Dream team

Here’s the team!

I’m painting here in Mauritania with my friend Dudu (left) who’s on his 10th episode of #ShareTheWordProject . He’s known in slums around the world for his acute precision, his organisation, his amazing arithmetics and dealing with drunken gang members.

I’m also with my brother عبد المالك / Abdul Malek (right), who’s on his 5th episode of the project. His strengths are his energy, his capacity to stay calm in any situation, his extraordinary enthusiasm and his fist fighting skills that have thankfully never come in handy until this day.

Fatmatou – شباب

Fatmatou – 15 years old – chose the word “شباب” (pronounced “Shabaab” and meaning “Youth” in arabic).

Over 61% of Mauritania’s population is under 25 and in the slums of Nouakchott that figure might even be bigger. This means that the streets are vibrant with kids playing with footballs, sticks or tires.

This word is for all the youth, teenagers like Fatmatou and the younger kids that the teenagers look after while the parents are busy.

Umu – أصدقاء

Umu chose the word “أصدقاء” (“Friends” in Arabic). Umu’s house gives onto a small square lined with wooden barracks in which other families lives. She loves having so many friends living close to her and using the square as their playground.

As often, her word resonates with me since I’m doing this project with my 2 helpers Dudu and Abdul Malek who I’ve been friends with for over 17 years.

Zaatar – Nouakchott

Zaatar is the neighbourhood we’ve chosen to work in for this new episode of Share The Word Project.

It’s a sandy stretch of land in the East of Noukchott with a few salty marshes. Very few trees grow here because of the salt in the ground. Families have built houses with wood from pallets and iron sheets that come from used barrels. The driest marchlands are used as open spaces where kids play and goats roam.

Majad wanted me to take a picture of him wearing his swimming cap which he’s very proud of.

Eshatou – نافة

Eshatou (25 years old) chose the word “نافة“ (pronounced “naqah” and meaning a female camel). Eshatou loves camel milk and drinks it every morning and evening. She also enjoys riding camels when she has the opportunity. Camels are a big part of the culture in the Sahara and Sahel regions, and particularly in Mauritania which is home to more the 1 million camels!