Many of our families e-mailed to offer gentle words about Nimit's death. Some
asked what happened to Mohammed and Nimit's family when
they went in to the Sahara to bury Nimit.
My heart was breaking as I know Mohammed's was. It
felt as if I have lost my own child, perhaps because
Nimit felt like a son to me. He was the first official
"African Angel" we placed and one whom I saw more often
than any of the other children.
Nimit was like a brother to Mohammed. The boys were
on the phone often, they always spoke in their native
language of Tomashek. Our families were drawn together
by our children, by our sons' experiences and by our
own travels to the Sahara in the country of Mali.
A memorial service was held to celebrate Nimit's life.
It was one of the saddest days I ever experienced. The
minister at the family church in Bloomington estimated
1,000 people attended the service. One of Nimit's college
buddies flew in from Peru. Family and friends came from
New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Washington and Florida.
Six of us spoke about Nimit's life - Mohammed couldn't
speak so he sat on the stage, behind me holding my hand
while I spoke. I could not have gotten through it without
him. A friend of the family took many photos of Nimit,
his family and Mohammed and put together a beautiful
presentation of Nimit's life in America and Mali and
displayed it above the stage to haunting music - two,
10 minute periods of photos of Nimit's life.
Diane Sawyer sent a huge basket of plants and flowers.
Two local television stations and two newspapers covered
Nimit's service. It was the 3rd story the Bloomington,
Indiana newspaper wrote about Nimit's death; two were
their front page headline story. One of the TV stations
reported Nimit's memorial service as their top story.
the end of the service, half of the people followed
a funeral caravan to the former Moore family farm, where
Nimit had raised his camels. The new owners have left
two, large, black camel paintings on the side of the
barn. They had named the farm "Camel Lot" in honor of
Nimit, never thinking it would be in memory of then
26 year old Nimit. They had planted a tree for Nimit
and after the memorial service we all dedicated it in
Nimit's parents, brother and Mohammed had a very difficult time in Gao, Mali. The U.S. Embassy counsellor officer did not want the little group to go in to the desert to bury Nimit but his parents and Lala wanted to bury him in the Sahara he loved so much. An American pilot with a small plane flew them in to Gao.
Family members of the man who killed Nimit tried to force Nimit's dad to sign a police statement saying Nimit had been shot accidentally. He refused.
When Mohammed and Raymond Moore unwrapped Nimit's body,
which had been held in a hospital freezer, they could
see he had been shot once, between the eyes, obviously
not an accident. Raymond said that for the 5/6 hours
they were on the ground in Gao he thought they would
all be killed. Mohammed will say little about what happened
except that he agrees with Raymond. Raymond says Mohammed
negotiated their safety the entire time they were in
The family and Mohammed buried Nimit while the pilot stayed with his little plane; then they all flew back to Bamako where they spent the next week trying to get back to Indiana, via Paris, to begin preparations for Nimit's memorial service. Mohammed stayed in Bloomington to help Nimit's family.
struggle to make sense of all of this. I believe in
God but why would God allow this to happen? Nimit was
healthy, happy, full of life and energy. He dearly loved
Lalla. He had big, ongoing plans and goals. He was becoming
an astute business man. He was dividing his time between
Indiana and the Sahara which thrilled him. A contract
was being developed to make an Imax film about Tuaregs
in the Sahara with Nimit playing a major role. He was
trying to help the children of his village of Gao to
become educated. He wanted to help with wells and schools
that Gao needs. His expedition company of Malian tours
had started to grow. Some people were jealous, but how
insane that in today's world something like this could
I will forever remember Nimit being frustrated with
his camels and in his frustration, yelling, "He won't
work" as he thrust his hand in the air, talking about
his beloved camel's stubbornness.
My heart ached as I closed my little talk about Nimit.
I looked up to the heavens and told Nimit that I needed
his strength to help me continue working with the orphan
children of Africa. I touched my heart and promised
Nimit that he would always be with me, "right here
in my heart".
Many e-mails and photos were placed on bulletin boards in the church lobby,
alongside Nimit's camel saddle and some of his personal
belongings. One friend described Nimit with these words:
"It is hard to describe Nimit well as he was easily the most complex and multi-faceted person I knew. Nimit was like a wise man, a warrior, a clown and a teenager all rolled into one. He saw life in a simple way that cut through all the junk and went straight to the heart of the matter. He was honest in a way that was both blunt and gentle.
"Everything he said was with both honesty and laughter. He was always laughing about something even when he was quite serious underneath. It was just the way he was. To put it simply, he was amazing."
Enjoy the Sahara Nimit. You will always be with me, right here, in my heart.
We love you,