ML 148460


dromedary -- Camelus dromedarius 13:11 - 15:23 Play 13:11 - More
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Sound Effects 15:23 - 15:29 Play 15:23 - More
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Dripping water  







dromedary -- Camelus dromedarius 19:37 - 19:41 Play 19:37 - More
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Environmental Recording 28:11 - 28:48 Play 28:11 - More
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Sahara Desert ambi  







Interview 42:36 - 52:20 Play 42:36 - More
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Roberto Cerea  






Trans-Saharan trade  

dromedary -- Camelus dromedarius 59:25 - 59:59 Play 59:25 - More
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Interview 1:07:22 - 1:35:18 Play 1:07:22 - More
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Life in Arouane, Mali; translated by Roberto Cerea  

Sound Effects 1:38:51 - 1:39:17 Play 1:38:51 - More
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Truck arriving  







NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
14 Jan 2003

  • Mali
  • Timbuktu
  • 16.7758333   -3.0094444
    Recording TimeCode
  • :04 - 9:21
  • Mali
  • 95.0 km N of Timbuktu
  • 17.611   -3.132
    Recording TimeCode
  • 9:21 - 22:30
  • Mali
  • Araouane
  • 18.905   -3.528333
    Recording TimeCode
  • 26:01 - 1:39:20
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
  • Sennheiser MKH 50
  • Sennheiser MKH 30
    Equipment Note
  • Decoded MS Stereo

Show: Mali
Log of DAT #:5A
Engineer: Leo
Date: January 14, 2003

RC = Roberto Cerea
IM = Issa Mohammed
PG = Godfried Peter Agbezudor
WD = Wade Davis
AC = Alex Chadwick
CJ = Carolyn Jensen
Leo = Leo del Aguila

Leo briefly explains the tape.

Ambi. People speaking some African language. Other people talking. Sounds of loading up to go.

FX. Sounds of loading up to go.

Leo: We're at the port here outside of Timbuktu, at the Niger River, however you pronounce it¿

He says it is Dat number 5.

Ambi. Sounds of workers loading up a boat with salt tablets.

FX. Splashing sounds

Ambi. Squeak sounds. Bleating goats.

Leo explains they are in the Sahara about 95 kilos. They are at the first well.

10:10 CJ
Can you just tell us where we are?

10:11 Godfried Peter
We are 95 kilometers north of Timbuktu. That's the first well, the first stop where camels take water along before entering the real desert. In the reverse, when they come down from the salt mine, is the last stop for the camel to water 95 kilometer north of Timbuktu before entering into town.

10:34 LEO
What is your name?

10:36 PG
Godfried Peter Agbezudor

10:40 LEO
And where are you from?

10:42 PG
Well, uh, I come from two countries as an identity. I was born in Togo, but raised in Ghana. Grew up in acres culdinaka(?). And what I normally do is tour guiding (laughs).

Ambi. Camels mooing(?), squeaking sound, people talking in background.

11:40 LEO
I'm in front of camels right now.

Ambi. Camels making sounds, people taking, walking sounds, something squeaking, goats bleating.

FX. Strong camel sound.

FX. Camel sound

FX. Noise like rushing wind and camels sounding out loudly.

FX. Africans talking, honking sound, more camel noises.

FX. Camel sound, unearthly like star-wars chewbaca.

FX. Camel sounds-guttural.

Ambi. Dripping noises, water noise?

FX. Loud banging and water noises.

Ambi. Crashing stops, dripping sounds, Africans talking.

17:17 AC
We've come about 70 miles north of Timbuktu and we've found this well. It's on the map, you can find it on the map, and we've found it here. There is¿

Leo stops Alex for a second.

17:32 AC
We've come about 70 miles north of Timbuktu to a well, we've just come upon it in the desert here.

Ambi. squeaking noise.

17:43 AC
We've come about 70 miles north of Timbuktu to a place where there's a well. And at the well¿

FX. Squeaking noise from well over Alex talking.

17:50 AC
¿there's some camels, there's a heard of goats, there's also some donkeys around. There are these camel herders, young boys most of them 12, 13, 14, and they're hauling water up from the well. That's that creaking noise we're hearing. It's an old wooden pulley. There's one camel headed off across to the next dune and he's got a rope back to this pulley and the water's coming up.

FX. Creaking sound from well pulley. Dripping noises.

