The backhoe moves back and forth. On the beach, in the already high Essaouira sun, the masonry machine, in its steel mouth, carries heaps of sand to be deposited a few meters away at the water’s edge. A surreal ballet that seems endless.
For the city’s small Christian cemetery, whose wall adjoins the perimeter, communion is nonetheless essential. The sand dunes, which are formed according to the strong winds, and the trade winds, which sweep through the ancient Portuguese stronghold, threaten the place frequently. This time, fortunately, the situation was taken in time. Before the sand penetrates the wall and covers everything from the inside.
In the fall of 2020, when sand covered the graves,
“The dredger had to maneuver for 64 hours to push it out to sea. And this is not counting the weeks of work to remove twice, the dredge inside, the volume of which can be estimated at 300 or 400 m3”, Details of Gilles Texier, President of the Association for the Restoration and Conservation of the Christian Cemetery of Essaouira (Arecce).
The sand problem appears outside the unassuming blue wooden door. Away, too, is the elevated enclosure of the adjoining Jewish cemetery, whose clearing every three or four months is overseen by Albert Knafu, its volunteer director, and the upkeep is funded entirely by media rabbi David Pinto.
Essaouira (except for its old city,