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The dark wind of Guet Ndar

A group of men moves quickly around the dark shore. The mass of the sticks, plastics and mud covers the ground, impedes them from moving with agility. The salty smell of the sea mixes with the grubbiness that the Atlantic tide spits. Guet Ndar is a fishing village just outside of Saint Louis, the second largest city of Senegal. Most streets are unpaved, but thanks to their fishery, Guet Ndar is the economic motor of Saint Louis.

When evening comes the cayucos arrive at Guet Ndar. It does not seem like a bad labour and they unload boxes full of fish without stopping. Women wait on the shore with recycled plastic cans and a child remains attentive. The unwritten law allows them to keep the pieces that fall to the ground when unloading.

Near here fish are smoked, salted and dried, a common method in the lands of scarce refrigerator. Hundreds of tables, baskets and plastic cans blackened by the fire clutter the space, forming an intricate maze. But the incessant activity of Guet Ndar stops when the muezzin calls to pray. Between prayers the light goes out far away, next to the ocean, where you can still distinguish the column of dense smoke. It lives, darker than the night.

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“Today the adventure is out of our time, it is no longer necessary. But there was a time when it was, and in my opinion, one of the most important reason that encourage us to go into the wild, towards the difficult, to the cold and dangerous world, it is just genetically written within ourselves that ancient calling, and it still beats in distant desire within us to face the wilderness”

Reinhold Messner

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