Friends of Niger are terribly sad to learn of the recent passing of Barbara Kirker. A Niger RPCV serving in Diffa in the the 1960s, Barbara and her husband, Dr. William Kirker, established the Maine-Soroa hospital (not to mention Africare), forever impacting the lives of many Nigeriens.
His Excellency Maman S. Sidikou, the Ambassador of Niger to the United States, has these kind words to say about Mrs. Kirker in this open letter to Dr. William Kirker:
Dear Dr. William Kirker,
The Niger Embassy staff and the Nigerien community in Washington, D.C. are very sad to hear about Barbara’s passing last week.
We will remember her as a deeply caring and generous person. She went out of her way to reach out our people, back when she was a Peace Corp Volunteer.
Many among our fellow-citizens had the privilege of working closely with her in improving our grass root communities’ life in Maine-Soroa. She was truly open-minded and generous and many children have benefited enormously from her experience and talents.
Barbara will be remembered fondly and with deep gratitude for all the excellent work she did in my country. She was a true friend of Niger. That the Kirker family’s name is so closely associated to everything good that happens to our people (including the great work AFRICARE is doing to strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable in Niger) is testimony to Barbara’s dedication to service to Humanity.
May her gentle soul rest in peace and may God grant you, William Jr. and your entire family the fortitude to bear this immense loss.
Ambassador Maman S. Sidikou
We offer our condolences to the Kirker family and to all who came to know this amazing woman.