Al Baraka School, Nouakchott, Mauritania

The seventh grade students from Al Baraka School in Nouakchott, Mauritania present their school and way of life.

Mauritania is a large country with a population of 3 million.  Our country is an Islamic republic.  This means that it is a country where almost everyone is Muslim.   It is a very hot country and it is almost entirely desert. Our school is located in the capital city, Nouakchott.  It is a private school.  The name Al Baraka means luck in Arab.

We are in elementary school.  School here starts at 7 years old and continues for 6 years.  At the end we must pass an exam to be able to enter secondary school.  There are 35 students per class and several students share a single desk.  The girls sit on one side of the room and the boys sit on the other.  We are lucky because the students in public school have around 50 students per class and the girls and boys each have their own separate classes.  We clean our classrooms ourselves.

We have classes Sunday to Thursday and the weekend is Friday (prayer day) and Saturday.  Our school day goes from 8:30 a.m. Until 2 p.m. with only a small break at 10:45 a.m.  After school we go home to eat, help with chores around the house and play with our friends.

Classes in French: Math, French, Science, Art, Physical Education

Classes in Arab: Tarbia (religion), Arab, Geography, History, Civic Education

School is not mandatory, but for us it is very important to go.  It is necessary to learn because then we will be able to find work and help our parents (provide food and care).

Here we can throw whatever we want in the street, spit, wash, and make a mess. 

In Mauritania the men wear a dara (a large boubou with a slit) over sarouels (baggy pants) and a turban (a large scarf that offers protection from the sun, sand and dust).  The women wear the veil with a dress.  Starting in eighth grade the girls wear a headscarf at school (not mandatory but recommended).

We go grocery shopping in small stores that sell everything or in open air markets.  We can go alone to do the shopping. 


What sport or activity do you do outside of school?
Abdoulaye, 9 years old: Internet in a cybercafé.
Dienaba, 10 years old:

What is your favorite food?
Abdoulaye: Soupoukandié (smoked fish with rice, palm oil and okra).
Dienaba: Chicken salad.

What is your favorite game?
Abdoulaye: Football (soccer) with friends. 
Dienaba: Playstation.

What is your favorite animal?
Abdoulaye: Cat.
Dienaba: Sheep.

What subject do you prefer? 
Abdoulaye: Math. 
Dienaba: Grammar.

What do you want to be when you grow up?  
Abdoulaye: Doctor in France.
Dienaba: Aviator.

You can ask the students and their teachers questions by writing to:

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