The People That Time Forgot
by James Ray
T heir world consisted of a parcel
of dried and scrubby dirt onto
which they had built their home.
“Home” only amounted to a ragged
hovel thrown together from palm leaf
mats hung onto a few worm-eaten
sticks stuck in the ground. Around
this hovered a number of sheep or
goats—the source of any livelihood.
Their lives were stories of hardship
and struggle for sheer survival. Etched
in their faces were deep lines and fur-
rows put there by years of lashing sand
The people of the Niger would
live and die only to be buried at the
end under the sand and rock without
much notice. When in time the blow-
ing dust would obscure their graves
into the unforgiving landscape, no
one passing by would even glance at
the spot where they had been laid.
After the demise of a few close loved
ones who had shared their primitive
existence, the world would never
know that they had ever lived.
Their bleak tents were cheered
only by a battery radio—a prized pos-
session. It was only a few years past,
when the sun came up on one of their