We went to Niger, taking a flight from the capital of Niamey to a smaller city called Zinder. In fact, this had been the one country that we’d been slightly worried about going to, because there are many warnings on the internet that say how extremely dangerous it is. But we heard that the danger is mainly in the north, and so we went regardless.

What we found there was a fantastic surprise: a new family. We had come to Zinder to meet with one of my dad’s partners. But this man is not just any local of Niger; him and his family happen to be the only caucasian residents in the entire city, and may well be an extreme minority within the country as a whole. Their purpose there is an extremely important one: to be able to utilize native plants for food products that would’ve otherwise been replaced by foreign food stuffs. In this way, not only do native plants get protection, but less trees are cut down and the local people are given jobs to do in their own community. My dad’s technology comes in as a means of debittering these native Hanza seeds. Although they have other methods as well, this local family values the environment as much as my family does, and therefore tries their best to achieve environmentally sustainable methods.

But that’s all the technical stuff, and the reason why we came. But what we experienced when we got there was much more special. My dad’s partner had three beautiful blonde girls, one of which is only two and has a total attitude towards anyone who’s not her mother (I still love her though), and the other two of which became two of my closest friends within the span of only two and a half days. The authenticity of their entire family is so precious and so hard to come by in this age of materialism and short attention spans, that the connection between our two families became apparent instantly. And now I have to take back with me some wonderful memories that I will never forget, and two new great friends leading very different lives than my own.

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