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..a night in Sahara ☆

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

"This is a magical ✨ night for you, isn't it?" Moha, the nomad man asks me.

"Yes, it is, and for you?"

"It is a really, really wonderful night. You know, for me, it's also extraordinary."

"Why? You see these stars quite often, don't you?" I want to know

"No, tonight the sky is apparent - we can see shooting stars 🤩 and you know it's not happening often that someone is there like you," the nomad replies.

"You mean like a solo female traveler?" I laughed.

"Well, there were other people who travel alone, but normally they don't connect like you do."

Moha is 26 years old. "I'm a nomad. I've grown up in the desert. My family lives 100 km away from here." he explains.

Moha is the guy on the right with the white turban

"Miriam, do you play an instrument?"

"No, actually, I don't."

"You want to learn some instrument?"

"Yes, why not (..) the drums."

"Come, I can show you."

We were sitting next to each other on the carpet, and in front of us was the fireplace. Moha clapped on the drums three times.

He clapped: Right, right, and left. Right, right, and left.

I watched how he did it.

I started to clap with him on the drums. I tried to follow his rhythm.

"You will not learn it directly. Every day, try it again; you will improve for sure," he says.

"My parents are 100 km away from here. They are taking care of the animals. We do have sheeps." Moha explains to me.

"Where do your parents live, in a village or city?" He wants to know from me

"They do live in a small village in Germany. The village contains only 50 habitants. There are many farmers in the area. In the summer, it's super green, and now it's grey and cold. Sometimes we do have snow."

"What are you doing in Germany?"

"I stopped working, and I'm currently traveling the world. I always wanted to do it. I worked and saved money for it. I started in morocco, and I will go to Guatemala in a few days, it was always my dream."

"Oh wow, do you also work in the countries?"

"Yes (..) in morocco, i volunteered and I also want to work in web design ( it's just not that easy), but I am on my way to figuring it out"

"What about you? What do you want to do in the future?"

"I want to take care of my family, and I want to travel to different places. But (..) you know it's not so easy for me to get a visa and to travel to other countries. It's really complicated. But I'm saving money, and I will"

"What did you work in Germany?" He wants to know.

"After my A Levels, I didn't study, but I did a Hotelmanagement school, I worked in hotels but also in a travel agency, and the last year I worked in web design in München"

"Oh wow"

"What about you? Did you go to school?"

"No, I was born and grew up in the Sahara. There is only desert, I was together with my parents taking care of our animals."

His English is impressive. I'm emotionally touched by his story.

"..but you know we sometimes went to a market (..) on the market. I saw guitars, and as we went back into the desert I dreamed of guitars. I love the music (..) So I told my father he should buy me a guitar (..)

One day he came to me with a piece of wood and 3 stripes of a bicycle, and a sardine can. Only with this materials, he made me a guitar."

"I was playing on this guitar so often, and once I was sitting in the desert, I met some foreigners. They also had some guitars, and they saw me with my guitar. They wanted me to join; it was amazing"

Sitting in the sand dunes. Above us, a million stars. It is incredible to hear Moha's story.

Just incredible - when do you ever have the opportunity to speak to a nomad?

I'm feeling so thankful for this moment. I realize how many opportunities I had in my life compared to mohas live.

He is so interested in my life and story. It's so lovely to have this deep conversation.

Imagining how it must be for him to grow up as a nomad living in the desert. Walking to the market or oasis. Only seeing sand dunes.

It's a life I can barely imagine living.

Time passed, and the other tourists around us started to leave the fireplace.

"How did you actually become so good at English?" I wanted to know.

"Well, I love to speak in different languages. You know I do speak the Berber language, and I learned English, Spanish, and French by myself. I watched movies in English and listened to songs. That's how I learned the languages. I like to meet foreigners so to constantly improve.I love reading as well"

"Wow, Moha, you can be so proud of yourself! It's impressive what you have already achieved in your life." while saying this: I can see his eyes sparkling.

"But how do you watch movies in the desert? Do you have a laptop?"

"No, just on my phone." Moha responds.

Looking at the fireplace, I felt pretty cold; my feet were numb. I had a lot of sand in my shoes. I started to remove the sand.

"How is it for you, have you sisters and brothers?" I can't stop asking him about his life. It's just so different.

"Yeah, I do have 5 sisters and 3 brothers," he replies.

"Oh Jesus," 😂 I'm laughing. "How was that for your mother?" I'm just laughing while asking.

"Don't know, there was not so much to do" 🤣

"Nowadays, we have ID cards, but, a few years ago, we didn't. We were gypsies moving around Morocco, Algeria (..) and other territories."

I am always in the mood for a joke, so I ask him with a smile: "You know the song from Shakira: Gypsy?"

"Yes, of course, I do," he smiled back.

What impresses me the most about this conversation is understanding: How lives that seem so different, can be so similar. Just in the remotest places on earth - people do have access to the internet, and they do watch the same movies. They listen to the same music.

I never watched a movie on the phone. It's just not comfortable to do so. But in his perspective, it's a huge opportunity it's kind of a "door into the world".

It's so interesting to meet him. A Nomad man of the same age then I am.

He also took chances in life. He started to learn different languages so to create a different life in the future. His parents don't force him to marry or live as a nomad as they still do. Once his mother asked him to marry at the age of 22. He replied that he did not want to marry at this age. It was fine for them. "My parents had an arranged marriage, but it's not good - I don't want to marry a woman I don't know. This would be really difficult."

Before we left the fireplace, he told me, "Miriam, I really like you. You are open and modest. Tomorrow, I will give you a present before you leave."

The following day we sat on the camels and made our way back to Merzouga. As I stepped off the camel, he gave me an amulet with a star to remind me of the night in the Sahara desert. Moha made me wonder about life.

I gave him my phone number. Hopefully, he will text me someday, so I can share this blog post with him - letting him know that his story has been seen.


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