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Liz Pfifer (Niger)

Liz Pfifer's latest update June 1, 2009

Hey y’all,

Been a while since I have written and certainly a lot has changed. As most of you know, Vinnie and I were “evacuated” from Madagascar in mid-March. The political situation had gotten pretty unstable, and the US Embassy suggested all non-essential personnel to leave the country to downsize our presence. Not that we were in any eminent danger, but there was the possibility of the situation escalating very quickly.

We returned to Baltimore, MD on March 15th after sad goodbyes and two long days of traveling. We basically packed up our house, sold furniture, returned puppies, and partied hard one last time before stepping on US soil. It was a whirl-wind to say the least.  We soothed our lost souls with microbrews and yummy Whole Foods. It was not long before I was hooked again on HGTV and Food Network. Vinnie was quoting the latest from news outlets and planning our nights around the hockey playoffs. I continued  to work for CRS/Madagascar from our headquarters office in Baltimore. Vinnie was the best house husband I could have asked for. We also traveled to see family and friends as much as possible, making the rounds in the South and Northeast. For those we did not have a chance to visit, we are sorry, but there is always the chance of more coups if I am around. 
Vin with last margarita and hockey Liz and her sweet nephew

We were happy to be back in the States for a while, but found ourselves missing the smells and sites and challenges of living overseas. I accepted a Program Manager I job with CRS/Niger. Niger is located in hot, desert, land-locked West Africa.

We arrived to Niamey, Niger on May 19, and I began working the very next day. The excitement and thrill to be in a new place melted around Thursday when the debilitating 130 degree temps caused us to hide in our room with the air on full blast. That was, until the electricity went out. We are currently in temporary housing until ours is ready to move into. We have found the people of Niger to be warm and welcoming. The CRS staff has been very helpful in my transition, but with any new job, I feel a bit overwhelmed and wonder how I will learn it all and be able to stay afloat. We have explored the city a little, including a few shops, restaurants and open markets. You must plan your day around the heat and dust. It can be trying, but with 70 SPF and a little patience, ain’t no thang.

As you might imagine running here has been tough. There is a national stadium about a mile away from our temp house. We usually walk the mile there, then run two miles around the track, and slowly dry heave our way home. We joke about our running in an oven and know it is building character if nothing else good stories for the grandkids. The other night I did aerobics with my ipod in our bedroom when it rained (second time since we have been here). The power started to flicker, so I put on the headlamp too. Also lifted weights with 1 liter milk jugs. 

Our life here in Niger will be much different than Madagascar, but essentially we are still accompanying those most in need and living a simple, but blessed life.

There is certainly much more to write about and explain. I hope to send more updates soon. We are working on a new website, and hope to post a few final words on the Mada blog. As always, it is good to hear from everyone at home. 

One last photo to leave you with, our first Nigerien sunset over the Niger River.

Lots of love,

Liz Pfifer
Catholic Relief Services
228 West Lexington Street
Baltimore, MD 21201;
(+227) 94 09 62 90

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