I spent the day in various offices trying to get our shipments of solar equioment which had finally arrived in Agadez. After some seven offices (this after paying $500 to a customs clearing agent in Niamey to do it) we got the packages released on condition that we complete our NIF which we have been trying to complete since I got here. Each time we find out a new problem. Yesterday we found that our NGO, which has had its Niger recognition for over three years now, is not registered. Of course this is another new law–like the NIF (fiscal number) law. Now it is necessary to purchase a stamp of $3.50 each and stick it on a copy of each page of our by laws–all seventeen of them–two copies! After retyping our bylaws to conform to the new format for a couple of hours, we paid yet again and got registered. We went to pick up to the packages which still had to clear customs here in Agadez only to find out that the clearing agent who had been paid a monumental $500 for his services had “forgotten” the carnet of transit so the packages were to be seized. After much negotiation Sidi arrived with the packages which were released on condition that we complete our NIF which is in some sort of African limbo. There was great jubilation until we found that one was missing. I called Niamey to find out it is there in someone elses name and although its value was declared in the previous shipment we need another carnet of transit which must have a customs escort to the tune of another $200. By now our clearing agent is “fatigué” and will do nothing more. So the silicone which was needed to encapsulate all the new large panels sits in Niamey and tomorrow is the final day of the program.
So here sit our solar pump for the garden, our electrification for the Tamesna Education Center and Rich leaves tomorrow.
Many sets of soldered cells for large panels sit sadly waiting for the silicone to arrive.