At 9 years old, Adam Illius is too young to drive, but not too young
to cross the Sahara on
a camel in a family-run salt caravan.
Setting off from his Tuareg village of Timia, Niger, Adam
spent six months on a trip that took him roughly 400 miles to collect
Biskra, and then to sell it at market in Zinder.
But Adam's camel trip is no longer usual. Trucks
now dominate the Saharan trade routes and the
speed with which they can deliver salt to
market jeopardizes traditional camel caravans.
Still, entranced by his adventure, Adam says he
plans to stick with camels. Since filming for
AFRICA ended, he has traveled on one other
salt caravan. The life is tough: Meals consist of
a pre-prepared porridge of millet, goat's cheese
and dates mixed with water. And no rest stops.
To make tea without stopping, Adam carried a
portable, charcoal-laden brazier.
falls subject to the dictates of the caravan.
Adam usually attends a religious school where
he learns and recites passages from the Koran.
Though the caravans interfere with his school
schedule, the Tuareg see the treks as essential
to the education of any aspiring caravan leader.
As is language, in this diverse region. To help
his trading future, Adam has also started
studying Hausa, the language of an ethnic group
that dominates northwestern Nigeria and