We left yesterday afternoon for Tesselit, after being stalled for a few hours while the Landcruiser’s suspension was repaired. Not more than an hour into the journey, a strong odor of fuel began filling the vehicle. We stopped and checked under the hood and saw that the tube connecting the fuel pump was spraying large amounts of fuel. Intehenut, the driver, and his Tuareg companions, Muhammad and Mohammad, cut the punctured end of the tubing, pushed it back into place. Taking some random bits of wire holding other parts in the engine compartment, they secured the tubing. I was suddenly aware that almost every part on the engine was held in place with bits of wire or small welds.
I was traveling with my French friends to the small Saharan outpost town of Tesselit to work with the organization, Electriciens Sans Frontières (Electricians Without Borders). We were to work on a project to fix the town’s ailing generator, as well as build wood-conserving stoves using the metal buckets we had brought from France.