Yesterday evening we went to Libraria Baïbars to catch the opening of Moussa ag Assarid’s photo exhibit of the children of the Sahara. As I explained before, Moussa is a Touareg, a nomad Berber tribe that roams the Sahara desert. Possessed of a keen curiosity about the world around him, Moussa went to school and eventually won a scholarship to study in France. He has since written a book about his experiences in France, and has dedicated himself to raising awareness to the plight of the nomadic peoples of the desert, promoting Touareg culture, and raising support for a school for Touareg children. The stop in Barcelona was part of his Caravan of the Heart, a journey towards his home country going from Paris to Tombouctu, crossing five countries.
The place was packed as everybody waited for the members of the caravan to arrive.
Moussa gave a little talk about his book, answered questions and then signed books. The book-signing wasn’t planned, someone asked and he graciously accepted. I lined up with the rest and watched as he signed the books – he actually took the time to write a different message on each book he signed! He was very kind and I exchanged a few words with him when my turn came. I told him I would bring his words to Canada and he immediately sounded interested “vous habitez là-bas?” he asked. I said I did and he asked where. Toronto & before that Montreal. I’m originally from Brazil. He smiled and said “vous êtes partout le monde.” I said yes, I’m a citizen of the world. He asked what I did and I answered I study history. “Ça, c’est très important”. I smiled, he finished signing my book, and we shook hands. It was a really nice moment. Meeting people like Moussa and having a chance to exchange a few words is good for the soul.
Here’s what he wrote:
Moussa in the news here (in Catalan)