Agence Future Travel log 3.4: Africa - Fouta Torro
We rode 130 kilometers inland from Saint-Louis to Richard Toll. In this small town around a sugar factory, the oldest brother of the family Diop was our host.
The house had countless inhabitants of all ages and sizes. The leading wife was a big enthusiastic woman whose main concern was the food that we bought for everyone on the market. Lamin, one of Mor's younger brothers who worked in the sugar factory explained about local efforts to convince young people to partake in politics or at least cast their vote in the young insecure democracy of Senegal.
His friend Boubacar showed me around the town and took us to the centre for mothers of babies suffering from malnutrition. He had strong ideas about the need to provide for the future by raising healthy young Senegalese that could contribute meaningfully to the future of the country.
We left for an 800 kilometer ride to the Malinese border. We followed the Senegal river along the Mauritanian border. We stayed in small villages in schoolyards, with families and two district prefects. In Ourossogui where we halted for a few days, we talked with the field volunteers of ENDA (the NGO we had visited in Dakar). They explained how water supplies and electricity affect daily life in the small towns of West Africa and how they have to struggle to bring their point across to local dignitaries.
We had many interesting encounters by the roadside. A group of boys stopped where we were hiding from the midday sun and taking lunch. They told us that what they would hate most for their own future was to have to be working on the field. What they would like most however was to be tomato-pickers in Italy (they did not see the contradiction in this). The same lunch break an old man stopped to chat with us. He took a long look at our bikes: "All the things the whites do. This is what God gave us whites for. Something like those bycicles will never come out of Africa." He thought Africa had other things to contribute to the world's future, mentioning traditional medicine and family values in particular.
Read more on Agence Future's African loop: