Ngaparou, march the 1st 2019. After 11 months travelling, of which we spent 8 in West Africa, and some 25 000 kms covered since France, we are now back into Senegal and preparing to slowly make our way back up to Europe. As we have slowed down for a few days, I grab the opportunity to give you some news and impressions.
Thrilling West Africa
During those last 8 months, we have been filled with wonder by the secret gems of Casamance, faced the extremely muddy tracks of Guinea at the end of the rainy season, had two negative results on two malaria tests done, swam in the Senegal River with hippos, done our own chocolate from fresh fruits, discovered two ant nests in the car and one in the tent, learned how to cook bread on the fire, surfed the Volta Lake watching the monkeys laughing at us in the trees, met with ordinary and extraordinary people, understood (finally!) what permaculture can do, have tested our patience in dealing with local authorities, adopted a Togolese aloe vera, witnessed in the same day the gravity of the damage inflicted on the nature by the human hand and the wonders that can accomplish a single will… Far from the idealistic clichés or any preconceived idea we might have had before leaving, we have discovered a thrilling Africa, as fascinating as it is disconcerting, stuck with its contradictions but also full of a million possibilities!
There, we met men and women whose vison, empathy and willpower appear as trees, of which the roots are growing stronger to remain standing against the storm. Powerful and serene beings that stabilises and fertilises the ground around them, favouring connections and thus creating ideal conditions for life to thrive. Along the way, and always under a tree, we collected the testimonies of those people, contributing each in their own way in maintaining the strong but fragile balance linking humans with nature. It will be our mission when we are back home to share their message, through a series of portraits we called Tree Time. The blog will therefore be back on track in a few months! We also wish to apologise to those who wanted to follow us closely (or less closely) on the blog, but along the way we decided to put it aside temporarily to fully live our adventure. We found out that travelling can be a full time job, requiring all your attention and energy, and that it is particularly true when travelling through Africa!
Be the coconut!
Besides, in the end we made the decision to turn around, and therefore not to go to South Africa. We made it our objective in the beginning, but if we have learned one thing, it’s to adapt! Our wish was to meet with people and to take the time to savour it. The geopolitical situation in central Africa is far from ideal right now, notably in Nigeria and Cameroon, and just going through countries without being able to enjoy any of what it has to offer is simply not our way of doing… Coconut travellers* for ever 😉 So we took our time in West Africa, and went through Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Mali before coming back to Senegal.
*The coconut traveller is a traveller who, like the coconut, wanders through the ocean of life, fully packed with food, in search of his new home. Concept invented in Ghana, with our friends Lisa and Timo with whom we travelled for two months (follow them on lost-track.net), and inspired by a BBC documentary on... coconuts!
The adventure is far from being over for ahead of us still lies Mauritania and the Sahara, of which we will gladly enjoy the immensity again, and Morocco that already sounds like holidays… Before coming back, here is a little overview of what we experienced for the past few months 😉