Fadiouth: the Shell Island

Fadiothe (pronounced Fadiot) Island is made entirely of shells! People collect clams, eat the meaty part, throw the shells on the ground. Over thousands of years, an island of shells formed and rose out of the water. The ground is made of shells, houses are built with shells, people still collect, eat and create with shells. There are no motorized vehicles on the island. You get there and move around on foot, bicycle, human or animal driven carts. Even though Senegal is 90% Muslim, the population of Fadiouth island is 90% Christian and they have 3 churches and 2 mosques on the island. They are a tribal community of about 50000 people and live independent of the state. They announce births, deaths and other occasions by beating drums (each occasion has a drumming code). They resolve conflicts amongst themselves and have trusted elders who act as judges. In low tide, they go out and collect shellfish. In high tide, they use pirogues (kind of boat) to fish. The cemetery, which has a Muslim section is on another shell island, linked to Fadiothe island by a bridge.

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