Raymond comes for another visit and, as usual, loaded down with suitcases full of gifts. As he pulls items from the cases and checks the list his wife has given him, we see that she hasn’t left anyone out.
Hand woven baskets for the moms, snake and iguana skin wallets (that I know from experience will never wear out), beaded bracelets for the girls, and handcrafted artifacts for the men and boys.
Raymond cross checks the items with the list. “Non, ce ne sont pas pour vous.”
“What is it?” I ask.
“Je ne sais pas.”
“But, Raymond.” I can’t resist teasing him. “You’re Malian, don’t you know what this is?”
He shakes his head and refers to his wife’s list.”
“C’est un piguet de tente.”
Light bulbs flash. A tent peg which can only be from the Tuareg of the Sahara.
What a unique gift. One we will always treasure.
What a sad gift.
Well, the fact that the Tuareg are selling basic items of their life tells us something of the dire straits they are in.