About the Author: Karan E. Swaner serves as a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Naimey, Niger.
U.S. Embassy Niamey celebrated a sunny and warm Fourth of July with an old-fashioned community picnic for all registered American citizens in Niger. An estimated 200 people -- including missionary families, NGO employees, Peace Corps volunteers, and embassy staff -- gathered for a potluck barbeque on the grounds of the Chief of Mission's Residence.
After a brief welcome by Charge' d'Affaires Eric Whitaker, the group migrated towards the shade to enjoy delicious food, ice cold drinks, and a chance to show off new babies and catch up with old friends. Disregarding the heat, the young and young-at-heart played a spirited game of touch-football, followed by a swim in the pool.
As the consular officer, I especially appreciated the opportunity to sit down informally with many of the Americans I'd previously met “through the window” of the American Citizen Services office. Among those I was glad to see were the three young adult children of an American citizen who has been living in Niger for over 30 years. This was the children's second Fourth of July celebration in Niger since they obtained their first passports. Seeing this family enjoy the holiday together and having a chance to reconnect with fellow Americans made this event a memorable celebration.