M is for Mauritania.

This country, with a long coastline onto the Atlantic Ocean, rich in mineral wealth should be one of the success stories of the African continent, but instead it’s one of the poorest countries in the world, high up on all the lists of things that aren’t very good, human slavery probably higher here than anywhere else in the world… and yet, I loved the place.

After almost two years of working here I’d made some great friends but never ceased to feel sickened by the corruption that exists throughout the whole country.


The rubbish piles up after the French company that had the contract pulled out due to non payment. The money is there, it was budgeted for, where did it go?


The ubiquitous African goat, they are everywhere, and as all over the world, they eat anything.


An everyday traffic hazard in Nouakchott.


The sartorial style here is always colourful.


Brand new (55 years ago). Africans are always excellent mechanics, but here in Mauritania I think they’re the best I’ve ever seen.


Beggars are everywhere, as in many places around the world, but at least here they don’t insist and are never aggressive. One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen was here. I was up on the roof of the office, having a look round through my binoculars when I saw a young mother (and I do mean young) with her two children. She was giving them a wash, in a muddy puddle on the side of a busy road.

I loved Mauritania, a country of real polar opposites, incredible poverty sat alongside unimaginable wealth. The people were amongst the friendliest I’ve ever met anywhere in the world, they have almost nothing but would give it to you. I just found it so sad to see a country with so much possibility reduced to such a woeful state.

The letter M was bought to you by: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/


About bobleponge216

Elderly rotund toothless male seeks wilderness to travel to.
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4 Responses to M is for Mauritania.

  1. Corruption is a real problem in so many places, but I noticed it most in West Africa.
    Very sadly, it’s only a few steps down the road from the Thatcherite “what’s in it for me?” ethos, and not too far from the surface, everywhere you look.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alex Hurst says:

    Wow… what kind of work were you doing there? You’re right; it’s a very intense country, but it seems to be the way that those people with little to nothing to their name are always the most generous. I’m glad that you were able to make some friends while you were there.

    Liked by 1 person

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