Dear reader, I’d love to tell you about the picture featured in this blog. This is the man in the Sahara Desert.
While backpacking through Africa, I was a dream of mine to experience the Sahara Desert. I had come so far from Canada that of course I needed to experience it. The vastness of this great desert is unimaginable until you see it in person. We came across the man in picture who had been in this particular area of the desert for over three months with his camels. There was a watering hole nearby so it was a common place for travellers of the desert to stop. When I say watering hole, I do mean exactly that. It was a literal hole in the ground with enough water for man and animal to share before continuing on their journeys.
Though the man and I could not community in a common language, we managed to connect very well with some help from the members of the group I was with. He told me about his family. The man was actually one of the eldest sons in his family and would go out for six months out of the year to look after the camels. I found this responsibility fascinating.
He taught me how Arabs serve sweet tea. You drink 3 cups of small tea. One is for the Moslem faith, one for your family, and one for yourself. In the picture, you can see some of the material that he brought with him in order to still find comfort in the desert. It consisted of a little bit of wood, tin cups and cans, and blankets. He travelled very light. He also had his camels of course.
After our conversation, he invited me to the area where his family was located. I would have loved to but it was best that I stayed with the group I went into the desert with. While the Sahara is without a doubt a magical place, it is also extremely dangerous for inexperienced visitors. An adventure for another day, I thought.
It is small interactions like these that are truly the height of the travelling experience. Without even a common word spoken between us, we were able to connect in such a way that I could experience his life and culture. Through photos, stories, and memories, the man in the Sahara is one I will never forget.