A boy in white clothes came walking through the desert and said “Bienvenue a la Mauritanie!”.

He proceeded to exchange all our dirhams for Mauritanian ouguiya and helping us with the formalities. We needed to get visas for ourselves and insurance for the cars. This was done by filling out the forms, waiting in line, paying the fees and adding a number of small bribes.

I always felt that corruption is a bad thing for all people involved. It makes your hands dirty. I don’t like it but I accept like I have to accept many things in Africa because it is this way and I can’t change it. Hopefully it will go away, someday. The racism, the corruption, the poverty.

There were no fewer than three controls at the border station where their main concern seemed to be if we had any alcohol in the car. Totally forbidden in Mauritania. In reality, they were only looking for more bribes,. I am happy to report that we never paid any bribes for this reason. Nor did they find my 18 yr old Knockando single malt, or the two beer cans and casket of wine we also carried.

We gave the boy who had helped us a real leather football as a gift. I then calculated he had made over 25000 ouguiya or €90 in the currency exchange. Not bad for a young enterprising Mauritanian boy.