Point E

Point E

Bi ma njëkkee ñëw Dakar lu jege ñaar fukki at ci Plateau laa daloon ci goxu jaaykat yi ci “centre-ville”. Waaye, bi ma tambalee dal ci Yoff walla Ngor ci ben néég walla studio, ñaari gox yépp nekk ci bët gannaaru dëkk bi, te bi ma miinee koñ yooyu ci wetu géég gi, laa leen def sama dëkkuwaay. Boo tammee dem ci yenn gox yi nga xamantane dangay lëkkëlook waa foofu te mbirum tourisme yobbuwula, mbir yi dañuy yomb lool ci yow. Booy faraldi dem ci benn bërëb ay yooni yoon, dangay mel ni ku fa bokk ba romb sax waa foofu. Ku mësa nekk Senegal ku nekk war na xam li may wax foofu. Kon, fan yii dama xalaat ne wut beneen dëkkuwaay dina wara nekk lu neex. Bu ma leen laajoon lan ngeen may digal ci ban koñ laa wara dëkk? 

Am na yenn gox ci Dakar yu ma neex lool, su fekkee sax xamuma noonu bërëb yooyu. Xëyna bërëb yooyu dafay mel ni lu nekk ci man te damay am lu may yëg buma nekkee ci bërëb yu ni mel. Xam naa ne dafay niirook lu doy waar, waaye bi ma nekkee xale dama féntal sama bopp am po taxoon ma mënoona jàpp ci sama xel ay mbir yu bare ci ay gox, koñ, tali, garab, kër ak lépp lu taxaw ca bërëb ba ma nekk. Mësuma bayyi jikko jooju te léégi bumay fatteliku Dakar, Point E mooy njëkka ñêw ci sama xel ni dëkku taax, ak ay taleem yu bari yëngu yëngu, garabam yu am ker yi, dugg génn ya ca daara ju kawe ja. Point E dafa boole gox bu bare yëngu ak ay bërëbam yu amul benn coow yi te bi ma njëkkee teg samay tànk ci taleem yi am na ay at léégi, dafa meloon ni dama fa xam ba pare. Te mënuma wax lu waral loolu. Dafa meloon ni dama xam gox bi ba noppi te xame ko dafa yomboon lool ci man. Te am na piscine olympikam bi nga xamantane dafa may xëcc ma fay dem di fééy. Bi nga xamee ne léégi dama ne dama bëgga bokk ci waa dëkk bi, gis naa ne fii laay nekk.

Ci atum 1946 «Plan Directeur d’urbanisme» dafa tëraloon ay sart ngir nit ñi ci Point E topp ay yoon yuy yemale tabax yi ngir nekkin yu neex ci gox bi. Fan yii li am ci gox boobu jeggi na dayo ndaxte ñungi gis ay tabax yu kawe di juddu fépp ci biir gox bi. Foofu dafa soppeeku ci ni mu meloon ci dëkkuwaay gu neexa nekk ak ay tabax yu kawe.

Ba léégi mënuma xam lu waral ñuy woowe Point E noonu. Su fekkee am na ku nu mëna xamal lan la “E” bi di tekki, nungi lay déglu! Dakar du la mësa naqari, rawatina turi kóminam yi ak arondismà am yi. Gueule Tapée itam tur bu am solo – gox bu rafet itam – ak Patte d’oie koñ yu ma gëna neex lañu. Buñu fatte SICAP itam, SICAP dafa lëkkëloo ak lu rafet lu mel ni: Baobab, Amitié, Keur Gorgui… Sama kumpa du jeex ci bëgga xam lu waral ab bërëb ñu tudde ko tur wi mu yore. Dinaa ñëwaat lu gëna leer ci loolu ci beneen “post” bu bees. 

Ab laaj: lan mooy sa bërëb walla koñ bu la gëna neex ci Dakar? Ndax am nga fenn ci dëkk bi foo sopp walla foo bëgga dëkk, te su amee, mën nga nu wax lutax? Maangi leen di gërëm bu baax ci seen ndimbal. 

Once a bedouine

The Mauritanian tent has found its way to contemporary architecture in Nouakchott. If you stroll the streets of Ksar, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, you will not miss the tent shape in practically every other house. It’s a symbol of a lifestyle in which the movable home is now built in cement and bricks and glass and functions as a fixed space to welcome guests. It’s also a very visible statement telling that the owner of the house has roots in the desert. 

Anyone who has been to the desert knows the soothing effect a tent can provide against the scorching sun and hot winds, and how it allows you to feel the evening breeze on your skin when the walls of the tent have been rolled up. You can now find that same effect also in the city: some restaurants and cafés such as the famous La Palmeraie has made their own modern interpretation of the tent part of the attraction in their already very inviting garden and terrace. Some designs – usually it’s the simple and practical ones – are just meant to last and in Mauritania the tent is definitely one of them.

It’s all about sand

Varess is a small oasis village close to Mhairith (أمحيرث) and hardly available for a virtual visit on Google Maps. As a prelude to the urban Nouakchott, where you see signs of nomadic lifestyle even in contemporary housing, I wanted to share a couple of photographs from this region where dates are produced and where the housing is amazingly practical and ecological. Here the buildings are designed either for a permanent occupation or more often for temporary shelter for the workers who live here during the harvest season. Everything is build from what you get from the surroundings and with very basic purpose: to provide shelter from sun, wind and sand. This is a very rocky environment, and yet there is also sand that moves and it does so constantly. You don’t necessarily want to fight it and so you build stone walls with holes in it that allow the sand pass through rather than make the sand pile up against the wall and eventually break it.

Then of course you have the traditional Mauritanian tents, another very practical invention for people on the move. Even tents have found their way to the city environment in various ways – more about that next!

Vernacular Addis

If you need a break from the buzz from Addis and its high rising buildings and construction sites, go to Zoma Museum in Mekanisa. It’s a very relaxing haven of interesting vernacular and ecological architecture with a garden and a restaurant, all in one package.

When I visited the place there were a lot of men chiseling stone so it felt that we were in a sound piece, surrounded by false banana plants and ginger. These dizzying forms of housing made out of mud, cow dung, straw and other organic materials in very detaled patterns added to the lovely strangeness of the experience. There were even cows! Well, naturally.

Zoma Museum is open every day except Mondays and has a gallery, library, children’s center, “edible garden”, restaurand & café, elementary school, art and vernacular school, amphitheatre and a museum shop. 

Ngor Village

This is not only about sheep living right next to me and whom I could literally feed from my living room, but also about how crammed Ngor has become in the past 10 years. The fishermen’s village was always densely built with sandy narrow alley ways. And it still has its charm: have a walk here and you are truly in another world as there are no cars, only humans and animals. As families are not getting any smaller, this village has been and is growing upwards. Yes, you could call this a village but according to the Senegalese standards it’s rather urban: just five minutes’ walk away from Route de Ngor, a very busy artery road that connects Ngor to the Corniche in the south and west and Yoff in the east. The sheep in the photograph were on the 2nd floor of the building right next to mine. These days you can consider yourself lucky if you see from your window anything else than the wall of the neighboring house, or another window. As far as this particular building is concerned, some ten years back I could still see the ocean from the rooftop . 

“Ngor garage” in the eastern part of the village still has a little bit more space, but for how long?