“Our moods shifted when the desert sands started to fade to green. It was quite a mental relief to get away from the constant wind, sand, and sun of the Sahara Desert. It had become physically and mentally exhausting. The waves, the people, and the landscapes are things we’ll never forget, but we were reenergized when we started to see some green on the trees again.”
For this month’s Mizu Mission, we’re checking back in with the Gauchos Del Mar and their journey through Senegal. Remember those guys? They’re the Argentines driving around the entire coast of Africa in a converted German Army Ambulance. A Unimog from 1985. If you haven’t read our first blog post on their adventure yet click HERE.
The Gauchos spent a whole month in Senegal, where the term Teranga seemed to rule the land. Teranga is a word that translates to hospitality. But as the Gauchos explained, it is much more than that for the people of Senegal. “It’s all about putting others first, and sharing everything you have to make others feel welcome. And so this was Senegal: happy days with new friends in Dakar.”
Dakar is the westernmost point on the African mainland and is home to just over 1 million people. It’s also an extremely difficult location to park and camp with a Unimog Truck.
“Luckily, Some fishermen welcomed us at their small bay, which just so happened to have a beautiful left hand wave to surf. We stayed there for a few weeks, catching waves all day and sharing the fisherman’s catch in the evening.” Another perfect surf spot lurked around the corner. “We really couldn’t have asked for a better location surf-wise.”
When the ocean was flat, the Gauchos ventured inland to Lac Rose, a lake known for it’s brilliant pink color. The lake water can climb as high as 40% salt content, and produces algae called Dunaliella Salina which turns the water a brilliant pink. Many locals collect salt from the bottom for work and sell it as a way to preserve fish.
“There we met an amazingly talented musician who the people called Mohammed. He played an hour long set for us on top of a salt mountain. Teranga, we said to each other again. We were really starting to like this place.”
The Gauchos continued south towards Guinea Bissau. They watched women work under heavy and almost impossible conditions as they dry-smoked fish for ten hours a day. “They dressed in amazingly colorful outfits, unlike the conditions in which they worked. All day they spent underneath the boiling sun burning fires to dry out the fish with temperatures blazing over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.“ The dried fish were then shipped out to less developed countries in Africa.
Throughout their time in Senegal, the Gauchos got a sense of how important living Teranga and living off of the land was for the local people. From the fishermen to the salt farmers, everyone was sharing a piece of it and expecting nothing in return. As the Gauchos make their way around the African continent, they wish to soak in as many of these cultural values as possible while leaving as small of an impact as they can. For this reason, we’re excited to share their story as a Mizu Mission.
Explore more Mizu Missions:
Mizu Mission: Everest With Anton Nelson
Mizu Mission: Iceland With Laurens De Smet
Mizu Mission: European Trails With Francesa Weikert And Blaine Gallivan
Mizu Mission: New Zealand With Salty Davenport
Mizu Mission: Africa With The Gauchos Del Mar