Nouakchott, Mauritania

  • Date
  • 18 March 2000
  • Lodging
  • Monotel Dar El Barka
  • Distance
  • 526 KM
  • Total
  • 64317 KM

On the outskirts of Atar, we visited a stone, three-room school. One class of six-to-eight year-olds was studying Arabic in the first year and French in the second. A chalkboard covered in Arabic and a few books on the floor were the only adornments in the small room. No chairs. No tables. No pictures. No water fountain. The children sat on the floor writing diligently in their books. Faces gleamed when we entered the room and petite voices echoed over and over, “Bonjour Madame and Bonjour Monsieur”. Another classroom, filled with perhaps 10 or 15 long desks, is not in use since a windstorm took the roof off a while back. As a result, local children now come to school at varying times depending on age. The second classroom in use, with a chalkboard and few books, had young teenagers, mostly females wrapped in colorful fabrics, sitting on the floor. Old BP oil drums were pieced together to form the roof.