Ambi. People talking, water splashing.

FX. Loud camel moo.

FX. Squeaking pulley from well.
FX. Camel noise.

FX. Water splashing.

Ambi. Africans talking, getting water.

FX. Squeaking and camel groans.

Ambi. Sounds of getting water

FX. African boy herders conversing.

Ambi. Soft camel groan in background.

22:47 AC
Could I ask your name please?

My name's Tabala

22:50 AC

22:51 T

22:52 AC
Tabala. Where do you live?

22:54 T
I live in Timbuktu.

22:56 AC
How long have you been on this caravan here?

23:01 T
One eighth.

23:03 AC

23:04 T

23:04 AC
Eighteen days.

23:05 T
Eighteen days, yes, exactly.

23:07 AC
How far do you walk every day?

23:09 T
Uh, probably 45 kilometers for a day.

23:16 AC
45 kilometers a day.

23:17 T

23:19 AC
It uh, it must be very hard, where did you last have water? Where was your last well?

23:26 T
well water

23:28 AC
Well water. How far is it to the next well?

23:31 T
Maybe 20 kilometer in there.

23:34 AC
20 kilometers. But there's long stretches with no water.

23:38 T
I'll have four or five days with no water sometimes.

23:43 AC
Four or five days with no water? But do you carry water with you?

23:49 T.
Ya, we take water and the camel.

23:55 AC
Uh, is it hard to be in the caravan?

23:58 T
Uh-huh, very hard.

24:01 AC
Why do you do it?

24:03 T
Salt¿(says something unintelligible, laughs)

24:20 AC
Will you get to Timbuktu today?

24:25 T
No Two day and half

24:26 AC
Two and a half days?

24:28 T

24:30 AC
And how much, how much salt do you have with you? You've, you've been to the salt¿

24:35 T
Like, like hundred bars

24:41 AC
Hundred bars. How many times do you go to Taoudenni in this season?

24:48 T
Uh, Just sometime and just one time. Ya, just one time this year.

24:55 AC

25:06 T
(speaks French)

25:07 AC
Okay, thank you.

Ambi. Nat sound.

Leo explains they are in the desert and just had lunch Checks levels.

Ambi. Nat sound of desert wind

Leo speaks to Alex:
Hey Alex, check this out, a lonely scarab. This is such a cliché of the desert.

Ambi. Desert wind.

29:22 AC
We've stopped at a little hut by the side of the track here. It's just sticks in the ground with a little grass that they pulled up somewhere by a passing camel herder. We're probably a couple of hundred miles north of Timbuktu now, another couple of hours to go today.

Ambi. Nat sound of wind. People talking faintly in background.

Sound capture interrupted.

Ambi. Nat sound of desert wind.

31:14 AC
There are just these mysteries in the desert. We're standing here recording wind in a little shelter here, and a man comes riding out of nothing, out of the horizon, on his camel, trotting past and just goes past us. And what this man is doing I don't know. Behind him a hundred camels. There's a caravan coming.

Ambi. Nat sound of wind and desert.

Ambi. Great effect of low wind rustle and camel groans in the wind.

Leo explaining there are 40 camels here giving those sounds. Group is by a water hole.

40:01 CJ
So, it's, uh, Tuesday and it's the 14th of January and we've just come upon Araouane, and it's the last town really before we get to Algeria. We're on our way to Taoudenni. We've just had an amazing night, our first night camping under the stars, which turned out to be actually under the rain. And, uh, we've made our stop here at Araouane. And we're going to interview Roberto. And also Godfried.

Leo explains he's checking levels. Pair MS, nothing changed.

Carolyn explains all recordings on tape so far were from the one-day journey from Timbuktu.

42:36 AC
Okay, let's just start. Begin¿tell us who you are and what you do here.

42:42 Roberto Cerea
I'm Roberto, my name is Roberto Cerea. I'm a travel agent. We work in West Africa. We organize tours, adventure tours, in order to meet and populations of the cultures of West Africa. We are here in Araouane.

43:03 AC
What is this place? We've driven probably 120 miles, 130 miles across the desert and, um, camped last night against a dune. This morning we've come in, come over the rise of the dune. It's like nothing I've ever seen before in my life. Can you tell me what this is?

