Well I just wanted to update you on the fact that I made it home by God’s grace. The last 3 weeks of my stay in Galmi, Niger was interesting as we had received information from the US embassy that there was a plot to kidnap a Westerner from Galmi. Of course the only Westerners in Galmi are on the hospital compound so as a consequence we were confined to the compound. Thus we were to have “grab bags” that were to be prepared in case of evacuation as well as where everyone was to meet in case of a code red so we had designated drivers to caravan the entire team out of Galmi, phone chains etc. The local government supplied us with armed guards to supplement our security staff that is unarmed. Niger is an interesting hot bed of political groups. We have ISIS in the Northern part of the country in the area closer to the Sahara Desert where Americans are only allowed to travel with armed guards. To the West we have Al Qaeda that is also in Burkina Faso and Mali. In the Eastern part of Niger with have Boca Hiram. Each of these terrorist groups is extremely dangerous and when they make an announcement to do something, this sets off the other groups as they try to outdo one another. Needless to say, there are informants around the country that keep the embassy informed. Samaritan’s Purse sent out a security person to determine whether those of us who came to Galmi through SP needed to be evacuated. Likewise the US embassy will be sending out a group to evaluate the situation in the next two weeks. The confinement has been lifted but people are cautioned to travel in groups of at least 2 and to notify one of 2 people when we leave, what our plans are and when we return! So at least the confinement was lifted. We were told to only leave the compound when it is absolutely necessary. Of course I had to leave the compound on my last day so I could climb up the hill to see Galmi from a better viewpoint as the fog was lifting this morning, cross a ravine, and walk adjacent to the onion seedlings coming up! =-) I did go with another gal so I partially followed the instructions but I was glad that I did not know the instructions prior so I could pled innocence about informing anyone since my internet was down this entire week. But all joking aside, please keep the other remaining missionaries from multiple countries in your prayers. This information was too important let alone confidential to share with you all while I was in Galmi and I did not want to alarm anyone. Only my family and my accountability partner was informed about not giving any ransom should I be kidnapped
Just this morning I got this email from the director:
“Yesterday afternoon we had an unannounced visit from a group of USA Army Special Forces soldiers which is based in Maradi. They were accompanied by a larger group of Nigerien soldiers. They just showed up.
Their current mission is to explore the border with Nigeria from Maradi to Birni N'Konni and also visit Tahoua villa, making contact with the government and military in this region along the way. They received a request through their chain of command from the USA Embassy in Niamey to put Galmi on their radar, so they stopped by to find out who we are, what we can do and what our immediate situation and context look like. “
The US embassy will be visiting again on September 28-29th. . We on the other hand felt secure since we have a walled off compound with the airstrip on the backside that is fenced in with a chain link fence topped with barbwire and walls around the compound on the other sides.
So I got home at about 12:45 AM, left my luggage in the garage along with the clothes on my body and hopped into the shower. By 2 AM I still could not sleep because of the time change so I got up and made a cup of hot chocolate and took a sleeping pill. Of course I found myself awake at 7 AM so I am tired but now I have the job of unpacking everything. Anything that can get washed gets into the house and straight to the washing machine and dryer. Things like books get vacuumed and other things get wiped down with alcohol etc. So far I have just found one cockroach that managed to get a free ride with me, although I did drop off an airwig (bug that causes blisters when it bites) in Niamey. Thank you all for your continued faithfulness as my prayer team. Please don’t forget the true heroes of the faith that are continuing to live and work at Galmi under these less than ideal conditions. To me these folks are the amazing example of God’s work in action. Barb