For these Senegalese women, this outside pottery workshop is their ultimate meeting place where they spend most days working with their hands.
In the village of Cassamance, in the south of the country, pottery is a tradition and art.
The knowledge is handed down from generation to generation.
And Arocky Coly, a woman in her 70s, is the guardian of the pottery temple.
“I have been here for over 20 years. I started with my elders but they can’t come anymore due to their advanced age, others have even died. But we hardly gain anything in our work,” She said.
“Sometimes we produce a lot of vases that end up breaking. But that does not discourage us. As long as I am still alive, I will continue to support the younger ones. “
Today it is with a sense of duty that Arocky sees things evolving.
In addition to pottery, these women are now engaged in processing fruit, producing soap and making clay stoves.
Getting it off the ground
But with limited resources, the small business they have set up is struggling to get off the ground.
“We are still struggling to find funding. We don’t have any at the moment. Those who trained us did their best. They funded the oven, but that’s it. However, if we had had funding, it would have enabled us to make our work more profitable. That’s all we want,” said Khady Mane, President of the Women’s Association.
Finding a market remains a big problem and inevitably there are difficulties in getting the right equipment.
“We don’t have enough materials. When it comes to stoves, for example, there are three essential machines that we still miss,” Mane said.
“If we had had them, they would have helped us a lot because here we use wood a lot, especially for cooking. In addition, I appeal to the inhabitants of the village to join us in order to better develop this business.”
For these women, the greatest ambition is creating jobs.
But the main source of income for the natural village rich in luscious beaches and forests is fishing and subsistence farming.