My partner had done a sponsored walk to raise funds for a Children’s charity. The walk was in the Sahara desert, one of the harshest environments in the world, a vast sandy, rocky barren wilderness with little or no rain.
In parts of the desert there is a nothingness which is difficult to describe, a stillness, a silence which is eerie, no birds, no wind, no clouds, no trees, no plant life and no wild life, there is no water to sustain life, nothing but rocks and sand.
Unless you come across an oasis which are few and far between, then you need your wits about you because here there is life and some of it has a nasty bite, here somewhere but hidden is water an illusion. You can’t see it or hear it flow but it’s somewhere deep down in the ground, water, giving life to a tiny spot in a great vast emptiness.
In the heat of the day the walkers would stop, a tent would be erected to give them some shade from the fierce sun, each walker was required to drink between 6 and 8, 2 litre bottles of water a day, water which would be hot enough to make tea with.
One day under the shade of the tent, my partner fell asleep when he woke up there were 5 young children sitting in the full blast of the sun, just outside the tent, just sat there on the scorching sands, just watching, no one knew where they came from or how long they had been there as everyone had being dozing.
Where had they come from? There was nothing anywhere for as far as the eye could see and it can see a long way where there is noting but emptiness.
They just appeared as if by magic, they neither spoke nor responded to gestures just sat watching, still, silent like the desert. The kids ranging from around 4 to maybe 12, 2 girls, 3 boys, dressed, one in a tee shirt the others woolly jumpers and all in long trousers the girls having their heads covered, the clothes were grubby like them, they looked in need of a good bath but I guess when water is so scarce thats the last thing it would be used for, otherwise they looked in good health.
My partner approached them with a bottle of water and handed it to the youngest kid who drank and drank almost finishing the bottle in one go, unbelievable, more water was passed around and the kids drank as the young one had, nearly finishing the bottle in one go.
It was a very poignant moment, unimaginable, in that they had appeared from nowhere, the guides said they would be from a nearby settlement and be careful they don't steal anything.
Steal, steal, what were these poor kids going to steal, all they were interested in was water to drink.
Gesso and Oil