Living in Niger

You are living in Niger, or you used to live in Niger.

Share your experience!

How would you describe life in Niger?

Has it been complicated to settle down, to find an accommodation and a job?

Is it complicated to make friends in Niger?

What would you recommend to people who would like to live in Niger?

Thanks in advance for your participation

Life in Niger will likely always be challenging.  It is among the least developed countries in the world, it is often hot and there's so few creature comforts that are easily available to Westerners. 

Most Westerners are here because they are either working for a UN or government agency, they are in a development field or they are Christian missionaries. A friend told me that you can classify most Westerners here as either mercenaries (here for a job), misfits or missionaries and that's pretty close to true.

Language and culture are two of the greatest difficulties most foreigners will experiences when coming to Niger.  Hausa and Djerma (Zarma) are the two most widely spoken languages--they're used more than the country's official language, French.  Even if you've studied Français, you'll find that it is not easy to understand Nigerien French or to have Nigeriens easily understand you--unless your Nigerien friends are well-educated and traveled. So much of your early frustration in Niger will be just in trying to communicate, to understand and to be understood.  For many, this alone will prove exhausting.

The culture is neither Western (French) nor Arabic/Muslim nor African, but a mix of all three that varies greatly in its composition depending upon where and with whom you are. Some look toward Paris for guidance, some to Mecca or perhaps Dubai, while others follow happenings in Kano, Abidjan, Dakar, Algeria and Libya. And some really don't care much about anything outside of their neighborhood! Perhaps describing it as "Sahelian" makes the most sense, though who knows what that really means unless you've extensively lived and traveled throughout this dry sub-region just south of the Sahara.  Niger is and has been a crossroads territory and its people and their values reflect aspects of all those who have traversed it.  As such it is a remarkably tolerant place and quite welcoming of strangers---at least for that first round of hospitality.

It is possible to "fit in" with the people of Niger, but it will take a great deal of time and effort on your part.  You must invest in relationships and in Nigerien families, understand their history and culture and look for the good things in the people and in the country.  That doesn't mean you can't complain about living here from time to time with a Nigerien, as he/she knows his/her country's flaws also, but do so in moderation and grace but without betraying any contempt.

Niger has a much slower pace of life than most other places of the world and Nigeriens generally like it this way, finding life in the hustling, bustling coastal cities of West Africa to be overwhelming.  Here, there's always time for greetings, announced visits from friends and a cup of tea or a glass of water.  One drops everything for a birth, a death or a sickness to comfort the family.  This is much more important than accomplishing a task. 

No matter how productive you were in the West, you won't be able to keep up the same workload due to this slower-lifestyle and the unbearable heat that drains whatever energy you have.  It is better to just "go-with-the-flow" and not plan too much ahead, as you can't really control much that goes on here anyway.

Please help me.
I plan to live in Niger for 2 years from this coming Saturday, so I`d like to ask your confirmation if it`s true that Life in Niger is very dangerous (military demonstrations, mutiny...).Actually I`ll live in Nyame.
Thanks for uer response


I wouldn't classify Niger as truly dangerous.  There are certainly some areas, particularly close to the desert that are dangerous, but most people would have no reason to go there.

Also crime in Niger isn't particularly prevalent, though it certainly exists.  By take a few precations (have either a dog or a guard at your home at night) or otherwise live in a secure area and you should really be fine for your home.  Otherwise, for petty crime, just avoid certain areas at night and don't spend much time in crowds where people are constantly touching you.

The uncertainty that you read about today deals with whether or not there might be some political instability in the next few months.  If there is such instability, then conceiveably Niamey could be the site of demonstrations or even worse, should an attempt for a coup d'etat emerge in the capital. That's a huge unknown.  I'd say the odds aren't great for it to happen like that, but its conceivable.  Niger isn't a place where hords of people take to the streets to protest.  It generally is a very quiet country where not much happens.

Great post with incredible information Sir... thanks...