Traveling the Sahel with Jeffrey Tayler

Jeffrey Tayler wrote a compelling book I am now reading called Angry Wind: Through Muslim Black Africa by Truck, Bus, Boat and Camel. I have waited months to read this, I devoured his other book about a trip down the Congo river, and I finally found this at my son’s apartment. I had lent it to him but he didn’t mind me taking it back.

The author speaks Arabic, and is an American…this makes the people in Africa’s Sahel region (south of Algeria, in the belt just south of the Sahara) look at him strangely. He befriends a tall muslim taxi driver named Mahamat, who wears the white caftan and headgear of the region and has an imperious mein. Taylor describes trying to get a permit to travel to the treacherous north of Chad. A family friend chastises a loafing bureaucrat who doesn’t want to help them.

“No sooner had his footsteps pattered back up the stairs when Mai set aside the letter, took out his whiteout, and began splotching and huffing on another document. He wobbled his head. “Yours is not the only request I have to deal with,” he said in a piqued tenor. An hour later, after endless sniffles and huffs, Mai finished my letter.”