by Kerry Zahn, Paris, Mauritania
In Garalla, water is viewed as important simply because there is not a lot to be had. My village is in southern Mauritania, a country that forms the barrier between the Sahara and the green rain forest of the countries of West Africa. There is typically not too much rainfall in a year, and that rainfall comes in the rainy season months of July, August, and September. When the first rains come to my village, a sense of excitement fills the air as we wait out the sandstorm that inevitably precedes the rainfall. As the first drops fall, the kids run out to yistaham, or bathe in the rain. As the rain begins to fall faster and harder, the kids grow crazier, dancing and chasing one another around. After they are soaking wet, the children will join the adults under the limbar, a shelter made of palm trees, like a tent with a roof, and because it is the first rain, each child will receive a little bit of sugar.
by Heather Cameron, Rosso, Mauritania
Children play no games with water. It is seen as too precious a luxury in the Sahara.