Pretty much every weekend, husband and I go plogging in our neighbouring forest. Sometimes students are tagging along, sometimes members of the public help. We once even had a soldier from the close-by military compound giving us a bin bag and saying thank you.
This is actually what most people do – watching what we do and then saying thanks. So, somehow information about us and our hobby found its way all up to the townhall where at the beginning of April we met Oran’s mayor and some notables, who are also fighting against illegal cutting down of trees.
The mayor expressed how grateful he and the city of Oran were for our contribution to keep this little patch of green clean and our school’s managing director translated. We were then presented with a certificate of appreciation and a handmade tile, which was beautiful. Tile-making is a local tradition.
From the townhall we went to a near-by privately run museum about the fight for independence from France. There was a connection to our local forest too, because it had been a venue for executions of resistance fighters. There are apparently still trees which have bullets lodged in them.
It was a lovely morning and a great surprise. We’re both very happy that litter-picking is such an appreciated pastime and would be even happier if it wasn’t necessary. However, things being the way they are, in the afternoon we went for a plog and we’ll keep on doing so.
We were not an official team for World Cleanup Day because the person I had contacted, well, didn’t seem to care much about cleaning away all the rubbish or to actually be involved. So my husband, some friends and I went out into the forest next to where we live to do our bit (which we do pretty much every weekend anyway).
We spent about two hours cleaning away plastic bottles and bottle tops, wrappers, wet wipes and vast quantities of styrofoam. We were seven to begin with, but some members of the public decided to join us on the spot and helped to collect rubbish and to carry it out of the forest.
The photos are maybe a bit odd because it was overcast, late in the afternoon and I wore gloves. But anyway, we had fun and did something good.
During the Christmas holiday, we thought we’d follow what every Algerian tells you to do on a day off – go to the beach. So, we went to the beach near Kristel which had been recommended by a student.
The beach was rocky, not sandy, but the weather was nice and we were almost alone apart from some anglers.In the background, on the left is the plateau where we usually go for our afternoon strolls. In the middle is smog-covered Oran and some ships and on the right is the hill with the Fort Santa Cruz (more about which in a soonish to follow post).
I find it extraordinary that people here tell me all the time how much they love the beach and when you get there, it looks like this: Plastic bags, bottles, bits of fishing nets and fishing lines, plus other stuff. We have now bought some gloves, so next time we’ll go anywhere it’s a beach/forest clean!
Even more remarkable under these conditions was the presence of some birds. We saw Common Sandpiper, Little Egret, Black Wheatear, Sandwich Tern and lots of gulls. The tide was low which gave us a chance to admire the rock pools, too.