The small land of Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, has always held fascination for adventurers. Hagande is a village of a thousand souls, situated 200 kilometers from the capital and just 15 kilometers from the Ethiopian border. It sits just east of the Allol depression – a geological feature remarkable for its expanse of white crystalline sand punctuated by oases with their green clusters of palm trees.
Ali, 12 years old, belongs to the Afar people. There are around 800,000 Afars – nomadic herdsmen who wander among Ethiopia, Erytrea and Djibouti. They were among the first to convert to Islam, in the 14th century. After the independence of Djibouti in 1977, the Afrars lived through twenty years of famine and war. They’re an ethnic minority in both Ethiopia and Erytrea and look to Djibouti as the land that acknowledges their identity.