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Foolproof Tourism

Posted 07.09.2012 by Marie-Laure Noray-Dardenne - View comments

Extract from the book « Le Livre des Imraguen, Pêcheurs du Banc d’Arguin en Mauritanie » by Marie-Laure de Noray-Dardenne, Editions Buchet et Chastel.

Arkeiss, in the first days of May. The fishing for croaker is in full swing and the village lives to the rhythm of “lanches” landing from the whole of the Banc d’Arguin. Inside the young chief’s house, mothers, daughters and old fishermen discuss the village’s other manna: tourism. Snatches from conversations:

« Tourism is a good thing for the people of Arkeiss. What bothers us is minimal, compared to the advantages. It’s not only a question of money; it’s also a question of movement. It makes things happen in the village, it’s very lively. We can always get money in other ways. Really, it’s not the main reason. »

« We have to continue receiving tourists in the Mauritanian way, but still, we need showers and toilets, real kitchens… We have to improve. »

« We need a warehouse in bricks to store equipment, protect it from wind, sand and water. And to protect the tourists if need be… »

« I don’t know if you remember, two years ago, we had a cyclone in September. We had to house the tourists with us, all the Khaïmas had been windblown, and all the equipment with them. We found mattresses all the way in Cap Tegara, many days later! »

« I remember the Tourists were very worried for us villagers…. And we were worried for them, and their belongings. The storm went on for hours. Really, we need a brick building. »

« Our tourists are more honest than before. Since the road Nouadhibou-Nouakchott was built, gangsters, car thieves and other kinds of dealers don’t come through Arkeiss any longer. And it’s a good thing; a lot of them would leave before sunrise without paying. »

« And we have our loyal regulars, mostly residents from Nouakchott who come to spend holidays or long weekends here in Arkeiss. They come with their guests and we become acquainted »