After days of dithering in Niamey with appointments and false starts we headed to Agadez with the information that a military escort was no longer necessary. This from the authorities in Niamey and the governor of Agadez. Apparently the governor of Taouha (about 2/3 of the way) had not gotten this news and at the control post leaving Taouha we were turned back to get permission from the governor. After two hours of running around and negotiations and political bowing and scraping we prevailed and we allowed to continue. It is actually reassuring that they are taking every precaution that there will be no more incidents to shut down the country. So we are very careful to inform everyone who should know where we are and when necessary take guards and escorts. So we headed, with some relief to Amateltel where on the way to Agadez we stopped to see our Wodaabe friends at a Gerewol. We arrived at sunset when the dances were in full swing. I felt like I had stepped back to my first visits to experience this miracle.
The setting sun, the feathers waving in the fading light, the hypnotic chanting and clapping and stomping of the men at the Ruume dance with the women standing to the side observing everything carefully. I was, as I had been for many years, the only outsider there and knew all of the leaders and many of the participants. They are—in another aspect of their lives our students of solar energy.
This contrast is so phenomenal–these young men doing a traditional dance which we in the west think of as one of the most authentic tribal expressions still existing today are also capable of understanding and making the most technologically advanced solar panel–but it does not stop them from dancing.