SCHWIMMEN LERNEN / POOL PIECE video, 19min, 2006 Reopening. Port Boué, Côte d'ivoire. 2005
I am a tourist. The water is warm enough to stay in it for hours. The waves are big enough to make you loose your orientation while your in them when they turn you around in breaking on the beach. The grains of sand are huge compared to the ones I know. This size is an advantage, it causes the sand to be soft, as it is shifting as soon as you fall. Tossed around by the waves you hit the sand, but it doesn't harm you. Walking on it is slower and you need more force than on the baltic sea.
The beach belongs to a hotel that has been abandoned before being opened some twenty years ago. About one hundred persons are living on the property. They collect the waste and sell drinks on the beach. The beach is guarded every afternoon during the week and on weekends there are life guards from 11am to 7 pm. The inhabitants pay them with part of the entry fees collected at the doors of the hotel compound. Some five
persons are saved from drowning and reanimated each saturday and sunday.
A row of ten or more persons occasionally runs against the waves holding each other by the hands. Or they sit in an equally long row behind each other their arms holding the breast of the person in front. They wait for a wave that is big enough to shift the whole line-up. The ghanese can swim, they learn it because it's them who go fishing. Fishing is not considered a profession that suits an ivorian.
If you are not from Ghana and you know how to swim you come from a rich family.
Behind the first two rows of waves you start to feel the torrent of the ocean. The sea is too strong to start to learn swimming it. 150 meters from the shore there are two things that were supposed to become swimming pools. There is a multitude of frogs, insects, bacteria and others living in these pools. One has a depth of three meters, the other 70 centimeters. A person less than 70 centimeters tall most likely still has the ability to swim.