43:24 RC
Araouane is a like a 150 kilometers north of Timbuktu. It's the last town, village, the last coming up from the south. When I'm here I feel that we are at the edge of the world and everything is reverse. Because, from here for example Timbuktu is the beginning of the world. Here you feel that you are you and just the nature around yourself. And, uh, Araouane is located on the salt way. So people in Araouane, during the season of the work in Taoudenni, the miners in Taoudenni, or, uh, camel riders, so the people with the camels bringing down the salt to Timbuktu.

44:23 AC
When did you first see this place?

44:25 RC
In 98, 98, so now it's five years ago.

44:30 AC

44:31 RC
And it's always, always, always, a big emotion when I'm here because, because one thing you see is the power of the sand for example, because the sand keeps moving and, uh, okay, we say that it also keeps, keep moving, but here it also, by keeping moving they, they keep covering the houses and you see, uh, the houses are surrounded by the sand. So the power of the desert, the power of the dunes, the power of the sand, but at the same time the power of the people that have been living here for centuries, and adapting themselves to this very, very, very difficult environment. Now we are talking, we are talking¿freezing, but in two months, for example, it will be very, very, very hot, so here is when it's cold it is very cold, when it's hot, it's very hot. That is another problem they have to face.

Ambi. Bells ringing in background of conversation.

45:33 AC
And water, I mean this place is so dry. There's a well here.

45:38 RC
There's a well, several wells. Probably the chance that they have, the fact that, despite that the wells, that they have probably dried up. They are able to dig other wells and so provide water to themselves and to the (something unintelligible). Sorry I like also to remind the water users the children saying in the schools when we ask them to say a (something unintelligible), a poem, and there is always a coming out and saying, ¿my village is surrounded by sandbar, dunes, the wind blows all the time, and the school in my house I love my village. (Something unintelligible-Something about saying stuff against villages, but loving villages???). Because the place I was born is the place where I learn how to walk.

Are those the public bathrooms over there?

46:56 RC
Is a bathroom for the school.

Oh the schools

46:58 CJ
Okay, can you also, just to have it, Araouane through time. Just a¿
47:03 LEO
Yeah, a little history. You were telling us last night the significance of it. Hold on, let me just¿(fades out).

47:15 AC
How long has this town been here?

47:18 RC
So the legend says that the man was looking for a place where to pray, pray to be at peace with himself and with God. He passed through Guinea, but he was not satisfied, so he settled himself here. Well, who knows that is lost in the history with the date, but according with some legends, people from Araouane they went down and founded Timbuktu. So that is in 1100. That is very interesting because it means that Araouane is older than Timbuktu. And it, always, the population of Araouane has always been connected with the salt mines, (unintelligible) first, Taoudenni after. Anni Baba, this big, very important, Marabu teaching to a Sankari brought a prisoner to um Marrakech in the 16th century was born in um Araouane, so Araouane kept providing very important people and leaders to Timbuktu, even when Timbuktu wasn't much more important, a bigger than Araouane. And now the population they say we have 150, 100, 250, depends on the time of the year so if the men they are in the salt mines here, the number decreases. Do you know where we have the women, we have the children, and sometimes also the husbands, the men coming back from the salt mines.

49:14 AC
But if the legend is true about this people, from this village founded Timbuktu, then this village must be at least 1000 years old.

49:26 RC
Absolutely, absolutely. Even if now we don't have any house 1000 years old. Because, uh, because, how the material they used to build the houses so the houses they collapses so they keep building new houses, but, uh, yes, 1000 years.

FX. Loud bell rings.

50:06 AC
That was the bell at the school.

50:11 LEO
How do they make their existence here?

50:17 AC
How do people survive here? What do they do?

50:24 RC
Salt mines, salt mines and caravan people. Another thing they do seems to be provide pillows for camels. Seems to be really, really, really, really funny¿

50: AC
Pillows for camels?

50:37 RC
Yes, because of the camels when they move so that they have the salt bars on the sides, and in order to protect the skin of the camels they make with the grass you see around sometimes, surrounding the village, and they make the pillows, and they have two or three specialist people, they don't work anymore, they are old people, they don't work anymore in the salt mines so they make the pillows. And they make them very, very tough so they last one or two years, but what is interesting is that the people expert making the pillows, the people of the caravan, they exchange it with the salt so in fact here you don't see money. It's a kind of exchange, but money seems to be a very far idea concept. Another thing there is not trade here, uh, sorry, there is not shop here, there is not a place where you can go and buy a cigarette, go and buy a coca-cola, go and buy (something unintelligible), no. Everybody is problem is what is getting, what he needs for himself or for his family, either going to Timbuktu, or going to Taoudenni, but there is not a proximity here to buy anything. That is another thing that strikes a visitor here. So it seems that in fact the villages are dead because there is not activity, there isn't activity of any trade, no because is a, Araouane is a village on the way to somewhere else.

52:52 LEO
You cannot get a T-shirt that says ¿I've been to Araouane and this is a lousy T-shirt, and the only thing I got was a lousy T-shirt from Araouane¿? (Laughter).

Leo, Carolyn, and Alex decide what to record next.

Ambi. Walking sounds. Conversation of Roberto speaking with others.

FX. Bleating goat? Also sound of camera taking pictures.

Ambi. Sounds of walking. School children playing.

Leo says he's in the middle of town, recording wild sounds.

Ambi. Children playing.

FX. Camel grunt

Leo asks about what is wanted for the recording.

FX. Loud camel groan.

FX. Loud camel groan-good!

FX. Arab man speaks to camel, camel groans, hear some sort of camel whisper call?-great sound!

FX. Arab man calls out to camel.

Ambi. Camel groaning, goats bleating, kids in background, people conversing in non-English.

FX. Arab man yells out.

Leo talks about sound again. Carolyn and Alex discuss beginning.

1:07:22 WD
Well first of all, Roberto, let's thank her very, very much for inviting us to speak with her here in Araouane.

FX. Rooster crow.

1:07:47 WD
I'd like to ask her about the sands of Araouane. The way this desert is moving over the houses and the efforts that must be involved to keep the desert away, to keep it from swallowing the houses.

she speaks

1:09:29 RC
She says that the sand keeps moving and the women they with the holes(?) and bowls(?), bowls(?) they push away the sand but there's always, they can't stop it because there has always been this problem.

1:09:49 WD
Has it always been like this?


1:10:47 RC
He has always been like this. There are not solutions. I guess that when the wind blows so that the sand comes and they have to clean their houses.

1:10:58 WD
Has she lived here all of her life?


1:11:21 RC
She was born here, she grew up here, she has never been elsewhere apart from Araouane.

1:11:28 WD
And even when she was a little girl, like her own daughters and granddaughters, does she remember the sand; same thing, sweeping over the desert, sweeping over the houses?


1:12:13 RC
Literally, since the time she had the eyes open she had always seen the sand and the wind.

1:12:22 WD
Was the village of Araouane larger when she was a little girl? Were there more people, more commerce?


1:13:04 RC
When she was a small girl, little girl, the village was larger, bigger, and more people were living here.
1:13:14 WD
But now when she speaks of her having to personally move the sand with a pot or her hands, when she was young the sand swept over the village. Who helped remove the sand, was it always just the women?


1:14:11 RC
When she was a little girl she had, she used to have the adults to do that, but it was always just the women doing this work.

1:14:23 WD
Why has the town of Araouane become smaller in her lifetime?


1:14:56 RC
For two reasons, some people they died, and some people they moved to Timbuktu. That is the reason why the village became smaller.

1:15:05 WD
Did she ever think of moving to Timbuktu?


1:15:27 RC
She has never wished to move there. People suggest, propose to her she move there, she said always ¿no¿.

1:15:35 WD
And why not?


1:16:10 RC
She says that her heart doesn't want that, doesn't want her to move there. Her son today proposed to her to move to Timbuktu. She said no, she wants to die here.

1:16:22 WD
And what is it that she loves about the sands of Arouane?


1:17:06 RC
She loves the sand of Timbuktu, the sand dunes. *She says that this sand is blessed by God. She was born here, she wants to die here.

1:17:19 WD
So even though the sand she loves so much is sweeping over her houses, the houses of the people, she still loves that sand?


1:17:55 RC
She says yes, even if this sand covers the houses she loves. But she doesn't say love, she (mumbles) adoring. Keep in mind this word is stronger than to love.

1:18:12 WD
What does she think of the world beyond Araouane. When people like ourselves arrive, obviously from a very distant place, with all kinds of machinery and all kinds of wealth, um, strange faces, what does it make her imagine about the world beyond this community?


