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In the era of information and immediacy, we can obtain anything just in an instant, but perhaps, when compared to other realities around us, the modern way of life is more stimulating than it is nutritious. There are those who still keep a lifestyle that has remained the same since immemorial times due to the belief that their life, although much harder, is a continuous effort for freedom and personal development. These are the Tuaregs and the Berber nomads of the desert .
From past times until today, the daily life of the nomads is characterized by ancestral customs linked to the various stages of life in the Sahara. These include the personal evolution from birth to old age, holidays and religious ceremonies including those referring to the holy month of Ramadan. Despite the scarcity that prevails in the Saharan regions, the nomads continue to be characterized by their hospitality and sense of family and solidarity. They also have an innate sense of respect for their pets and livestock.
In the southern provinces of the Kingdom, nomads continue to live their lives in the traditional way, and all that concerns their daily life remains authentic and unparalleled.
Most nomads today live from their livestock. They spend some time in a place that meets the needs of their flock with regard to water and grazing, and they live on tents that they carry with them when changing places. The tents , made up of a wooden truss covered with fabrics of different nature, such as wool and cloth, that allow to shelter and protect from wind and sand, while providing the necessary mobility for the continuous search of water and pastures.
Each camp has several tents. There is usually a larger one as a common bedroom and a simpler one as a living room. Sometimes they build a small adobe building, for the kitchen and pantry.
In the small world of these people, the tent is considered the first social unit within the nomadic society. It is not only a spatial unit that is used for housing, but also reflects a set of relationships between members of the same family. Some Nomads say they would prefer to live under a tent than under the roof of a house, because it gives them a wider margin of action and allows them to be closer to their family.
In terms of clothing, the men and women in this society continue to wear specific garments in the Sahara region.
The men cover their faces with the turban, the woman, instead, only the hair. It is said that men do it for fear of inhaling evil spirits by mouth.
The Tuaregs are often known by the nickname of “blue men”, while the Berbers are not associated with a specific color, although, contrary to most Arabic societies, their clothes are remarkably colorful. Many turbans are blue since use a natural dye is used, the indigo, which inks the skin.
Like urban women, nomadic women also have their share of embellishment, using henna, to dye the hair or to beautify the fingers and nails. Thereafter, they decorate the body with silver coins and precious stones that they inherited from their mothers.
An important part of their culture is the amulets. The most important ones are in the form of crosses, which represent compasses and are passed from father to son. In that fraternal moment, this phrase is usually said: “Here I give you the four cardinal points to guide you in life, because we never know where we are going to die . “
In terms of food, these nomads have their own culinary art, which offers delicious and natural traditional dishes. Among the most consumed daily by these people, there is Marou & Lham (rice with meat). This dish is easy to prepare and nutritious at a time: A substantial quantity of meat, preferably camel meat, is placed in a special pot with a little table oil and seasoned with one or two pinches of salt to raise the taste.
But as important as it is to feed the stomach, it is also important to cherish the mind and soul. The short free time that a life in continuous alert grants is filled with conversations around a tea, group activities related to oratory or music and education, either received from another Tuareg or going to small classes scattered throughout the territory.
Most nomads follow the Muslim religion in a very personal way, because they do it without renouncing what culturally identified them, such as the belief in different spirits or the manifestations of nature as a direct proof of the divine will, considering the desert almost like an entity.
“It is necessary for a town to disappear so that we know it existed.”
The Tuaregs and other Berber nomads that survive today do so in multiple ways. Those who preserve the nomad way of life still live in camps with their families. There are those who opt for semi-nomadism, alternating coexistence with their nomadic community and stays in urban centers.
The most common is that the young, either on their own initiative or on the advice of their parents, put their education to good use, leave the camp and get specialized work.
Although eventually many paths make physical disconnection inevitable, the nomads are people with a strong sense of family, forged by sharing the harsh conditions to which the desert subjects them.
Everyone, including babies, wakes up with the first rays of the sun. The moment when the day begins is widely cherished. The light at that moment is extraordinary, one can see all the colors of the world and hear the birds.
They drink the tea for one or two hours and explain what they have dreamed and how they prepare the day. In the desert everyone knows what they have to do.
Young children take care of the small animals while the mothers watch them and talk to them about Abaraï Baraï, an animal of legend that prevents children from dispersing and moving away. While the father will tell his son when he is about 8 years old that Abaraï Baraï does not exist, his mother will be telling him that Abaraï Baraï has gone to heaven and now he has to respect heaven. It is around that age that the dad teaches the child to orient himself with the stars, the wind, the dunes …
The men go to look for water and the women fix the tents and prepare the food.
Towards 15:00 when the animals have already drunk and the family has water, everybody eats and from 16:00 to 18:00, another magical moment begins. The tea is taken, the light is contemplated, nothing is spoken, and one only listens to the bru, bru, bru of the tea.
The animals are collected around the store, the milk is extracted from the goats or sheep and the grandparents stay with the children and start telling stories.
The night advances and the voice of the grandfather or the grandmother is heard in the background and everyone goes to sleep because they get up with the sun.
“Here you have clock, there we have time. “
“There, every little thing brings happiness. Each touch is valuable. We feel an enormous joy for the simple fact of touching, of being together! There nobody dreams of becoming, because everyone is already…”
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