My first rotation to Mauritania began with me following around another Kinross employee at the Las Palmas airport like a little puppy. Luckily Yaroslava was kind enough to help me. Certainly, would have been stressful if I had to try it the first time alone.
Flight was non-eventful except when I was exiting the plane down the steps and my laptop bag strap caught the hand rail and I almost did a face plant.
The Nouakchott airport is very new and nearly empty. However, on this flight we had a bunch of Spanish business people who were put ahead of me in the queue to get my temporary 30-day work permit. So, one hour later, I made it through the line! The ride from the airport to the office was about 30 minutes and looked more like Arizona than anything else, minus the camels off on the horizon.
From the office, we were taken by van, with two uniformed guards to the apartment compound. I had a choice of living arrangements; the apartment compound, the guest house (which turns out to be a hotel and we go there every day for lunch) or another short-term guest house. I opted for the apartment since it will be my home for two years. Glad I did, it’s a nice one bedroom apartment. No American TV, other than English BBC and CNN. Luckily my Kindle gets to my Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts and I can rent movies. We are basically locked down in the compound unless requesting the van (again with guards) to take us to the guest house for a meal. Hence, the term compound. I immediately noticed that both our office building and apartment compound have no names on the outside. I’m sure this is for security reasons. One of the expats mentioned that she liked the idea that the guards would not take the same route to and from work to “show us something different” …. not, it too is for security.
Day two in the office and I had my security briefing and was given my GPS which I must have on me always unless in my apartment. It comes with a panic button. I am very happy that Kinross takes our security very seriously, even though I do not feel at all intimidated when we are traveling to and from places. Heck of a lot more intimidating walking the 16th Street Mall in Denver, no guards!
Met my team and promised to learn all their names by end of second week, because we have a short-term expat consultant with us who oftentimes makes a joke of their names, which I find insulting. Meanwhile they all call me “Papa”, because they address each other by surnames. They were all pleased when I learned all their names. There is one woman, Lemina.
There is a Canadian expat who started a few days before me and we learned during our security briefing that there were only a few places we can got that are on the approved list, but
we still need to submit a request to go 24 hours before. We decided we wanted to go to the furthest grocery store, so we would get a mini road trip! There’s a picture of camels in this chapter, they were in a field next to the grocery store. We don’t get much of a chance to take pictures. It would be rude to try to take them when we are being transported in the van with the guards. So, for now, my pictures are from the apartment compound, the field next to the grocery store and eventually the beach!
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