1:19:41 RC
She says that she's, she's very happy when the people come here. She helps them, she's friendly, if they need some special services she tries to provide this service. Okay, she didn't understand the question.


1:21:02 RC
She says she considers everybody equal, the same people, so she, she¿Everyone in her eyes are able to see she laughs. She thinks that all the people are the same.

1:21:23 WD
Is that her granddaughter there, her daughter?

1:21:23 RC
Yes. Granddaughter is behind her there, very, very shy.

1:21:35 WD
Do you think her daughter, does she think her daughter there will live in Araouane?

1:21:39 RC
If she thinks?



1:22:03 RC
She says yes, she would like her daughter stay here, beside her

1:22:30 WD
It's true, tell her that you can find all of God in a single place, and the whole universe in a single moment.


1:23:43 RC
She says that is clear, it is evident.

1:23:50 AC
Ask her how long her mother, her grandmother, her great grandmother, how long has her family, the women in her family, lived in this village. Does she know how old this village is, how long has her family been here?

Response (child makes loud coughing during her response).

1:25:07 RC
Apparently the family has always been here because it says the grandmother come to the mortar two years ago, and I asked about the mother and grandmother, she lived here. And the mother of the grandmother, she lived her also. So it seems they all go back.

1:25:26 AC
Did any of them ever go to Timbuktu?


1:25:50 RC
She says, they have never been in Timbuktu. But her grandmother she knew, once she went to Timbuktu.

1:26:00 AC
Her grandmother

1:26:01 RC
The grandmother

1:26:02 AC
Her grandmother?

1:26:03 RC

1:26:04 AC
Wow! Has she ever traveled in the desert anywhere else?


1:26:50 RC
She says she has never moved, apart from moving one or two kilometers to collect the straw and come back.

1:26:59 WD
How did her family make their livelihood throughout the last generations?


1:28:11 RC
A lot of their (unintelligible) pillows. She, she's able to make embroidery, to sow, and if somebody needs help they can help him, for example with the bank, with the clay for resurfacing the houses.

1:28:34 WD
And does her husband still live?


1:28:48 RC
He died a time ago, long time ago.

1:28:53 WD
Well please thank her for all her kindness in speaking to us.

1:29:03 AC
And we have just one more question, sorry.

1:29:40 WD
Let's ask her to explain, as a final few thoughts, what role Araouane is played in the salt caravans and what services are provided.


1:30:45 RC
So they provide the pillows, ropes, and straw for the animals.

1:30:57 WD
Let's ask one final question. She may have heard that there are countries with immense forests, countries with immense lakes and huge rivers, cities with millions of people living in them, I mean you can see the airplanes flying overhead. I'm just curious as to, has she ever wondered about those places, had any curiosity as to how those people live?


1:32:33 RC
She has never asked to have more information, satisfy curiosity about this world. She is not interested in knowing. That is life here in Arouane.

1:32:49 WD
Well we hope her life is long and healthy.


1:33:07 RC

1:33:09 AC
What would it be impolite to ask how old she is?

1:33:12 WD
And her name, we need to know the spelling of her name


1:33:50 RC
They don't know. She said 35 or 40 years.

1:33:53 AC
Could you just ask how her name then?


FX. Loud rooster crow.

Vulca, vulca

1:34:52 RC
Bamrka (spells name)

Group gets spelling of name, wraps up.

Ambi. Kids whispering, rustling, nat sound.

Roberto introducing some lady.

Leo explains machine stopped for some reason.

Ambi. Pounding, kids playing, people talking, rooster crows.

FX. Truck pulls up

Leo starts rolling.

Ambi. Truck rumbling over the desert.

Alex sets up for beginning.

First say who you are and what you do.

1:45:15 PG
I am Godfried Peter Ibizador. I am a tour guide of TransAfrica. My job is to guide tourists, not only on expeditions, not only in the desert, all over West Africa. And now we are about 10 kilometers North of Araouane, where, you know, camel riders, we call camel walkers, salt miners from Taoudenni, which is about 750 kilometers north of Timbuktu, usually stop to feed their camels and water their camels. We are riding towards Taoudenni now, which is, again, about 550 kilometers north of Araouane.
Um, we are driving through, we are riding through the last grass land of the desert, and we'll be hitting the real desert now in some few minutes. And that will be the end of vegetation. Riding for 550 kilometers.

1:46:26 AC
Where is the next town, we've just left this little village of Araouane, when do we get to the next town?

