January 04, 2011

New Year in the desert

On the early morning of the 31st we left Nouakchott and went to the north-east of Mauritania to the region of Adrar.
We were meeting other friends at Tergit a small oasis that has a water source and date palms.
In this sketch you can see how a bucket is used to collect the water that drips from the stalactites and which from time to time someone comes to drink.
As our friends had a pinched wheel and got stuck in the sand we spent more time here than meant and I used it to draw a bit more.
Tergit is specially popular during the summer months because is the only place (I know) in Mauritania that stays cool and people come to have a tea or a meal and children will bath in the small water tank. Summer its also the time of the "guetna" when the dates start getting ripe and people return from the big city to do cures of dates, when eating the slight green ones will do wonders to your digestive system.
Unfortunately at this time of the year the weather is great - like an english summer - but there are only dry dates available.

Young boy with the Plateau behind him. This villages don't have electricity or a water system.

Isselmou is a seller. We woke up in the first day of 2011 as he was preparing tea and had set up his wares neatly over a piece of black cloth. Necklaces and bracelets in silver, ebony necklaces and bracelets made of sheep horns with metal incrustations, colourful teapots hand painted by women and beautifully decorated wooden boxes. He knew Point-Afrique was having a couple of flights coming in with tourists (even if most of the area is considered a no go area by foreigner diplomacy) that would be either trekking or discovering the area by car and that would be happy to take home a souvenir of their holidays.

 New year stuck in the sand. After taking away a lot of sand from under the car we made a small road with flat rocks in front of each wheel and got it easily out.
Having lunch by the side of a pool who has water all year around and is surrounded by lots of greenery.
One of the lady sellers who came from the nearby village of M'heiret decided to wash her feet using the hard rock to scrub them. And bellow our last tea on the side of the road before reaching Nouakchott.

Bellow you can see all this area that is known as the land of stones because of its plateaus. Yellow, reddish sand mixes itself with the dark rocks and as this year it rained very heavy water pools were still left in some areas. The trees are green, tiny flowers are surrounded by white spotted butterflies and the camels hump is full of fat. A good year as there will be lots of milk.

The last sketch I made it during our last tea and meal by the side of the road on our way back to Nouakchott. A wonderful end and beginning of year in peace.

Min the wonderful guide invited by our friends and who made our journey special.

1 comment:

  1. These are beautiful Isabel. I love how you always manage to make the best of a situation and get a fabulous painting.


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