Three Cups of Tea in Niger

The nomads in Niger say that tea is the “friend of conversation.” I watched  how the rhythms of the day are marked by  the tea service. Tea finishes off every meal and signals the time for the afternoon nap. The last cup marks the end of the day.

They  say that wan-iyen – the first round – is bitter, like life. The sharp taste of the Chinese green tea  not yet diluted by pots of water. Wan-ashin, the second round, is sweet, like love; sugar is  added and the tea has lost some of its strength. Wan-karad, the third round, is light, like the “breath of death.” This one is little more than sugary water.

None of the  activities required to live in the desert, such as pounding millet or pulling water from a deep well or the  preparation of tea looked  easy and I could see one needed strength, patience and grace.Niger_Red-4-700 Niger_Red-268-704 Niger_red3-1407-703

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