She said: 'Women can't have children because of this type of gavage.
The big problem is this often leads to heart failure, repeated heart attacks, rare are the ones who escape.
Morton said he felt sick from the food he was having to consume, a problem often experienced by the Mauretanian women.
But Elhacen denies that her work amounts to child cruelty.
"No, no, it's for their own good," she almost shrieks.
"How will these poor girls find a husband if they're bony and revolting?
" A real concern, as leblouh is linked to another abominable practice: child marriage. "Increasing a girl's size creates the illusion that she's physically mature, that she's ready for a husband," notes Aminetou Moctar, a feisty, pencil-thin woman in her 50s who is chief of the Association of Women Heads of Households, an equal-rights organization in Nouakchott.
Outside, a strong wind whips sand into strange, phantasmagoric shapes.