ABSTRACT

Research into the relationship between social life and physical landscapes emphasizes the connectivity and inseparability of these two domains. Understanding social phenomena often depends upon understanding biophysical phenomena and vice versa. Maintaining a distinction between society and nature is therefore very difficult, if not impossible, and it has for some time now been argued that the social and the geographical are conflated in the experience of human beings. Modi Mawdo was a powerful Fulbe Marabout. Modi Mawdo and his followers had to endure heat, sandstorms, and cold nights and rely on the goodwill of others for food, water and shelter during their walk. The presence of a reliable source of groundwater, and consequently, of lush gardens in the middle of the dry Sahelian landscape is nothing short of a miracle, according to the villagers, given the extremely dry northern Sahel, where readily available groundwater is not easy to find.