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Tuareg people, found mostly in Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mali congregate in communities that were once bustling trade centers in the early days when camel caravans transported trade goods through out Northern Africa. Although often settled in towns and villages, many Tuareg still adhere to their nomadic traditions, such as the Tuareg in the Tombouctou region of Mali. On the outskirts of town, where the dunes and sand meet the city, camels belonging to tribespeople who have come in from the desert to do business in the city hunker down with their backs to the blowing sand and patiently wait for their masters return. Tuareg men wrapped in turbans and billowing robes move through the marketplaces with a characteristic light, flowing stride developed by walking in the deep sands of the Sahara. Many are robed in cloth of indigo blue, which is the favored color of the Tuareg. Only their eyes are seen as the men normally keep their faces covered, which helps to protect them from blowing sand. When it is time to trade their wares however, the Tuareg pull the cloth down from their faces and spread their wares on pieces of cloth and the bargaining begins. Coming from a long tradition of trading, the Tuareg are adept at the ritual of bartering. Much of the art offered for sale is in the form of jewelry, leather and metal saddle decorations, and finely crafted knives and swords. The finely crafted Tuareg pieces are sought after internationally as prized adornments.
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