Part of of our History, Closing our Communities in N'guimi

N'guigmi villageN'guigmi village The two Communities in and around N'guimi have recently closed because of external circumstances: one in the centre of town and the other at Abdougairam in the bush. In this tent community we lived as one big family. We first spoke with the closest neighbours who had welcomed us 35 years ago, who were deeply moved. We had felt their friendship and the deep bonds that united us. It is part of the tradition not to show your feelings openly but we took time with each family and felt so little in front of so much compassion and deep concern for our future. What was impressive was how each family without interruption wanted to visit and just take time to be together for the last time.

Our shelterOur shelter

We would have liked to leave them in better circumstances but the reality is that cattle breeders suffer alot just now. The rain is late in coming and many animals have died. A close neighbour offered to take care of our herd until we would be able to sell it. As they are now the goats are too thin to sell. This was a big burden off our shoulders.

We shared all our possessions with the neighbours and as the car left there was a deep silence. Even the children did not run after the car!

Pounding millet togetherPounding millet together

We feel that these long years of shared life do not stop with our departure. As Little sister Jeanne Loique, one of the first Little sisters among the nomads of the Niger, wrote to us:

'There is a shared life that circulates in our veins, all of us, they and us. Nobody can remove it or take it away.'
For us it is an accomplishment.

As I write these lines the long awaited rain finally arrives. It is a blessing for us all. In the evening hymn we read:

'What begins there noiselessly, the oblation of the grain of wheat, who among us can understand it?.'

When we look back at what we have lived in these recent months we can see how God is walking with us. We look at what is positive: The craft work is in good hands and can continue to be developped by Aichatou. The young people came to tell us how they want to work together to build unity in the camp.

'The past is past, there are no longer former masters and former slaves or blacksmiths. We are not Toubous or Kanouris, but people from Abdougaram. When there are hand outs they must be for everybody. When we receive something we share it as we learned from you. We even share with people from outside if we have more than we need.'

A few months later events invite us to leave N'guimi town too. A close friend moves into our hut as his own is in bad repair and we confide all our craft work to a faithful friend not knowing what God has in store for us in the future or when we will be back.

We read together from Father Bartelemy:

'God recreates us by uprooting us. If God intervenes in our lives through uprooting us it is to direct our steps toward a holy place about which we know nothing. But God knows where he leads us. We can only collaborate through total confidence in Him who is our Creator.'

N'guimi,Toubous wellN'guimi,Toubous well