Locals play foosball in El Mdou’s “internet cafe.” El Mdou is one of the only towns in Tunisia where “Black Tunisians” comprise the majority of residents, a vestige of the Trans-Saharan slave trade that ended in the late 19th century.

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Teenaged camel herder. When I spotted him walking along the road (in the middle of nowhere, about an hour’s drive from The Grand Erg Oriental in the Sahara Desert), he had been walking with his camels for days. Somewhere near Zouara.

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After all the other goats finished the food and wandered away, this lone one remained hoping for more. Optimist. In Hachana.

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This is Miriam, a local Berber resident of the small Berber-speaking town of Matmata. She lives in a traditional underground troglodyte home, created by digging a giant pit in the ground, and then digging caves around the perimeter to use as rooms. Her home comprised two pits that were connected by passageways. Miriam and I had lunch with her husband. Her cell phone never stopped ringing.

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Locals at the only restaurant in El Mdou, a tiny village in the Gabes region. According to the journalist traveling with me, the village was founded in the late 19th century when a slave trader who was bringing black slaves across the Sahara to sell in Tunis heard news that Tunisia had outlawed the slave trade, he abandoned them here. Today, El Mdou remains one of the only towns in Tunisia where “Black Tunisians” comprise the majority of residents.

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The patriarch of a tiny village I stopped in. I needed his permission to photograph the women of the village building a sewer system, unusual work for women. Instead, he befriended me, showed me his home, introduced me to his family, gave me a scarf as a present, and invited me to his daughter’s wedding.

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A sheepherder along the road from Kondar to El Metbassta.

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View out into the plains from atop the small village of Tamezret.

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The Grand Erg Oriental (“Great Eastern Sand Sea”) in the Sahara Desert. The larger of the two major ergs (immense areas of sand dunes) that occupy about one-fourth of the desert, it’s approximately 600 km wide by 200 km north to south, with sand dunes 7- to 16-feet high.

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In the small village of Tamezret.

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The ancient ghorfas of Ksar Hallouf. A ghorfa is a network of chambers that were used as houses and to store grain and oil. One of the houses still has a traditional oil press inside. This rarely visited site, located in Mandanin on a hilltop near the tiny oasis of Haddej, is only partially restored.

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A dog at play in the Grand Erg Oriental in the Sahara Desert.

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There are no human villages and no roads, and rainfall is less than 10 inches/year. It rained the night I stayed there.

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