Rice and Goat and Milk
The village of Gargando is at the edge of the Sahara desert. I brought a gift of three large cans of mixed vegetables, the awful ones with little cubes of carrots and peas. There are not vegetables in the Tuaregs' diet. Vegetables don't grow there. Most meals are rice, goat meat, butter, and milk. There's no way this can be healthy.
Men eat together. And women eat after. I ate with the men. Here we're eating in the dark (note the flashlight). Dinner is usually rice on a large round platter with goat meat. Everyone eats, usually with their hands, but I got a spoon, from the platter or bowls or whatever is there. You eat what's directly in front of you, so it's easy to see how much anyone's eaten by the hole they've left. I usually pushed some food around so it looked like I'd eaten. Goat, well, it's hard for me to choke even a little down.
I was writing a report at work today about this trip and thinking what an odd experience it is to be with turbaned Tuaregs, to sleep outside on a sand dune under a mosquito net, and to be in this place that is so foreign and yet so intriguing.