...and two soon grew to five...are just munching away at Corine's puppies' food. They became horrible thieves and the other members of the expedition were always screaming expletives about my puppies wreaking havoc in, on, or around their tents. I found it quite funny that they were so resourceful (but of course I was embarassed when they peed or did other not so nice things in the others' tents). Each of us of course brought food for puppies...but I had not intended to take five...plus my dear friend Marya had four! to care for....so we ran out of food quite early. Luckily Boubakkar our cook (really he was a chef) would keep the leftovers after each dinner and give them to me and Marya for our poor little kibble-less hanshee kinai. Al hamdullilah! The Tamasheq do not like puppies or dogs anywhere near a cooking fire...fire is sacred to the Tamasheq...but by the end of the expedition little Tamgak was treated with tenderness, acceptance and admiration by Boubakkar and the crew. He was the most 'rustic' of all the puppies brought back (a total of twenty: nine to the states and eleven to Europe)...but he found a special place in the hearts of the Tamasheq crew. Behind Tamgak in the photograph is little Aisinda. More about Aisinda later...Insh'Allah.
to describe what being in Africa meant to me. All my life I have felt like an alien in this culture that I was born into. When I went to Africa I had the feeling that I was going home. I was completly comfortable...a feeling i have never experienced here in America or in any other "western" culture. Maybe part of it was the fact that I was in a Muslim culture...to stop and pray five times a day was just normal whereas here in America somehow it feels disingenuine. Part of it was the people themselves...most of them thought I was a rich Arab...since I have light skin ([light skinned people are called anasara and black are called borobi]and all they could see was the skin of my hands since I was at most times except in our ABIS encampment wearing a boubou and covered by a tagilmoust with sunglasses covering my eyes.) I had been gifted a very beautiful and expensive sword called an iziguiz...and this added to the impression that I had money (which I didn't!). Part of it is the similarity of Sahelian etiquette to the etiquette of my Georgian culture. People in both cultures are above all else polite. They may never tell you the truth...but they are polite! For example the first thing you ask someone when you see them (assuming it is in the morning) is "how did you sleep?" and the response is bansame, al hamdullilah (very well, thanks to God) and they ask you the same question. Then you ask "and how is your family?" and they respond bansame, al hamdullilah, and ask you the same. Then you ask "and how are your children?" and they respond bansame, al hamdullilah, and ask you the same....and it goes on and on and on...the ritual greetings and questions.....very Sahelian and very Georgia. I will add more later...got to go to town...Insh'Allah...photo is of me heading to the souk (arabic for market) at the time of salat az-zhukr (afternoon prayer).
...to find a photo/photos of Youf Akim, the haanshee k'nai (Djerma for Azawakh puppy) brought back by Gerhard Hans to Germany from the 2007 ABIS expedition. The first is of him napping on some plastic matting and the second is of him after he had climbed to the top of the great dune behind Menaka in Mali. I'm not sure who took these photos or I would credit them...hey guys, if these are your photos tell me!
...from the holy Qur'an. I am not a religious person (I drink alcohol and do other things that would make more pious Muslims say I am not even a Muslim). But I tend to think (and maybe I'm just being easy on myself?) that I try hard to be a good Muslim in other ways, in ways I think are more important in the big picture...like being as kind as I can (although I am mean sometimes) and tolerant and non-judgemental (although I am too critical! as my father once told me when I was a young boy [only later did I catch on to the irony that he was criticizing me!]). And I hope no one takes my references to Islaam as preaching...it is just a part of the world that is a part of the dogs and the Sahel and me. If I say for example that I hope people will enjoy reading my blog and seeing the images, Insh'Allah...it is just a part of me to add Insh'Allah (if God wills it), since I would feel a kind of hubris if I did not add it. I guess I'm trying in a roundabout way to say I hope I don't offend anyone, Insh'Allah.
