Ashes To The Oasis

Over the years, I’ve made a couple of trips to Mauritania with a dear lady, a widow, who’s husband was buried at an oasis deep in the Sahara. Olwen Haslam’s husband was a first officer on a BOAC airliner that crash landed in the desert way back in 1952. Everyone on board had miraculously survived the crash, but Ted suffered a slight injury and he died after days of waiting for rescue.

I had been with Olwen to visit the grave a couple of times, and she has since died. But I learned that one of her wishes was to have her ashes buried in Ted’s grave. It just so happened that I was going to make another trip to Mauritania last year, and realised that my itinerary was only two or three days drive away from the oasis.

As can be seen from the picture, sand dunes had totally encroached the track nearing the oasis and we had to cast around to find a way through – involving a bit of digging!

And so it happened. Carrying a small phial of ashes, and a commemorating stone plaque, I was able to fulfil Olwen’s wishes.

© David Hill