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The documentary from Aïssa Maïga tells the story of the village of Tatiste, whose inhabitants are fighting to gain access to water through the construction of a wellbore. A film praised by critics for its unique and powerful story.
Tatiste. Northern Niger. It is here that for years, an entire village of the community of Peul Wodaabe – one of the last nomadic people in the world – is fighting to save its most precious of possessions – land and water. Due to climate change, the region’s huge dry expanses that are almost lunar-shaped – have become a bit more dry, even though they are originally the result of pastoral farming that’s thousands of years old.
Every day, women and children walk tens of kilometres to go and collect water. At the cost of their education, health and safety. The youngest often miss school to go to the well under exhausting heat and at the risk of being attacked by jihadist groups that are very active in this part of the continent.
Global warming in the vicinity of men and women
However, the region of Azawagh, where rainfall has drastically reduced over the last thirty years, sits on top of a small underground gold mine. Underground, the acquiferous lake holds several millions of cubic metres of water. All that is needed is a wellbore to collect it. The inhabitants will then do everything in order to receive this equipment, despite the technical and administrative obstacles.
The film follows over 4 years the daily life of the young Houlaye, 14, who has to look after her brothers and sisters while her parents go to look for water and fertile pastures in order to graze herds that are increasingly scattered about. It contains neither a voiceover nor an explanatory interview facing the camera in order to enhance this precious story.
It is this story of bravery and resilience that the Malian-Senegalese director Aïssa Maïga tells in her documentary released in cinemas on 10th November 2021 and shown last year at the Cannes film festival. With one objective: show global warming ‘‘on a human level’’, by showing how people’s living conditions have worsened in only a few years.