Also, I write "Islaam" in contrast to the transliteration in common usage. But in Arabic there are two "A"'s; one is hard like the sound of the a in the word "bark" (a/ah) and the other is soft and long like the sound of the a in "ram" (aa). And the a in Islaam is the second one. So it is not pronounced Islahm but rather islaam'/eslaam'.
...that when I moved to NM I would create an environment with a dog-free zone. Just a tiny little house and the dogs would live outside as the dry desert climate is almost identical to the Sahel and would provide the dogs with comfortable "digs". You can see how it is going...and that's just ONE of them! Right now there are four adult taidit and eight ten and eleven week old puppies in the house. I'm going to have to move out.
regarding my name: when I was born I was given the name David Clinton Moore...but when I converted to Islaam I changed my name to the Arabic version of David (Daoud) and added Abdullah Abdullah as a "last name". Ab' meaning "slave of" in Arabic and Allah being the name of God. So the literal translation of my Muslim name is "Daoud who is a slave of Allah who is a slave of Allah".
photograph by Dr. Werner Roeder...better known as "Abu Idi" (Arabic/Tamasheq for "father of the Azawakh") to the members of ABIS.
...and my question is: WHY DO THEY HAVE TO DIG??? I should be used to it by now...I mean this is like litter 32 or something...and no not like riding a bike...each litter is like the first one you've ever had. But again, al hamdullilah, they are here and one just has to deal. Or go insane. And well, they are fascinating and funny MOST of the time.
...of the Sahel (from the family in the encampment where I was gifted Aisinda). This photo was taken by Gerhard Hans (Germany) on the 2007 expedition. I found that Gerhard had a very special talent for capturing the essence of anything he photographed. Gerhard had been on many ABIS expeditions but this time he finally brought back a puppy: Youf Akim (named by Gerhard but have forgotten the meaning...I must ask him...). Gerhard had been charged with the care of little Youf Akim as I had already too many puppies to handle. Youf Akim had been chosen for Brigitte Washington on Reunion Island. But after several days Gerhard came to me and asked if it might be possible for him to keep Youf Akim and if it might be possible for us to find another puppy for Brigitte. Of course I said of course! and we did find another haanshee k'nai for Brigitte; Tazrayt. Tazrayt and her sister Tiraout still live with me and we (Brigitte and I) are waiting until Tazrayt can be bred to one of the aidi here (thereby bringing in additional out-crosses to Brigitte's breeding program) and then a puppy from this crossing, Insh'Allah, will be sent to her. I will post a picture of Youf Akim when I find one...but for now here are pictures of Tazrayt (Tamasheq for a sword of great beauty and power) and Tiraout (the playing one in the second photograph...her name is Tamasheq for a piece of jewelry worn on the chest to ward off evil).
at my focus on the "African/Sahelian" aspect of the azawakh...but for me this IS the main aspect of the breed. Of course they can be appreciated, loved, admired, etc. by people for just being what they are: dogs. But it is important for me to try to see them "in context", since for me this is vital to truly understanding and appreciating them for what they really are. For me they are more than just creatures that guard livestock and hunt prey in the Sahel...they are the poetry of the nomads, the quixotic and beautifully eerie plaint of the amzhad, the noble white chamelle, the terelilit of the women during the night, the air so dry one feels one's bones turning brittle in the mid-day heat...the goats, the cattle, the tribes vying for dominance...the sook...the women so beautiful and strong one turns one's head in deference...the men mysterious, veiled, friendly yet threatening; a symbol of time losing itself to itself.....the azawakh are all these things and more and yet only a part of this...and soon "this" will pass. Take care...it will all vanish in the blink of an eye. Mash'Allah.
