, to our dismay, that we are no longer able to serve with Niger. We leave for Madagascar within the week, starting staging all over again.
There are ups and downs to the situation, but all of us are quite sad to be leaving such an incredible and inspiring country. Soon we will have our lives completely flipped around for a second time in just over a month. For now it’s a twenty-eight hour layover in Paris and then a stroll into Madagascar (which was recently reopened after being closed for nine months due to a coup).