After days of driving, driving, driving, we decided to take a day of rest in Nouadhibou. The camping site was nice and clean, always one of the employees raking the sand in the yard (competing with the cats, who think, it´s their toilet), hot shower, and a nice cafe with wifi, perfect coffee and cakes around the corner.
Around noon each of us took their own tour trough the city. Igor found the waste site and the harbour, but it was striktly prohibited to enter. I walked around town, looking for dividends, people shaking heads and laughing at me when I took pieces of the profuse waste from the street and put pieces into my plastic bag after taking a photo. Somebody tried to explain, that it is not healthy to collect the trash and talked me out of taking a dividende after having 5 great pix.
Around 4 p.m. we decided to drive to the cape, where the travelling guide promised flamingos, pods and jackals. We did not find any of this, but spotted some rusted ship wrecks in the sea, near the harbour. Manuel was happy to go offroad again, and through the sand we approached the beach: smelling disaster of dead fish, thousands of them; bulks of trash, from torn fishernets to rusty cans and clothes.
I walked with Igor along the endless rows of dead fish, when suddenly 2 human figures appeared in a shack: an old men and a young one. They wanted us to take photos of them and pay. We prefered to talk, but it did not really work out. A few meters further, another man appeared, and he told us, they all were refugees from Westsahara, living here in shacks and eat the fish they caught from the sea. Asking about the many dead fish on the beach, they could not tell.
He told, that this was the place where ship wrecks were brought to be dismantled, the useful parts were sold - some of them to China. Ships from here go to China for trade, but since the economic crisis it did not work well anymore.
He invited us for tea in his shack, but it started to rain and we had to rush – otherwise our Steyr would get stuck in the sand.
Back to our camping site, we told the patron about our findings and our project. It turned out, that he had started an NGO last year to clean up the beach. It was a private initiative. As a child, they were swimming in the sea, but now everything is polluted. According to Koran, you should keep your environment clean, and that was what he wanted to do. He seeks help from international partners, because the Mauretanian government is not interested in his project.
At the moment he is talking to everybody to arise awareness – he believes, that direct contact is the most efficient.
We made an appointment for an interview for next morning 9 a.m. – on the camping site and on the beach.