A little boy lies on a rolled up mat, a girl is next to him. His face is round, the mouth greasy, and she has long dark brown hair in many small tales sticking up all around her head. He is around three-four years old, she must be at least five. In front of them, a bowl with grains. The boy dips his finger into the bowl, licks it, and dips it again. He sticks his finger into the girls’ mouth. He does it again and again, until the girl push away the bowl. She takes a necklace of dates and hangs it around the boys’ neck. He smiles happily towards the girl, looks at the necklace and fingers on the dates before sticking one into his mouth. He chews on it with a big smile on his face. As he stands up on his round feet the necklace reaches almost all the way to the ground. He walks heavy with his bare feet, as if they were made of concrete, happily chewing on his necklace of dates.
Later a woman put all the grains in a plastic bag and sold it for 300 ouguiya.
My plans collapsed after just three days. I’m a week behind my schedule and will slip behind even more. Now the situation in Senegal and Mali seem to be very worried, as well as in Ivory Coast. Maybe I will change my plans completely, go to the Gambia and fly from Banjul to South Africa and go by land to Tanzania.
We were going to see a donkey race, but it was cancelled because they couldn’t find enough donkeys. We saw a marathon instead. The winner was lifted by the audience, and carried to the minister of culture who clapped his hands and looked pleased.
We were sitting in a tent, a big tent, with handicrafts made locally by a cooperative in Ouadane. It’s a festival in town, but the tourists are missing and people are loosing their invested money. Just because the french government wants no one to sneak around the rumours say.
I’m with an Englishman and four Germans. We were waiting in the tent for a salt caravan of camels, but it never came. While we were waiting a woman asked if we wanted cake, so she started baking one. Two hours later it was getting dark, and we were supposed to drive across the desert to Chinguetti that day, and the cake still wasn’t ready. It must have stayed in the over for an hour when she finally served it, and it was worth waiting for although the vanilla sugar came from Turkey and the baking powder from Swiss or something like that. An international cake baked in a traditional tent.