Back to the roots

Abdelhamid Niati
3 min readAug 23, 2021

2006, I came back to Algeria, the country of my family, of my roots. I leave the country because of terrorism in the ’90s. 2:00 PM, the plane is open, and I go downstairs with my parents and my brother. After checking to take back our luggage, we’re walking to the exit and I feel the sun shining. After the door, I see my uncle, my cousins, and part of my family. I have a strange sensation like I was coming back from an exile. I was born in the south suburb of Paris and I feel in exile. This country is my country, my roots, my family, my Africa. My story begins here or to be more exact at 200 km in the mountains.

My uncle and my family are so happy to see me. I can remember the feeling of their hand, of their skins. We put the luggage in the cars and drive to our house. 16 years after, I see the house built by my father. No holiday for him. He took all his summer vacancies to build the house with my mum. This house is so beautiful with all fig trees, flowers, birds, and cats. More than the house, it’s a heaven for all who live. My parents made it for their children, their country. I’m lost, far from Paris, but closed to my roots and my history. The days after, we take the road to visit our family in the mountains. 16 years after, my tears stay inside, but I miss them and I haven’t seen my cousin became a man and woman. Then I see a pair of beautiful blue eyes. My little cousin, Mohamed. His wonderful smile gives me a big “salam”. Few words came out, but the days after I realize that they are the most wonderful persons I’ve ever seen. Mohamed, the name of my brother, and my little cousin look like him. “Mohamed blue eyes” drive us by walking to the cemetery. Once we arrived we walked to see the other Mohamed, my brother who passed away in 2005 (you’ll never walk alone, my brother). I came to visit him and to say: Mohamed, it’s Abdelhamid your little brother. It was hard for me too and after praying and take look around to see the beautiful landscape. You deserve it, my brother. The landscape is so beautiful as you are. You are still beautiful. After that, I have one need, to come back to say salam to my eternal brother.

The days after I met all my uncles, aunts, and cousins more than 16 years after. For a few of them, it was the last time we met. I was so happy and more connected to my country that I don’t want to leave it.

A week after, we’re back to Oran. Two streets with our last name on a plate tell me that my history is here. Brothers Niati : killed by the French occupation army. We have the freedom you’ve been fighting for. God bless you. Each street, each walk makes me stronger and more connected to my roots. I am an Algerian, I’m an African or sure. All is wonderful from the bakery who gives you the bread for free what you forgot your money in a trouser at home to the restaurant holder who offers you tea and pastry.

In this town of Oran i received one of the best lessons of my life from the bakery. Running after a bus, I missed it and i was angry when i heard the bakery asking me :

“What’s going on? What's wrong? ”

“I missed the bus”

“And so what? There is another one coming soon.

He was right. There is a bus after a bus, even at 4:00 PM. After this day I stopped running after anything and I take my time.

First I was lost and day after day I was at home in Oran. This city is like a mum who protect her children. Oran, your son is back….

Days after days I discovered and met an incredible number of beautiful souls, perfectly dressed and perfume even to go to the grocery, the butcher, or the beach. They take the time to live and don’t run after anything.

Abdelhamid NIATI

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Abdelhamid Niati

Writer, content manager and business coach. I am also the Head of people and the Content Manager for a non profit organisation created in Africa.