THE TRADITIONAL ENERGY DRINK: In this photo, Ahoudan is sorting dates for his wife, Alhoubada. She has asked him to choose the nicest dates from his son’s garden, so that she may prepare the traditional “boule” for our upcoming travels. Touareg boule, also known as “houra”, is different than boule found in other parts of Niger. For instance, in the hausa region, this customary energy drink is made with millet and curdled milk. In the Ayr, boule is made with pounded millet, crushed dates, and goat cheese. The traveler transports this preperation as a ball, and cuts off portions for the various meals of the day, to which he or she adds water. Boule was always my favorite when I grew up in the Ayr, and I remember nagging my mother’s friend, Bachi, so that she would make some for me and my friends. Bachi’s boule was known as the best in all the region, given that she proportioned the dates, goat cheese, and millet just right, and took great care that no sand would enter the mixture.
p.s. For days I watched Ahoudan with this sticker on his glasses, until I finally took pitty and suggested he might see better without the sticker. He was very grateful when he realized he could take it off. He has such a great sense of humor that he laughed and laughed, and stuck the sticker on his forehead.