By Janinka Lutze (NFJD) & Youssoupha Traore (Young Naturefriends Senegal)

In September 2017, a group of Young Naturefriends from Senegal travelled to Germany for a two-week exchange hosted by the German Young Naturefriends. The meeting was organized under the topic “SDG 12 – Sustainable Consumption”. Altogether, a group of 28 Naturefriends visited several environmentally-friendly projects in 3 German cities (Berlin, Frankfurt and Hannover), including a zero-package-store, a give-away store, a waste management station, a bio-farm and other projects connected to consumption, trade and production-chains.

The second part of the German-Senegalese exchange took place from 25 March to 8 April 2018. This time, 13 German Young Naturefriends enjoyed the hospitality of the Senegalese Naturefriends. Again the topic was Sustainable Consumption and it included visits to 3 cities (Dakar, Louga and St. Louis) as well as the small town Djiadjum close to a National Park.

The following pictures will give a little impression of the sights visited, activities as well as life during the time spend together in Senegal.    

Kellé from home!

Group picture in front of the Naturefriends house in Dakar. This is the only Naturefriends house on the African continent and was home to us for about a week.

“From where No travel returns

On the second day we visited the island of Gorée just a 20min boat ride from Dakar. It was one of the first harbours during the time of slavery. It was very moving and difficult to understand why people do those things to each other. This was one of the houses were slaves were kept and in the background you can see „the door of no return“, where the people were shipped to America.

We can forgive but we can never forget!

Fun on a heap of salt

At the “Pink Lake” we were impressed. The salty water and organic material in it make the lake look pink in the sun light. And all around the bank were heaps of salt extracted from the lake. We took pleasure climbing on the very high heaps of salt as well as taste it. And on the top we profited from the very amazing and even magic pink view that the lake offers. For most of us who saw the lake for the first time it was a magic moment. A lake with pink water! It is not something we see every day.

Naturefriends inside “Pink Lake”

Some of us swam in that pink water and enjoyed it. The water was so salty that the swimmers were floating.

The eroding Sea

Mamadou Mbodj (vice-president of Naturefriends international) gave us a tour on the beach at Petit Mbao. He showed us how much the ocean has already advanced towards the town. It has swallowed almost the area of the old town of Petit Mbao. Where the town ended towards Dakar is where the coast lay now. Another big problem is all the trash on the coast

Rufisque shore

Just a few meters away from the trashed beach of Petit Mbao is the beach of Rufisque. Here stones have been build up on the shore to protect the town from erosion.

Vegetable Farming

During the exchange the topic was „sustainable consumption“, so in Senegal we visited several different farmers. The Germans picked their first Tamarinde from trees (middle picture) and we learned a lot about different Senegalese agricultural systems.

The Players

It´s time to play! A Senegalese game where two groups had to find out about a hidden thing (only known by the game master).  

Let’s get wet!

We also had some fun on the beach of the Atlantic Ocean. It was such a joy and everybody was enjoying the water, sand and feeling the freedom and nature.

Hello wild!

Djoud National Park. We had the pleasure to visit this National Park where we saw lots of awesome animals, especially birds as it is also a special protected area for birds. The heat and drought of the area was astonishing but we all enjoyed the nature.

The old crane in St. Louis

 Saint Louis is the first French colonial city in Africa. Opened to the Atlantic Ocean it was a perfect harbour during the time of slavery. The slave ships coming from Europe casted anchor in the coast of the Island of Saint Louis to unload their merchandise and got loaded up of slaves to carry to America. And to support, a vapour crane of twenty tonnes was settled up at Roume quay in the North of the Island of Saint Louis to help unload heavy materials and during the construction of the railway. This steam lifting machine has stayed in an almost perfect state of conservation and now has become one of the most important touristic sites.

The Gordian Knot. Some games and teambuilding by untangling the knot of all group members. 

Village life. We had bonfires, slept outside in a huge tent, brushed our teeth with traditional Senegalese toothbrushes (wood sticks from some local trees), played the German „Topfschlagen“ on Assanes birthday and had some nice walks in the area and nature around.

City life. We spend several days in Dakar, exploring the city and learning about fishery, weaving, Senegalese history and visited the most western point of the African mainland (picture bottom left).