After a year of pandemic, the thwarted destinies of the employees of the Wild Cantine

By Marie Aline

Posted today at 5:07 p.m.

It is 3 p.m. this Thursday, May 6. Diacrao Bathily wakes up from a nap in the studio in Villejuif (Val-de-Marne) that he has been sharing with his cousin for a few months. In a sleepy voice, the 32-year-old recounts the moment he learned of the reopening of restaurants from May 19 for the terraces and then from June 9 for the rooms after more than six months of closure. He was having the only meal of his day. “We were at the hostel with friends eating a mafé. We heard the news and, there, I felt enormous joy. I didn’t show any of my emotions because there were people around me. But, all of a sudden, the mafé seemed really super good to me. And then, immediately, doubt set in. Am I really going to work again? ”

A staff decor sculptor when he lived in Tunisia, this great Soninke traveler from Mali had been a waiter at the Cantine sauvage for two months when the second confinement was announced. He lost his job overnight. The galley, he knows and he doesn’t like it. “When I’m not working, it’s like I’m nothing. ” Inactive, he begins to think about his father’s death when he was young, when his mother relied on him to support the home, his failure at school, his broken life. Diacrao Bathily had devised a simple strategy to forget all this: travel the world and work like crazy. So this Covid-19 year is a real ordeal. He has already lost his post as room clerk in a Parisian nightclub in March 2020. Finding himself once again on the floor, no longer being able to feel this electricity that runs through him when he walks the immense hall of the Plaine Saint-Denis, it is not a death. heart is agony.

A unique place to live in the Plaine Saint-Denis

Located on avenue du Président-Wilson, three kilometers after the Porte de la Chapelle, along the national 1, the Cantine sauvage is a 1,500 square meter shed where a gigantic kitchen, a pastry-bakery laboratory, a shop, a dining room that can usually accommodate up to 350 people seated, a stock of antiques, another of perishables and drinks for the bar. A place of life hard hit by the pandemic less than a year after its opening, in 2019, which speaks of the fragility and resilience of the social fabric of a department, Seine-Saint-Denis, the most affected by the Covid- 19 with an increase in mortality of 25% over the year 2020 compared to the 2015-2019 average.

You have 88.93% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.