A Land of Peace


A LAND OF PEACE: At Tofatat you turn your madness into sanity, and your personal wars into peace offerings. Aubine’s words reminded me of an ancient oriental saying: “When arrows hit me, they turn to flowers, and I feel compassion for my enemy.” I think Tofatat is the embodiment of the Taoist principles of unified existence, where chaos is the loving sister of serenity, and light is the blood brother of darkness.

The next morning we left our mystical haven. Aubine and I made one last climb to the guelta and prayed for the endurance of our couple. We resolved to persevere with our venturesome lifestyle and to share it with our future family; we would take our children with us, wherever we would journey. And we vowed to one day return to Tofatat with the child growing inside Aubine.
Text: by Michael and Aubine Kirtley, excerpt from “An Invitation to Tofatat” published in “The Walkabout Chronicles, Epic Journeys by Foot”, recounting their first trip to this mystical land of dreams.

Photo: by me… This is the last photo I will post on Tofatat for now. I feel so blessed that Ahoudan introduced my parents to this sacred and mostly unknown land, and that my parents returned there with my brother and me during our time growing up in the Ayr of Niger. While I cannot claim to have a home in a physical location, Tofatat certainly comes the closest. I identify it with magestic beauty, peace, meditation and spirituality, and mostly, family. Due to the insecurity that has arisen in Niger, I have not taken my own children to this land. But I vowe to do so, one day… it is, after all, a land of peace.