“We Are Nomads” Sahara Desert, October 2006

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I made it down to Douz, the gateway of the Sahara Desert.  I wanted to see that, to know, in what capacity I was capable of, what a desert is.  I was told all along, in the Louages, down from Sfax to Matmata and now to Douz, that “You can’t go in alone, you have to go with guides.” I went to one of the expedition offices, that organized these tours for tourists.  Jamel and Mohamed where my guides. They gathered brush along the way, to fuel fires for when the sun went down and the heat of the desert disapears.  They would play drums, cook bread in the sand with with coals, brew tea that looked like maple syrup cooked down to tar.  Jamel laughed and sang a lot. One night while laying on the warm sand with the cold air coming down from space, I woke to drops, rain drops. My initial reaction was “oh shit, my camera’s” once collected and then safe underneath my sleeping pad as a makeshift shelter. I laughed out loud in knowing that I was sharing with the desert a joy like no other. It rains here maybe once a year, that one moment of gift and life giving occurance, the desert rejoiced and I was there to see it. Jamel and Mohamed, unprepared, without tents decided to skirt along the north rim of the desert, rather than going deeper south to the duns like mountains.  Once returned I, emptied my backpack of clothes and filled it with 10 liters of water, couscous, and vegetables, with a compass in hand pointing south, I walked alone into the Sahara desert. 

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