Why you need to be kind in the desert
In demanding climate of the Sahara desert human kindness is the highest virtue. Everyone you meet on your way is your friend.
We just stopped to set up a camp for tonight. It’s been quite a demanding time: scorching sun and warm wind were our companions all day long. Our guides are unpacking camels, guests are resting under a palm tree while we notice a person approaching. Big tourban, traditional gandora, barefoot. Our guides drop everything they were up to: it’s time to host a guest with a glass of tea!
After long lasting greetings (How are you? Are you good? How is your mother, your father, your brother, aunt and all the kids… And again: are you ok, everybody ok? Reassuring each other that everything is alright everywhere near is a part of each conversation here) it’s time to sit, drink tea and talk. Does the guest need anything? Run out of water, food, cigarettes? Nomad people are always ready to help.
There is a place not far from village M’hamid which used to be a village, too. Its ruins still stand on the top of a small hill of Sidi Naji. It is called after a wise man, a desert healer who lived here in the 14th century. His resting place – tomb made of stone – is not only believed to have special healing powers, but it is also stocked with water and food: dates and nuts left by crossing caravans. Everything one brings in here is considered a gift for Sidi Naji, and help for the next ones to come.
People of the Sahara are patient. They can walk hungry or thirsty for long time. What’s their secret? Maybe they just know that sooner or later they will meet a friend, a good person who will help in their struggle. “We are happy people here” – says Mohamed Khidouma, head of our caravan – “Happy with this little we have, because we can really count on each other”.