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My dad has been wanting to figure on my blog for a while, so for today’s MyWorld post, I thought I would share one of our favourite rides featuring another favourite elements of ours: camels!

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My dad loves to ride amongst boulders, and behind the airfield is a large stone-clad area. On one of our last rides here, we met a small camel caravan and seeing that Niger is such a hospital country, we rode up to them and greeted them.

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Camels – or dromedaries if you like – are fascinating creatures and I love how they sway as they move.

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They are also very photogenic!

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The riders were very friendly, and had questions about our horses.

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I in return had questions about where they were heading and how old their camels were.

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The young ones are especially fascinating, but the brown yearling was weary of the horses and tried its best to stay behind his mother.

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Arwen, my faithful barb horse is never one to refuse a mission, but she did not want to get too close to these swaying giants.

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I date her reluctance towards camels back to 2006, when two nomads galloped their huge camel bulls right past us. Caught between the main road and nearby houses, Arwen nearly spooked. Feeling the thunder of their hooves, I am not surprised she was terrified, and although she is fine with “walking camels”, I can understand her caution.

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In general, however, camels are as gentle as the Nigerien zebu cows, and having walked with the camel herd for a while, Arwen began to relax.

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I’m glad she did, because I was keen on photoshooting, and the nomads were keen on me taking pictures.

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Although not everybody will want to have their picture taken, many people in Niger do – especially if you have a genuine interest in what they are doing and they find you a sympathetic person. It is best always best to initiate contact first and take pictures later. Small talk in Niger is the key to friendships and as soon as you have enough language skills to take you through to basics, you will make friends with most people you meet.

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The fun part is when everybody starts calling for your attention,

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…wanting to show off their own animals instead of the one you were focusing on before.

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This camel youth was tricolored, but seeing he had to be ponied rather than walking lose, it seems likely to have been a new purchase from the Zinder market rather than the offspring of the camel next to it.

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Finally, it was time for my dad and I to resume our ride,

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…and we bid the beautiful caravan farewell.

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These are the times when you say “Sey watarana!” as you part. Literally translated, it means “See you another moon!” but in this part of the world, the moon serves to show the coming and going on every month. It is the most indefinitve of all parting greetings, which range from “Sey anjima” (See you in a moment), “Sey gobe” (See you tomorrow) or “Sey kwana biyu” (See you in “two days” – African time), but the general message remains the same: “Until we meet again!”

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