From Switzerland to Niger – an amazing adventure
A new and exciting chapter has begun for Francoise Luthi – a retired Swiss doctor of general and tropical medicine – who fell in love with Niger, its people and has made it her new home.
In some ways, the move to Niger doesn’t really come as a surprise. Francoise spent many years of her career working abroad. Her first trip to the tropics was in 1976 to Papua New Guinea as a med student. Following this, she spent time in Cambodia and Mauritania 84-86 with World Vision. From 1987 to 1999 she worked as a doctor for The Leprosy Mission, first in Bangladesh then in Niger.
After an illustrious career, Francoise retired to Niger in 2015, where she has adopted four children and is happily ensconced in her retirement. (Please add the ages of the children)
A new challenge and a new life
It has been quite an experience retiring in Niger. As Francoise says, “It’s a challenge building a home, let alone in another country, but try it on a basic pension and it’s an entirely different kettle of fish!”. But nothing holds her back and she has no regrets, on the contrary it’s an amazing adventure.
It has taken several years to build her home with the help of her son, brick by brick, produced locally and finally Francoise has a nicely finished abode. The Internet connection comes and goes, and it’s a little fresh in the mornings in early January without heating, but soon it will be very warm and these moments will be nothing but cool memories…however, in anticipation of the crippling summer heat, Francoise has allowed herself the luxury of an air-conditioner for the bedroom so that she can get some sleep.
The climate is harsh and very dry with just a smidge of humidity, hardly worth mentioning, which makes her skin like paper (note to friends – send care package with hand creams, body lotion and plenty of vaseline for the feet). A cat and a dog keep her company when she is not being visited by her family.
Importantly the kitchen is well equipped with an oven, small fridge and soon a freezer, which means cakes, brownies and biscuits are on the menu.
Never a dull moment
Francoise keeps busy and is involved in some wonderful projects:
GAYYA – Danja College (school), Niger
Francoise is on the board and has helped to establish this school, where 300 students can finish their high school education and learn skills for life.
Coordination d’Appui au Développement et à la Réhabilitation (CADR), Niger (Coordination for development support, Niger), in Niamey, the capital of Niger.
This project is focusing on setting up a School for health education (Haute Ecole de Santé H-Espérance), which will train nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, offering a bridge to education for those who may have had to stop their education, which would end up in a qualification. CADR applied to the authorities for financial aid in October 2016 and have received 41% funding of their budget, for which they are very appreciative.
Kids With A Cause continues to support the Danja school as well as provide clothing, blankets and other items for mothers and children in the broader community. Francoise helps manage and ensure that the KWACE donations are used entirely for the specified projects.