The Tamesna Festival, held annually since 2013, is dedicated to young nomads: culture, peace and security. The most vulnerable population in northern Niger are the young people who are heading into an adult life with few possibilities for earning a living. They love their home and rarely want to leave, given the risks: crossing the largest and harshest desert in the world to arrive in countries in chaos like Libya and Nigeria, who have more wealth due to their oil production, but are lawless. The activities open to them usually involve their knowledge of the desert. This is attractive to drug and human traffickers and terrorists. These young people, if they have no other opportunity are the greatest risk to the stability of the country. They are also its greatest potential asset. That is why we want to attract their attention and encourage them to stay home. The nomadic festivals are the only opportunity during the year when nomads can regroup and problems can be addressed and at the same time celebrate their rich culture. This year the festival was a little smaller than last because our festival organizer was unexpectedly called to be mayor of Ingall. This took too much of Sidi’s time and left not enough to organize the camels and some of the other cultural spectacles. But the word was out to the youth to bring in their organizations to talk about and address their problems.
Nomadic hospitality is legend. Guests are king and the maximum effort must be made to make them comfortable.