Pink lake

In Senegal, there is a lake of unusual color - bright pink. The impression is that potassium permanganate was poured into it. The water in this lake is so salty that dwell there can only be one kind of organism, which gives the color.

Locals earn that whole day draw salt from the lake bottom. Work is quite heavy, but by African standards he paid bearable.

Pink lake Pink lake

Amazing unusual color of the water and boats, boats ... They are located throughout the two-kilometer coastline of the Pink Lake, or Lake Retba - as it is called in the language of the Wolof people, the largest ethnic group of Senegal.

Pink lake

These boats, punts are very similar to our Russian. But here they are not used for fishing or for the transport of hay, they do not swim in a nearby village. Senegalese in this lake, they serve only for salt production.

Pink lake

The fact that today is called Retba lake, was once a lagoon. But gradually the Atlantic surf and sand pan out in the end duct, which connects the lagoon to the ocean, I was asleep. For a long time Retba remained unremarkable salt lake. But in the 70-ies of the last century in Senegal struck a series of droughts, Retba much became shallow and salt extraction, a thick layer lies at the bottom, has become quite profitable.

Pink lake

It is now working people standing up to their shoulders in water, and twenty years ago by Rose Lake swam and went - there was water up to his waist. However, producing annually about twenty-five thousand tons of salt, people rapidly deepen the lake. In some places its bottom has dropped very significantly - by three meters and more.

Pink lake

The lake water has acquired a pink tint thanks to microorganisms that are able to exist in a saturated salt solution. Besides them other organic life in Retba not - for algae, not to mention the fish, the salt concentration such disastrous. It is almost one and a half times higher than in the Dead Sea - three hundred and eighty grams per liter ...

Pink lake

The scientific explanation of the unusual color of the water decided to find Microbiologist Bernard Oliver. The lake is inhabited by micro-organism Dunaliella salina, which absorbs sunlight and emits the color pigment.

Pink lake

Because of dredging soon removing salt the old fashioned way is no longer possible, and the Senegalese authorities face the challenge of feeding the army of employment around the lake miners and traders. But as long as every morning, dozens of half-naked men, taking simple equipment, swim in the middle of the lake, put the boat on the joke and climbing into an incredibly salty water ...

Pink lake

The brine is capable of such a concentration of about half an hour to eat into the skin to such an extent that the deposition of poorly healing ulcers. So, before you get into the boat, miners rubbed with oil. It is obtained from the fruit of shea, it is called in scientific butirosperma Park ... It is this oil makes their bodies glisten in the sun ...

Pink lake

First loosen the salt on the bottom, and only then, blind under water is applied to the cart. Out of the basket, allowing the excess to drain the water, it is transferred to a boat ... It seems that under the weight of such a piece of plate should go down - but a dense brine reliably keeps it afloat. The main thing to remember from time to time to bail out of the boat flows down from the salt water. To fill such a salt boat - here it is called cake - good employees need three hours. Over time, he has to deliver to the shore three pies.

Pink lake

Remove the salt from the lake bottom men ... However, in the process of salt extraction and women involved. Men just pick up from the bottom of the salt, and all further operations carried out by women, often very young, almost a girl ... They dragged salt in plastic basins on shore and dump it there to dry. This work is, perhaps, no better male - Full pelvis pulls kilograms per twenty to twenty-five ... But in Africa, few people take up issues of female and child labor ...

Pink lake

Just extracted salt has a grayish hue. Therefore, allowing to dry, the women washed and sorted it to remove the silt and sand ... From the small hills, each of which stuck plaque with the owner's name, refined salt pour into the general heap, three-kilometer ridge stretching along the shores of the Pink Lake ... In them she was a year or two waiting for wholesale customers - during which time the salt under the tropical sun manages to fade and become completely white. Salt, which is mined here such primitive methods are exported to countries in Africa and, as the exotic, even in Europe. Themselves Senegaleses salt content obtained by industrial methods of seawater.

Pink lake

For pyatidesyatikilogrammovy bag wholesalers pay thirty cents. Cake holds approximately five hundred kilograms. It turns out that for a day of hard labor the worker receives only nine dollars. But by African standards it's good money. Lake Retba even go migrant workers from neighboring countries - Mali, Guinea, Gambia, Upper Volta ... for more than two or three years, they usually do not stay here. Otherwise, you may become disabled. Senegalese immigrants themselves to hard workers look down. They earn their living more "skilled" labor - buying and reselling of salt, as guides and bodyguards accompany Europeans who come to see the miracle of nature - the lake, the water is colored like blood ...

Pink lake

The curious tourists strive to look into the village where the salt miners live. It is located right there, on the shore. On the question of the name of the place, the residents say: "Yes, after all, just a village" ... live here no less than three thousand people. Even across the street cars, old, almost all cars in the country.

Pink lake

The dwellings in the village are made of the material at hand: the growing cane nearby, polyethylene film, old tires ... say about such a building "shack", it means much flatter. However, in this climate anything more capital is not required - at home meant to protect its inhabitants, not from the cold and from the sun, and in the late summer - early autumn, heavy rains ...

The same tires are used in place of manhole log cabins - such wells in the village four. In Europe, the turbid, salty-tasting water would not, perhaps, be used even for technical purposes, and here drink and cook food on it - the other is not present. Almost can not see around the village and grazing goats, although the Senegalese peasants bred them in abundance. Beans corn yes - that is the main food of salt miners ...

The conditions in which they live African migrant workers, desperate. But themselves inhabitants of these huts belong to the squalor around them as something completely normal. They do not live here and come to work - from morning till night to extract salt from Rose Lake, which is so admired by those strange Europeans.