The second post in a series I initially wrote while living and working in the West African nation of Niger in 2005/6.
Christmas in the Sahara
Niamey just before Christmas was, in its own way, not very Christmassy. It is very hard to get excited about trees draped with shiny plastic and fat men in red suits when perched on the edge of the biggest sandpit in the world (though then again the Aussies seem to manage it okay I suppose…) And yet it did have its own charm. The fairy lights strung up on the Total gas station glowed Bonne Annee 2006 in mishapen curves, and in the smokey, dust-filled air, car headlights and streetlamps cast an ethereal glow, like a cold winter’s fog in south-east England. If you stand still and concentrate hard, it almost feels atmospheric, and for a brief moment, you get a little nostalgic. Then you realise that it’s getting hard to breath, and it’s still 30 degrees at 8pm, and the muzzazin starts yelling his call to prayer down a nearby microphone, and Christmas flees.
We went to Agadez, because really there was nothing else to do over Christmas in Niger.