People and Landscapes of The Sahel

woman_walkingWith the start of French military operations in Mali and likely follow-on operations by African nations, I hope these photos give a sense of what the Sahel looks like.  These pictures are from Chad and Sudan – not neighbours to Mali as Niger lies in between, but they are also part of the Sahel.

The Sahel is mostly savannah and desert and it is often desolate.  The dominant colour is sand.  Women living in the area wear brightly coloured clothing which covers them from head to toe, which is not surprising given the heat and brightness of the light.  The area is lonely, dry and surprisingly beautiful.

At first glance, it often appears to be empty, but a second look will show people living in what appears to be an inhospitable environment. The desert conveys (to me, at least) a sense of peace and tranquility, but I suppose you only feel that when you have sufficient food and water.

The overwhelming impressions are of silence, a horizon that lies far, far away and a dessicating heat the sucks the moisture from you.  And, then surprisingly, where ever you go and no matter how far from human habitation, you can always find a plastic bag stuck on a tree, or caught on a rock.  The photos were taken on a Ricoh GX 200.