After an overnight flight to Paris and another flight to Niamey, we are finally on the ground here in Niger. When we reached Paris early this morning, we met up with Kelly Di Domanico, our Development & Peace representative who joined us on our flight to Niamey.
It was quite surreal for our team, and for me especially. As the plane was landing at Niamey's Diori Hamani International Airport, it was unbelievable and eye-opening to see the ground in Africa. It was bare and very dry. Kris Dmytrenko and I reflected on that just before dinner this evening.
We had quite an experience at the airport when we arrived. From collecting our baggage, to negotiating the release of one of our HDV cameras, we wasted no time experiencing Niger culture up close and personal. One of our D&P partners (who will be with us for the trip) and I spent just under an hour negotiating with airport officials to get one of our HDV cameras back.
Tomorrow is a really busy day for us. It will be our first day that we will be out on the road - witnessing first hand the live distribution of aid. But before that happens, we will be meeting with the Archbishop of Niamey, His Grace Michel Cartatéguy SMA.
Back in 2007, Pope Benedict elevated the Diocese of Niamey to the rank of metropolitan archdiocese, also establishing the Diocese of Maradi.
Thus, Pope Benedict appointed Bishop Michel Christian Cartateguy S.M.A., of Niamey, as metropolitan archbishop of the new circumscription. Cartateguy was born in Hasparren, France in 1951, ordained a priest in 1979 and consecrated a bishop in 1999.
The journey officially begins for our team tomorrow! Keep us in your thoughts and prayers and be assured of ours in return.