When I open my bedroom shutters, ready to be blinded by the African sun, I’m met by a strange orange haze covering the sky. Across the waters of the Senegal River delta, dust from the Sahara slowly rolls in, leaving a thin layer throughout the village as it reaches the Atlantic Ocean, where the dry Harmattan winds carry it further across the globe. Walking through Saint-Louis gives me a glimpse of how the Sahara, the Africans and the French came together in a place and decided on the pace of life in this part of the world.
You can only imagine the grandeur of the colonial era, as nowadays many buildings have fallen prey to deterioration, housing large Senegalese families that don’t have the means to restore the tattered walls, crumbling roofs and chipped layers of paint.
On the edge of the town a boy stands in the river, washing his horse and carriage. As he greets me in Wolof and looks at me flustered when I reply in French, I know we’ll never grasp each other’s words. He signals if I want a ride into town. I decide not to, a choice I regret still, as he would have been able to take me deeper into life on this intriguing island.