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Published: September 23rd 2006
This is me after being crammed into a "Sept Place" taxi for almost 5 hours. On the "bac" (ferry) waiting to make the final leg of the journey across the Saloum River to Foundiougne.....where the mosquitoes were waiting for me.
The Ginger Starts to Wilt
I knew that it was going to be humid. I knew that it was going to be very hot. And I knew that there would be mosquitoes - lots of them. But I really hadn't quite prepared myself for Foundiougne in the rainy season.
I remember sitting in the solarcentury office in London back in July as the temperature hit 34.9°C and everyone wilted. I remember trying not to complain, knowing only too well that it was just a gentle introduction to what I’d be facing in West Africa. I probably came across a little smug as my face betrayed thoughts of the adventures that lay ahead for me. Well, to all on the first and second floors of solarcentury in London, I apologise. Foundiougne is my atonement !
It's barely 10am in Foundiougne and already, despite sitting with my face pressed dangerously close to the unprotected blades of an ancient fan shaking and whining at full power, my shirt is already drenched, the mosquitoes (who should surely be at home asleep by now or at least talking about their night’s exploits with their friends and loved ones - if anyone or anything
The last ferry of the day
It leaves for Foundiougne at 6.30 sharp and you can see cars and busses a mile away racing along the rain destroyed roadtrying to get there in time.
loves a mosquito that is) are bouncing around my ankles totally ignoring the gallons of almost pure DEET I’ve been applying liberally, my face is burning (how on earth can you tell if you have a fever here ?) and my head is spinning. I have a meeting with the director of WAAME in a few minutes and I look like I’ve just spent half an hour in the steam room fully clothed. I’m a mess!
If you know solarcentury, imagine the worst possible hot, still and humid summer day on the first floor in the office in Lower Marsh. Next, close all the windows and doors and put on a couple of jumpers. Then switch off all of the fans, turn up the under floor heating just for the hell of it, ban Neil and Rod from buying ice creams for everyone and cut off the supply of fresh water. If you can imagine that, then you’re getting close to Foundiougne this morning. I’m assured gleefully by my guide Jean-Pierre Faye, dressed in long black trousers, thick T shirt, what looks like a Millets winter padded long sleeved shirt, thick dark socks and heavy black shoes that it’s
Another Storm Brewing
Huge storms seem to boil up from nowhere bringing with them winds, waves and more wet stuff.
going to get hotter. “N’inquiètes pas, ça va être plus frais a partir de Novembre”. I leave on the 7th of November!
Even the breeze, when it finally manages to drag the salty air screaming from, the sandy delta plains, brings little relief. A hot hand drier blast of warm humid air, covering my skin with salty droplets which mingle with and become indistinguishable from my own sweat.
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