1:46:32 PG
Uh, we'll get to the next town in two days. There is no more town in between Araouane and Taoudenni. It's just a complete desert on its own.

1:46:44 CJ
And what happens in Taoudenni?

1:46:46 PG
Taoudenni is one of the biggest salt mines in West Africa, where salt has been mined through the ages. You count on about 10 centuries ago where salt has been mined and sent down to many parts of West Africa because in the beginning there were no salt mines in any part of West Africa. But the Arabs found this place in the ninth or the 10th century and it started mining salt and it's still going on until today. And it is known as one of the biggest salt mines in the desert, right in the heart of the desert.

1:47:29 CJ
And who works in the salt mines?

1:47:31 PG
Well we have the Moors and the Tuaregs who are the main miners of this salt in Taoudenni.

1:47:46 CJ
And are there still slaves working there?

1:47:49 PG
Ya, we have slaves who work for them, in the beginning. But today power has gone into the hands of the slaves after colonization from the French. So they have no more slaves, because all the slaves are freed now. They hire people and pay them, not only in cash, but also in kind.

1:48:14 AC
This is a very steep dune we are going down here.

1:48:17 PG
Ya, we are going into the valley (laughs). And then we'll be climbing up again.

1:48:21 AC
They ever, uh, ever turn over one of the trucks?

1:48:27 PG
No, never. It is steep, but we call it gentle because the jeeps, uh (laughs), they do a roll over, you panic at the first sight, but as soon as you start ascending it's very gentle.

1:48:47 AC
The other truck has stopped here. Maybe it's a pee break. This is like a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike, or the Interstate, only it's all one big rest stop because¿(fades out)

Ambi. Sound of truck, people talking.

Lost on the way to Taoudenni:
1:49:49-2:07:36 (end of tape)

1:49:49 AC
We're north of Araouane and I saw Issa and Roberto here with maps spread out on the hood of the SUV and I just wondered what you were looking at here.

1:50:11 RC
See we are looking with Issa where we are and by the GPS. We know that we are now 19 degrees of 35 north and 19 degrees of 35 west. So we read the map (unintelligible from thick accent). And a 335 more or less, more or less we are here. And by GPS we can also know how many kilometers in a straight line we are from Araouane¿48.

1:50:51 AC
48 kilometers we've come from the town where we were and I see there's a well ahead of us. Are we going to stop there?

1:50:57 RC
Uh, that I don't know.

1:50:58 AC
Is that a well?

1:50:59 RC
Uh, that is a well, yes. (mumbles something). Our aim is to reach (unintelligible). So we would be able the next day to reach Taoudenni. We are 160 kilometers straight line from a (unintelligible), where we are going to spend the night.

1:51:19 AC
A hundred and 60 more kilometers?

1:51:20 RC
Yes. Straight line.

1:51:23 AC
And the amazing things is that here it is a straight line.

1:51:26 RC
Exactly. And well, you see, the fact we are exactly, you know north of Araouane, the way we are following is a straight line.

1:51:44 RC
(Too low) Well be there by night (?)

1:51:51 AC
We'll there by night, you think?

1:51:53 RC
160 is how many hours are we at (gets too low)

(Discussion continues about when they'll arrive, but too low under the sound of the truck. Roberto's thick accent often unintelligible).

Ambi. Truck sound. Map rustling.

1:53:40 RC
Okay, so this is like almost like an air bubble, and you can see that the wind is coming from this way, and you see how it hits over there, the (?), so the wind is coming from this direction and this way. And if you are looking also so, like a small waves, you know, over there you can see the position of the waves, so the wind is coming in this direction, which means that (starts speaking French).

Okay so normally there is a wind called Armatan (unintelligible) that blows from north to south.

(Someone else speaks French) If it's that time then you know that this is Armatan so you can, this is the north and this is the south.

(Someone speaks French to him).

Okay so he said now if you have your map and then you stand up here with your map, and on the map it says north, okay, pointing on the north part of your map, so then you know that this is north, this is south, and then this will be?

1:55:02 WD
Well of course East, but (sound is muffled).

Speaks French

Okay, so this is how they can tell¿


1:55:36 I-(motor is louder than his voice, so hard to hear) Even if he stop this is not working just by looking at this¿

1:56:04 AC-I'm just going to ask you a question here.


