Stars and Time (and Tea for Two)

“We are poor, but still richer than you when it comes to stars and time”. Our hostess smiles as she looks up at the thousands upon thousands of stars shining down on us. We are sitting on a carpet rolled out in the sandy courtyard of Mahamuda Lipsir and her three daughters and two grandsons. A good day is coming to an end and we have nothing better to do than studying the sky above us and listening to the sound of the on-going tea-ceremony. One giant lump of sugar in is dissolved in hot tea before the contents is poured from glass to glass to glass and back to the pot to be re heated before it is poured back into the first glass, and the to the second, and the third… The process goes on forever, and the sweet drink isn’t served until all the pouring has created a white layer of foam in each glass. Mahmouda puts the sugar bombs on a tin tray and watch us as we finish them in two sips. The empty glasses are put back on the tin tray and the ceremony starts over again. According to Saharawian tradition you must drink three glasses: The first one bitter as life, the second sweet as love and finally one as mild as death.

There are no hotels in the refugee camps. Visitors are staying with local families, and we are being hosted by Mahamuda in the north-eastern corner of the 27th of February camp. The moon has got a funny angle compared to what we are used to back home. It resembles a white hammock in the sky and reminds us that it’s time to call it a night (after finishing our tea of course).

The slow pace of the desert is strange for a Norwegian. We have got everything the Saharawians lack. We have a country, we have money, we have an education system for everybody, we have health care and roads and a climate where you can walk outdoors at noon without risking a heat stroke. But what do we miss? A beautiful starry sky and time to lay on our backs and study it – and maybe some sweet tea.


25 Responses to “Stars and Time (and Tea for Two)”

  1. What an immeasurable experience-I’m in awe of your courage and fortitude to open yourself to such a journey. We, who are watching, will also be rewarded through your multiple lenses, Sally

  2. A beautiful post that makes me think we have it all wrong in our “developed” countries.

  3. Thanks for sharing such intense moments with us.

  4. Thanks for sharing….

  5. Greetings to both Otto and Øystein, wish I was there!

  6. artblablablablog Says:

    this is so much fun to watch unfold, you write so well about your experience it ‘s as close to being there as I will probably get. thanks for having the courage to take this journey and share with all of us.

  7. So beautiful…. so beautiful. It is great experience and I enjoy reading your experiences and expressions… Thank you for you both, Blessing and Happiness, love, nia

  8. Bravo¡ Super¡

  9. Excellent story and experience as well as your photo! Very moving! 🙂

  10. What a great experience, Otto. How good to gear down and shut off the engine! Sweet silence of the endless stars. Thanks soooo much.

  11. Reading this satisfies my wanderlust until I am in a position to travel again. Thank you so much for allowing me to journey with you in spirit.

  12. Posts like this one on your blog are what keep bringing me back here like a bee seeking out honey. What wonderful sentiments! Shared it on FB 🙂

  13. srayyangar Says:

    This is a tragedy with all urbanites in all the countries. People have forgotten the night blue skies, the noise of birds, the sun rise & the sun set. All they now have is TV & Mobile to look at in concrete jungle!

  14. A lovely post.. nothing like being in nature. It is indeed the best feeling ever.

  15. Beatiful!
    For me Sahara and Norway have a common point. They have the most beautiful light I’ve ever seen.

  16. I think the slow pace of the desert would be strange for most of us living with ‘creature comforts.’
    Thank you again.

  17. Fint å få være med på reisen…Takk for at dere deler!

  18. You capture it all beautifully. Thank you for sharing. What an adventure!

  19. Tänkvärda ord om livet och ett bevis på att pengar inte är synonymt med lycka…det finns så många andra rikedomar som vi i vår superkommersiella värld så lätt glömmer bort. Vacker bild med mycket mystik!

  20. Michelle Gillies Says:

    I love this tea ritual. It is very calming in itself. One can almost feel all the tension and the fast pace of your “other” life washing away as I visualize what you are describing.

  21. Ditto what Michelle said. This is the kind of stuff that you’ll be able to look back on when you’re old and smile.

  22. Thas was beautifully written! How nice to have the time to lay on your back and enjoy the stars. The tea ritual sounded wonderful. I think I’ll go and make a cup now. :+)

  23. Lovely story and beautifully written. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. It really is the simple things in life that are most precious…..

  24. A reminder that simpler cultures with few belongings and low stress are far richer than the rest of us.

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