TAKAT: Takat and her group of little girl friends were my shadows during the month that I lived with their nomadic community. They walked with me to neighboring camps as I conducted my Fulbright research, took me to visit marshes and wells, taught me traditional games and words of Tamachek, and ate illiwa by my side.
Takat was particularly quick at learning words in French, and we had fun exchanging in our mutually limited vocabulary. I have never again seen Takat; after my first trip to the Azawak, she and her mother Zeinabou moved to Libya to be with Takat’s father. Many men from the Azawak travel to Libya to seek financial opportunity. Since the death of Muammar Gaddafi and the outbreak of civil war, these opportunities have become more limited, and Touareg immigrants have slowly begun returning home to Niger.