The Dune of Djembering
10 February 2012
I am overwhelmed by a feeling of fear and anticipation as the pirogue pulls away from Cachouane. Looking at the sacred wood of the cemetery, I ask the ancestors to be with me; giving me strength, courage and guidance as I carry our message to the outside world. I nod my respect to the mangrove: “You are our strength, you are our hope; hold fast!” The words of Haidar haunt me. The dune between Djembering and Nikine is disappearing.
When it is gone the Atlantic will sweep in and wash everything away. We are already losing two metres of coast every year here in Cachouane! I feel a bit like the Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke watching as little holes spring up everywhere, just out of reach. We must create an effective plan of action that can be implemented rapidly in different locales.
As we reach the point where the channel breaks off for Djembering, the mobile rings. It’s Lemagne. I can’t help but laugh. “No, don’t tell me.” This is getting creepy; fourth time we’ve tried, fourth time someone’s died! All the time I’ve been working in the Casamance, I’ve never had my programme blocked by a death! Forget Bouyouye!
It’s not my style to push the energy where it won’t flow. Now I know why I had that odd feeling as we left. We veer towards Djembering and a two-kilometre walk with all our baggage from the end of the creek to the village.