I have been shopping in Agadez today. The sad boutiques are still open but there are no customers. I visited each one and tried to spend a little money at each. They were so surprised and appreciative to have a customer. They all know me and there was no pressure–they wanted my money to last so that everyone could earn a little something. The jewelers from Iferouane have come to my house in Agadez. Their he terrible stories are emerging, of their ordeals during this time that their beautiful, prosperous little town has been a war zone. The entire population left the town quickly with nothing but their children. The town was surrounded by mines and military action. After two years gone they have started to return…to find nothing left. Their houses are empty–even doors and windows taken. Their animals have all been killed. Their pumps in gardens have been taken. Wells collapsed. They have nothing. I guess we had better buy them some goats and some pumps. They are very industrious. I’ll probably be asking you before you know it.
Below–Iferouane before the war–happy children at school and busy women making a big order from the Nomad Foundation. Now they don’t even have any leather to work with.
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