Cast in Sand: A tale of two women

Two extraordinary women display resilience and courage as they strive for happiness in a desert refugee camp. Najla, 24, is a passionate student and activist. Born in this remote camp on the Algerian border, she has learned English through hard work and determination. Dreams of going abroad to study and advocate for her people mingle with regret at what she will have to leave behind.

Agaila, an elder and medicine woman, is Najla’s neighbor and role model. She helped build these camps nearly 40 years ago, when she fled from Morocco’s brutal occupation of her homeland. Treating the ailments of her neighbors free of charge, she is respected as a voice of wisdom and a pillar of strength in her community.

The personal dramas of these two ordinary yet extraordinary women speak to the larger struggle of their people, painting a picture of daily life in the camp. Instead of despair and hopelessness, we see an inspirational portrait of what it means to overcome and empower those around us despite the difficulty of our circumstances. In this makeshift home, the displaced people of Western Sahara have built new lives and continue to cry out for justice for what is often called “the last colony in Africa.”


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