This time a taxi driver is waiting for us. He recognises us straight away, as if we were in Italy where you notice a niqab straight away. It looks like as if my husband has been knowing him for his entire life but it’s not the case: they are only from the same city.
We follow him outside.
The door opens up and shoots on us some air – hot air of course.
We continue our route: shirts, t-shirts, hijab, qamis, trousers, niqab, abeyet.
And all of a sudden you find yourself in a place where you are still the same, you are just not so strange anymore.
Your strangeness, here, is not the dress, but that “absurd” search for a coherent life.
Ehlen we sehlen, welcome.
Nice to see you again my land.
We start our trip by car, every single thing deserves a picture here, although the camera is in the boot.
We stop at the motorway services. The first time I visited this country, about 4 years ago, there were not any motorway services on the long East-West highway. Miles and miles of a brand new highway, comfortable, practical and fast, without even a single motorway service. Worst than the desert!
The thing is that Algerians are “monotasking”, I’m just the same! But we have different and contrasting priorities: for example, when they plan a house, they start from the furniture, just years later they realise they haven’t thought about the place where the toilet pipes should pass through, a bit like the motorway services.
Before travelling I had a long list of worries, things like the algerian hot weather in August. But generally speaking this is not what you are worried about. It’s hot, of course, but you can deal with it. There are some things here that I still cannot understand, they have nothing to do with the religion, I cannot understand these things and I find it very hard to get used to them.
What I am worried about is to forget myself, forget the priorities of hijrah and worry about becoming ‘Algerian’ rather than improve the practice of the religion.
Sometimes I read of sisters who talk about Muslim lands as if they are amazing places, where everything seems perfect. Maybe I have written the same at times, as if I was dreaming. I think it’s our natural love for these lands, a love that benefits the heart.
May Allah help us and preserve us!