Dear supporters, As you read this, SoA Project Manager Nick Glasgow is en route to Northern Niger to provide support for the Cure Salée (Salt Treatment) festival. The annual celebration of the end of the rainy season, hosts nomadic ethnic groups such as the Tuareg, Peuhl, and Fulani, and includes camel races, music, food, artisan crafts, and traditional dress. This is SoA’s fifth consecutive year supporting the festival. The Cure Salée provides Spirit of America a unique opportunity to interact with a large, normally dispersed group of nomadic herders and tribal leaders to help them form better connections with the Government of Niger and US troops and diplomats in Niger, allowing our partners to stabilize the most vulnerable regions of this struggling nation. As extremist groups like the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and others continue to radicalize, recruit, and carry out deadly attacks across West Africa, our support this year is especially important. The threat posed by these groups was highlighted in October 2017 by the tragic ambush of US Special Operations forces and their Niger military counterparts near the Niger-Mali border. Without US assistance, tribal elders warned that building tensions and unrest in the under-governed spaces of West Africa could can have disastrous consequences. Our aid to the people that gather for this festival is needed now more than ever. Click here to learn more about the festival and see how you can support these crucial efforts. Until next time, Andy Duhon Project Manager – Africa
Andy served as an active duty Army officer for nine years after four years as an enlisted sailor in the Navy. He finished his active duty time with the 91st Civil Affairs Battalion at Fort Bragg, NC.