National Geographic : 1934 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by James C. Wilson A YORUBA WOMAN WEAVES COTTON IN A NIGERIAN PALM-THATCHED SHELTER Half around the world, under a cottonwood tree in Arizona, a Navajo woman sits before a very similar loom making homespun wool into fine rugs. ancient, much-extended Lake Chad, buried by the sand and later uncovered in the cuvettes by erosion. Even though the surrounding dunes be perfectly bare, there are grass and trees in the cuvettes, the dum palm being a char acteristic feature of the landscape. Water is usually only a few feet, sometimes only a few inches, below the floor, and one fre quently finds a pond, or small lake, at the lowest point. Sometimes the water is fresh, sometimes impregnated with salt or sodium carbonate. The salt in this region is bitter and acrid, but the inhabitants like it. The morning after Christmas we had to push onward from Goure, in spite of the Frenchman's entreaties that we stay. Two miles away, as we turned back to look at the fort for the last time, he was still watch ing us, a tiny dot on the firing parapet. Two days' terrific battle with the sand brought us to the headquarters of a native road gang-85 Kanuri tribesmen (see text, page 72) encamped in a cluster of grass shelters hastily thrown together. The French had just begun work at several points on a military road to extend from Zinder to N'Guigmi, about a third of the way across Africa by the route we were traveling (see map, pages 40 and 41, and text, page 57). The tribesmen were laying down a long, narrow strip of clay across the sand for the sun to bake, carrying it in reed baskets on their heads from a cuvette about a quarter of a mile away. Some of them had little stiff-legged donkeys equipped with homemade panniers. We were almost out of water, and the foreman sent one of his men down to the water hole in the cuvette with our empty cans.