Cattle in Wodaabe/Fulbe/Fulani society have an interconnected symbolic, social and economic meaning. Cattle have multiple roles in Wodaabe society and cannot be reduced to a single meaning or purpose. First and foremost cattle provide people with milk and meat to sell at the market for millet. In addition all major life transitions, such as birth, marriage and death take place with the assistance of cattle. The Wodaabe distinguish the Bororo cattle from other breeds of cattle, identifying them as “true” cattle (na’i gonga). The Bororo cow is characterized by a special attachment to its owner, being extremely obedient and responding well to commands given by people, in addition to knowing their names. They get used to specific people handling them, refusing cooperating with strangers, such as in terms of milking and watering. Wodaabe see this attachment to the owner as serving practical purposes because, as they frequently emphasize, it is almost impossible to steal a Bororo cow. They run away from strangers, refusing cooperation. The Bororo cows are also characterized as fiercely independent and can in some situations be dangerous to people. Wodaade describe Bororo cattle as having djikku (character), which is the same term as used in relation to people. To have djikku is usually characterized negatively by Wodaabe in relation to people; as referring to loss of self-control. But the use of such a term in relation to cattle can be seen as placing them on the same level as people, conceptualizing them as animals with temper and independent personalities. (excerpts from "Birds of the Bush: Wodaabe Distinctions of Society and Nature" KRISTÍN LOFTSDÓTTIR University of Iceland)
...this beautiful haanshee k'nai (Djerma for "dog, but little" as in puppy). By the time I found him I already had five puppies to bring back (and no idea how I was going to afford to bring THOSE back)...so I was not able to bring him. He was so beautiful. But then which one is not? Each has something special...al hamdullilah. I hope he is still alive today and continues to grow and develop and maybe has already enriched the genetic base of the Sahelian dog population, Insh'Allah.
I feel a little embarassed to promote myself in this way but hey, a guy's gotta make a buck here and there...so to check out products with my designs (tee shirts, mugs, mouse-pads, greeting cards, post cards, US postage stamps, etc.) go to my Azawakh Store. The products are very high quality and are shipped in one day. Thanks in advance for checking it out. Shookran (thanks in Arabic), wa taninmert (thanks in Tamasheq).
The first puppy that was gifted to me in Africa was Tamgak (he came with the name "Michele": most of the peoples of west Africa speak French, a hold-over from the French occupation of their land). I changed his name IMMEDIATELY to Tamgak...a mountain west of Agadez to the north in Mali...I figured such a tiny little thing needed a big name. He became the mascot of the expediton and by the end his name was "Michele Tamgak Sex Machine Sheitan the Devil". I added a few more after we returned home to Georgia (Kudzu being one of them). He was quite fierce for such a little critter and in the one photo you can see him guarding me and the camp from that THREATENING looking elderly woman. He was quite satisfied with himself after this encounter. She just laughed. Here in America Animal Control! would have been contacted immediately! The "sex machine" part of his name was for his incredible ability, tiny as he was, to climb atop luggage or whatever high point he could find and jump on the backs of passing female puppies. He remains an enigma and is the first of the puppies brought back from the 2007 expedition to reproduce. He bred Tiwul and produced six nice puppies, al hamdullilah.
I begged Corine to take a photo of this especially beautiful goat...from the 2007 ABIS expedition. Sometimes the goats were more beautiful than the dogs. But then a goat is not a dog. You have to milk a goat.
Last year we started a new website about the Azawakh (www.azawakhfriends.com), but unfortunately I lost my French and Italian translators. If anyone out there thinks they might be able to help with this project please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
...wearing the traditional tagilmoust (veil/turban) and kitabs. Worn only by male Tamasheq (though increasingly worn by other ethnicities within the Kel Tamasheq), even in their sleep or when they are alone, it is the visible symbol of the Tamasheq identity and as such holds many subtle meanings relating to the collective pride of the Tamasheq in relation to other peoples, to the personality or status of each individual or to strict social codes of conduct. The first historical reference to the veil was made by the Persian historian and geographer, Al-Ya'qubi. The kitabs (from the Arabic word for book) are silver and copper chased talismanic amulets worn for protection. Typically each carries a verse of the Koran inside.
Choum, an eight month old male idi (walking...[Afalkou X Batna]) and Aisinda (Tamasheq word for a certain type of ring worn in the ears of women), a young taidit that was gifted to me in Africa on the 2007 ABIS expedition.