Several of our assignments in Niger has been to interview people in the community about their cultural practices and beliefs. It isn’t always easy broaching sensitive topics such as death and funerals but it is important for us to learn about how those subjects are perceived here.
My colleague Chris and I found a Tuareg family living as squatters on an empty lot in the city that was very hospitable to us and happy to have hours of conversations. Much of that time was spent with a little blue kettle simmering arabic tea on hot coals. It’s great how their invitation to “have some tea” means “comes in, sit and chat for about two hours.”
When our time with the family was up, my blood was pumped full of sugar and caffeine and my mind full of newly acquired knowledge about Tuareg traditional weddings, funerals, and coming of age rites.