AC-How did things go with the woman this morning in Araouane?

1:56:09 WD-Oh I thought it was extraordinarily interesting. I mean, you know, it was such a great contrast to us in the west who all suffer from Baudelaire's disease, which you know as the great malady he called it the great horror of home. And we're so inherently restless as a society and to actually meet an individual who not only has never traveled form her village, who has never been a kilometer away from her village, but who has no interest whatsoever in doing so and who has no curiosity about the world. I mean just this person who you know she's either the simplest person, or a very wise person. She seems lost in time and space living in that place that to our eyes looking down on that sand dune, the ancient village of mud houses with a sea of desert lapping up at them with the sand waves sweeping over them, literally burying them. Certainly to our eyes about as desolate a place as you could ever be. To find a human being who found such satisfaction to be in her skin, to be in that place, not that she hasn't had trials and tribulations, her husband is long dead, she obviously has children, she obviously lives in abject poverty trying to make a living simply by a little bit of weaving, a little bit of making of the saddles for the camels, so the salt doesn't upbraid their skin as they move up and down the caravan route, but someone so utterly and totally in her place. I wonder if that is just her, inherent to some extent to those who were still attached to the community. I remember a story once in Northern British Columbia, where I'm from, there was a very controversial dam project and there was a meeting where a very young white guy stood up and said and what he took to be a gesture of solidarity, surrounded by Toltan Indians. He said you know if they build this dam I'm just going to have to leave this country. And right after him this young Toltan stood up and turned to him and with immense dignity said you know partner that's the difference between you and me and you. If they build this dam, I'm still going to be here. In other words there is something about spirit of place, sense of belonging that those in the West have lost in perhaps a detriment to our benefit.

1:58:42 AC-Did you get anything for the ethnosphere for that interview?

1:58:47 WD-Well I think I got a strong sense of loyalty to place, loyalty to community. You know it's not as if we just drifted upon a bucolic valley in Switzerland, we didn't just sort of paddle onto the shore of some idyllic lagoon in Tahiti. We came across the sand, you know, and came over the ridge and saw what by any ascetic definition was this oasis of desolation. I mean gray skies, gray skies meeting the gray sand, you know with the waves of the sand literally burying the lives of the people. I mean here's this woman who told us that not only does she spend her every day literally sweeping the sand away from the door of her house, but that's all she can remember anybody ever having done. Her mother did that, her mother's mother who also lived there did that. This is her way of life. Getting up in the morning and trying to shovel the Sahara away.

2:00:06 AC-Carolyn had talked to you earlier and you said something about that this is the first time that you've been to the desert and there are some ideas that are occurring to you so I wanted to just ask you about them.

2:00:19 IM-Um, ya, one of the things that I have discussed with Carolyn, I asked why is it that all the prophets of God were sent into the desert? That whenever a prophet is being prepared to be ready for his mission, his message, God will ask him to go into the desert at least for 40 days. And what I know from the little bit from what I have been studying is that scientifically science has explained that after 40 days the behavior can be changed. So, and by then when going into the desert one also realizes as we look out here, Alex, how much small we are in front of the immense power of the universe.

AC-Have you ever been here before?

2:01:34 IM-This is actually my first time to go this deep.

AC-Into the desert?

2:01:38 IM-Into the desert. Although I am a Tuareg, I am a Tomashek, this is my first time to venture this deep into the Sahara desert. And as I am going deeper and deeper into the Sahara my heart is opening and I am connecting with my true being, with my true self. A sense of peace, a sense of realizing this is too great to be created by hazard, that there is an intelligence behind all this. I just left California, the Pacific Ocean, Venice Beach, beautiful. You see these waves are crashing and calming our inner selves and now just three or five days later I find myself in this immense, in this vast ocean. I mean I practically had the feeling that I was sitting in the airplane, you know how you are sitting in an airplane and you go so far away from the clouds that you just have this horizon¿

AC-And that's what it is?


AC-That's what it looks like here, it does look like that.

2:02:57 IM-Exactly. So that I feel that by being here I am truly connected with the rest of the universe, you see?

2:04:21-FX. Car starting.

2:04:31-FX. Truck door slam.

2:04:36-FX. Starting the car.

2:04:40-Ambi. Car motor.

2:05:42-FX. Honk.

2:06:14-FX. Loud engine revving, driving off.

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