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Photographer's Note

For the last several years tens of thousands of Africans have dared the dangerous waves of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, dreaming of getting into the European Union to create better lives for themselves, their families and sometimes even for their whole villages. Thousands have died before they reached the Canary Islands, southern Italy or Greece.
It's from beaches like this, at Saint-Louis in northern Senegal, that the open wooden boats set out for Europe. Boats like those in the background of this picture can take up to a hundred people, crammed together with no protection against the waves or the sun.
The people on this picture have no direct connection with the wave of migrants, as far as I know. They are mending their fishing-nets or just contemplating on life, watching the sea. But who knows what thoughts they had in mind? African small scale fishing has difficult times because trawlers from Europe, Russia or Japan take almost every fish available. And going back to their villages to grow cotton is not much of an option, because it's not easy for African producers to compete on a world market dominated by subsidised American cotton and protective European and American customs.
This picture from 1990 is scanned from a Kodachrome slide.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3365 W: 298 N: 7017] (37231)
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