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Mongolia’s nomads (2018) – The nomadic lifestyle in Mongolia is falling into gradual decline. In June 2018, I lived about ten days with a Mongolian family in the province of Bulgan, 300 kilometres west of the capital Ulan-Bator. Beyond the splendid landscapes of the steppe, picturesque scenes of herders shearing the sheep or children playing outside the yurts, the family of Lamzav and Oyunaa epitomises the various transformations that the nomadic lifestyle is undergoing. The parents tend to prefer semi-nomadism to a strict nomadic life, comforts of the capital city are increasingly attracting the younger generations… My research finally led me to the suburbs of Ulan-Bator where hundreds of thousands of nomads have settled down in yurt districts because of climate change and its repercussions on the livestock. What future for the nomads of Mongolia?

 

 

The Iron train (2019) – Mauritania, Northwest Africa’s large desert country, has only one train line. Built by the French after discovering significant iron ore deposits in the middle of the Sahara, it stretches across 700 kilometers from the mining town of Zouerate to the port of Nouadhibou on the Atlantic coast. The trains consist of over 200 carriages, totaling roughly 2.5 kilometers in length. They are among the longest and heaviest in the world. While their main purpose is to carry the iron ore from the mine to the harbour for export, numerous Mauritanians use them to travel across the country in order to trade goods or visit relatives. People who carry a great deal of luggage or who can’t afford a ticket in the only passenger car have no choice but to ride atop the ore hopper cars. The journey is free yet the travel conditions are dreadful. In the desert, the daily temperature range can be extreme. The worst, however, is not the heat or the cold but the dust. Countless particles of iron spread in the air, making it difficult to breathe or see. Inspired by the courage of these men, I made the roundtrip from Nouadhibou to Choum (about 1000km over nearly 24 hours altogether), in the hope of experiencing and documenting one hell of a ride across the desert.