Echoes of the Desert: the inspiring journey of Yahya and Camp Erech

Here, in this slideshow, you can see all the photos that will be presented during Milan Fashion Week in the big exhibition “Camp Erech: the exhibition in a box”.

Camp Erech stands as a monumental endeavor by Ayzoh!, seamlessly blending a social entrepreneurship initiative in the Mauritanian desert – a venture of profound significance to the local communities – with the captivating multimedia narrative of Riccardo Yahya’s extraordinary journey. His tale, brimming with remarkable events, serves as a wellspring of inspiration and impetus for transformative change.


In the 1990s, Riccardo De Biase thrived as a fashion photographer, navigating between the vibrant cities of Rome, Milan, and Los Angeles. However, upon confronting a debilitating neurodegenerative illness, he made a radical shift in his life trajectory: relocating to Mauritania, to the desert expanse of Adrar.

There, he encountered Fatimatou, with whom he chose to build a life in the nomadic embrace of Camp Erech. Embracing Islam, he adopted the name Yahya. Presently, Riccardo and Fatimatou, alongside their daughters, call Camp Erech (also known as Erch Camp) their home.

In this new chapter, Riccardo Yahya identifies as a “troubadour,” a seeker of experiences to share with transient guests at Camp Erech and the travelers he guides through bespoke tourist circuits. Transitioning from his former profession, Riccardo Yahya established a travel design enterprise, crafting tailored journeys that unveil Mauritania’s abundant natural wonders, historical marvels, and cultural tapestry.

Proceeds from tourism not only sustain his family and the residents of Camp Erech but also support the local school attended by his daughters and foster entrepreneurial initiatives within the community.


The inexorable progression of Riccardo Yahya’s illness increasingly impedes his ability to lead tours and orchestrate circuits, renowned for their blend of charisma, profound local insight, and captivating storytelling.

Thus, an intervention becomes imperative to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the legacy forged by Riccardo Yahya, his family, and the welcoming community of Camp Erech.

Because we believe that Riccardo Yahya’s story is important and may resonate with you…

The saga of Riccardo Yahya and his family embodies a narrative of resilience, where adversity metamorphoses into opportunity and isolation births an energy that transcends geographical and cultural boundaries.

Rich with archetypal motifs – heroism, mentorship, guardianship, transformation – his narrative resonates across time and space, offering profound lessons and guiding lights for individuals irrespective of their backgrounds or beliefs.

From Riccardo Yahya’s odyssey springs a universal tale, beckoning all to eschew despondency, to champion their own metamorphosis, and to catalyze positive change within their communities. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once mused, “…human beings are governed by the Spirit. In the desert, I am worth as much as my gods are worth.”