USA March 2005


Enclosed is not a gift. It does not acknowledge the friendship that I feel in my heart toward a man who opened his world to me, a mere wanderer. It is a friendship, a closeness that grows when a person shows his thoughts and concerns and is open to the mind of his friends. No material gift can appreciate the joining of hearts through the communication of ideas.

This is not a gift. It does not acknowledge my appreciation of you leadership. It cannot honor you for a heritage handed to you through centuries maybe millennium of Tuareg, an inheritance that you bear so well. It does not express an admiration of you for your ability with words or the insights that you have provided. I cannot honor you for your strengths as a Tuareg while walking with the best of leaders in the many worlds in which you travel. Such gifts must come from those that are worthy of the giving.

This is merely a token from an old traveller, a traveller on a small quest of knowledge through direct experience. A token from a traveller who lacks the skill required for such a quest. This is a token from a learner who for a few days benefited from your friendship and leadership. This is a token from a minute flicker in you life who came to Timbuktu, and for a few days did not say "where will I lay my head" or "what will I eat" This is a token from a first-timer in Africa who benefited from your presence, who enjoyed your friends, and who felt the warmth of the children that grace your household.