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Desert Boy
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tuareg-map.jpg
ylw-text.gif The Spirit of West Africa Sahara Desert

Living in the harsh desert environment requires an adaptability that far exceeds what most of us in the West are accustomed to. With temperatures that often exceed 110 degrees, the heat alone breaks the spirit of many a tourist who find they lose the battle in their fight against the elements. But, add other conditions, such as malaria and other diseases, or the lack of adequate food and water, and one can better appreciate the physical and emotional resiliency necessary for those who live here. This resilient spirit not only allows the people to better deal with the dangers of the unapologetic forces of nature, but has also taught them to accept nature - not reject it - so they can then sift through all it has to offer, and find only that which is necessary for survival.

In understanding how West Africans deal with outsiders' attempts at "assistance", we can see the same resilient spirit is at work: regardless of how the outside world (economic, social, or political) may impose itself upon West Africa, the people seem to accept the undeniable presence of foreign impositions, discard what they don't like, and use the rest to their advantage.

However, while such survival techniques have given them the ability to maintain their cultural and traditional heritage in the face of outside influences, this same aptitude has also worked against them. Today, they are subject to the more threatening perils of modern day problems, such as AIDS, oppressive totalitarian military regimes, and inability to adapt to the emerging global economy because of lack of education. Unlike the desert, this kind of heat can't be resisted, and facing these issues will be West Africans' greatest challenge.

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Country-Primary Location Name: Africa
Credit: Dan Heller
Object Name: tuareg-map.jpg
By-line: Dan Heller
Copyright Notice: Photo (c) www.danheller.com
Keywords: map, tuareg, montage, africa
Location: Mali
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Keywords: map, tuareg, montage, horizontal, africa