desert love: celebrating a wedding – sahara

they met each other in the desert close to merzouga. the young berber called midi asked her if she wants to join the wedding of his sister. she said yes. he brought her to his family in a small village somewhere in the desert. it was springtime and the desert not just dry and dusty. there were flowers in red, yellow and purple. there was grass and the few trees were green. they arrived the village in the evening shortly before dusk. he parked the car infront of a house where all the females and children of the village were gathered. it was the house of his family and inside was his sister, the bride, and all the women were celebrating the first night of the wedding far from the bride´s groom. she was shy but her companion pushed her into the room where all they were sitting on the floor, except the young bride who was sitting on a podest between a lot of colourful pillows. to her feet sat a younger girl and painted with henna the hands of the bride with fine floralen patterns. please take seat, he said to her, soon i will be back. he talked to some of the women on the floor, who took her hand and pull her down to themselves to sit together. they made little space for her, were laughing at her. they were young and old, had babies in their arms and climbing all around. some of the old women wore tattoos in their faces, tattoos on their arms. she was observing them, and they were observing her. women were looking for a way between all the people, offering hot, black, sweet tea and sweets to all the people. music were coming out of the boxes. loud and fast. she took a glas of the shay and a piece of the sweets, happy to have something to hold on. after a while of observing and getting observed her friend came back and guided her to his sister on the throne of the pillows. please take seat here, and a girl also will colour your handy with henna. and a lot of young girls and women came to her, to watch her, to talk to her in very fast in french, in arabic, in berber language. from where she is, how she feels, what´s her name. she has such beautiful blue eyes, blond hair and white skin. nobody is beautiful as the bride, she answered. nobody but you. they laughed. the girls were coming and going, one was painting her hands, her friend came and went and with him always an other sister or his mother. the night was long, she became tired of all the people, the sounds, the eyes. midi brought her outside to the darkness of the night somewhere in the desert, brought her some food, brought them a bit more far from the village, from the people. he prepared with some blankets two beds on the flat and hard ground where their were laing down and fell into sleep.

the next day was the first offical day of the wedding. already in the morning time the house was ful of people and preparations. in the kitchen women were washing the dishes, cleaning the vegetable, cutting the meat. people were eating breakfast, drinking shay.  in a room in the back was the dressingroom for the bride, which was ful of young women, giggeling, make-up, plastic jewellery and dresses. the strange girl was accepted as one of them and was pushed in into the room. the bride was getting prepared for the day with make up and a dress which was in strong colours and a lot of glitter. she got one of the dresses of the bride, got make up and jewellery like her and the invitation to dance with all of them. from the beginning there was loud music, women were dancing.  do it like us. do it like us. but she couldn´t move, couldn´t make the same gestures like this incredible women which were shaking their hips so fast without moving their torso, which tiptoed with their feets in small and precise steps and which were making sounds high and clear, moving their tongues fast, which were clapping with their hands, which were whistling and yelling. don´t stop. don´t stop. always when she wanted to make a break ond of the girls came and brought her back to the dancing and celebrating group of happy women.





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