Sarthe. They tell their seven-day adventure in the middle of the Senegalese desert

rose trip senegal sarthe female solidarity humanitarian trip
For Gwenaëlle, Florence and Julie, residents of Sarthe, this walk of solidarity in the Senegalese desert was “a great lesson in life”. © Julie Mercier

“We want everyone to have this experience at least once in their lives,” say Julie and Florence Mercier.

The two residents i Mezeray (Sarthe) spent a week in Senegalese desertaccompanied by one of their friends, Gwenaëlle Pouteau.

The three adventurers formed the team “Family First”, which participated in the first edition of Rose Trip Senegal. The Solidarity and 100% Women’s Walk was organized from March 30 to April 7, 2022.

A trip below 44 ° C!

Each day on foot, participants had to respect the planned route as best they could. The stages could vary from 12 to 17 km under strong heat.

trek senegal sarthe mézeray humanitarian adventure
The heat did not spare the three participants. © Julie Mercier

On the spot, the thermometer sometimes rose to 44 ° C!

This is the first year that the Senegalese have had such a hot spring.

Florence Mercier

On the way back, it will therefore have taken a few days to get used to Sarthe’s freshness again.

Compass and road book as the only material to find his bearings in the midst of this nothingness, ”each had his task. We coordinated well, ”says Florence.

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Large dunes to cross

Physically, they make no secret of the fact that the tests were sometimes painful.

It was pretty hard. Sometimes we had large dunes to cross on foot.

Nothing to do with the first one solidarity walk to Morocco which Florence had made in 2019 aboard a 4 × 4.

“But in the end, we were still very well thanked by the landscapes,” adds Julie, who will long remember her 25th birthday, celebrated at the venue.

Solidarity women’s team

Every day the teams were ranked. The three sartheis admit it, they did not climb very high.

But we were not there for the competition. We realized that mutual help between women could be strong. Each team had its reasons for being there.

Julie Mercier

At the beginning of this orienteeringa small setback disrupted the organization of trekking.

“The kids from the surrounding villages had fun taking the beacons we were going to pass by,” laughs Florence, sharing the anecdote.

1.5 tons of school supplies collected

In addition to the sporting challenge, two reasons were represented: Pink ribbon to the fight against breast cancer and Eco Solidaire capan association that raises awareness of eco-citizenship.

On the spot, the participants also noticed the strong presence of waste scattered in nature.

They were able to visit a school in the area and noticed the lack of resources compared to the French model.

Meet the locals.
Meet the locals. © Julie Mercier

There is nothing, only clay. The desks are the old school desks with built-in chairs that we saw earlier. All teams participated in the collection of donations to fund the development of new classes. 1.5 tons of school supplies were also collected, which was impressive.

Florence Mercier

Head filled with pictures

Almost a month after their return, Florence and Julie have kept one strong memory of their stay characterized by the simplicity of life and the kindness of the inhabitants.

Mother and daughter each have images that stick in their minds. First, these are dunes out of sight. Second, the crescent moon that we discovered at night.

The funny thing is that over there it is horizontal and not vertical as at home.

The simple life of a bivouac

The two sartheis were particularly affected by the reception given on the spot. Although life in the bivouac remains simple, “we were very well received, worthy of a four star”.

In the evening, to relax after a hard day’s run, large mats were laid on the sand for a training session. yoga in the middle of desert.

At night ”surveillance was ensured to prevent the jackals from getting too close camp“.

Today, far from the soothing desert landscapes, Florence and Julie have resumed the hectic pace of everyday life.

At the moment, they have no plans to try another humanitarian adventure. “It was a big lesson in life,” they write at the end of their story.

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