Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A lifeline through the desert

Here's a fascinating short film (about 10 minutes long) from National Geographic about the trans-Sahara railway in Mauritania.  There's some great cinematography, but the story itself is one of commercial transformation in the midst of age-old tradition.

We forget how something as simple as a railway line can transform a culture, and perhaps a nation, over time.  However, it can only do so much.  At present, parts of Mauritania are plagued by the same instability and terrorism that are affecting the rest of the Sahel.  Clearly, despite operating since 1963, the Mauritania Railway hasn't changed that.



Old NFO said...

Not a panacea when the natives won't do anything to better themselves.

drjim said...

Yup! People here get annoyed by the freight trains running right through the middle of downtown, but forget that the city wouldn't be like it is if the train didn't come through here in the 1850's!

But it did, and they used it to improve their lot, and the area.