The Berber Shepherd

Mis à jour : il y a 6 jours

July 2004 - Joanie was 17 years old and she came to join me in Tunisia. By train, collective taxi and on foot, we explored the hinterland. In the village of Matmata in Tunisia, where in "Star Wars" Luke Skywalker met Han Solo, Joanie and I were sitting on a terrace. We had to go to Tataouine (Star Wars again!). In front of us, two roads. A logical and easy one, those of tourists, but which required a return to the sea and the other one, unknown and difficult through the mountains.

- Dad, I'd rather we try to get to the little mountain road. It must be very beautiful. Do you think we can do this on foot?

The prospect of following this route was calling us. We bought a loaf of bread, refilled our water supply, and off we went.

About ten kilometers later, a man stopped to pick us up and take us to a small hamlet clinging to the mountainside, halfway along our route. The dwellings were all made of stone and several seemed abandoned. But we found one with rooms carved out of the mountain, where we stayed for a few days.

While walking between the walls and the houses, often in ruins, of the thousand-year-old village, we met a shepherd who was following his goats. Dressed in a red woolen sweater under a jacket despite the heat, he wore a small white cap on his head. As we approached him, he looked suspicious. But when we sat down next to him and offered him some water, while looking out over the valley, he agreed and smiled. We exchanged smiles because I don't speak Berber, so we were silent, each sitting on our rock watching the sun slowly descend towards the horizon.


Adhering to the "code of responsible adventure", I do not geolocate with precision the places I explore, except in a few rare exceptions such as my trips to the Arctic or during a relevant historical reference.


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