With happiness in her eyes, Christiane Baulieu talks to us about the sand rose, its extraction in the desert, all that it represents for her today.
“If by chance you come to see me in my room at Chevilly Larue (which would make me happy!) you will be able to see above my cupboard, a beautiful stone, the one we call “Rose des Sables”. All Saharan people know about it.
The “sand rose” is different depending on where it is found. Thus, that of El Goléa is different from that of Ouargla made of gypsum crystals.
Sand roses were and still are very popular with tourists. Just see as soon as they arrive, the crowd of small sellers rush towards them… Because in fact, it is their livelihood. But can you tell me, where do they find these sometimes very large pieces of rock? In the desert? Yes, but only in certain places, and each small seller keeps the secret well.
For a sand rose to form, certain conditions are needed: a certain quality of sand, plus significant humidity, which causes condensation helping to form this beautiful stone.
A Missionary Father from Africa once explained to us the unfolding of this long process, but I cannot repeat it again. What is certain is that the small “sellers” keep the places where they find them very secret.
On the other hand, when a sister returns to France for her leave, they bring her a beautiful rose, so that she can give it to her family.
This is how I got this pretty rose, for my final departure, and I keep it in memory of the country, of the inhabitants that I loved, and in particular this young boy, now a man, who gave it to me. A rose to tame! »