Impressions of Dakar, Senegal

Personal
2

My first trip to Africa was my October visit to Senegal, on the west coast. I spent most of the time working at a conference held at the Le Meridien, but was able to get out a few times to see little bits of the city. My lasting impressions are of friendly, funny people; tall, slender women in colorful robes and headcloths; cold showers; hot, sticky weather; goats being led on leashes thru city streets; tents sheltering gigantic sheep in advance of the Muslim Tabaski holiday; goats and children sifting through trash heaps.

 

Img_0080

A market in the heart of downtown Dakar. Pictured here is the fruit and vegetable section. As you went deeper into the center of the market, we found stacks of whole fish, lamb carcasses and large cuts of meat.

 

Img_0062

The African Renaissance Monument, 160-feet high and the most dominant feature of the Dakar skyline. Controversial among the Senegalese because of its $27 million price tag and the decidedly unmodest attire of the woman. 

Img_0057

Senghor Airport

Img_0079

Senegalese government building; fairly typical looking in terms of maintenance.

Img_0058

Beach near Le Meridien.

Img_0065

View of Dakar from the base of the African Renaissance monument. A local told me that much of the land is under state control. The current President is widely viewed as refusing to step down when he should. Senegal has for years been held up as an example of a stable, African democracy, but that image will be put to a test when the current President runs for his third term using a loophole to get around two-term limits.

It may sound trite but visiting Senegal gave me a greater appreciation for the amenities we enjoy in the United States, like reliable power supplies, sanitary water supplies, clean streets. 

 

For me it was the donkey carts-with the drivers talking on cell phones, as a symbol of the dichotomy in their culture. I agree that we need the reminder of fresh water and electricity readily available, and be thankful of this.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Personal
Possibility in a pot

Depending on the light and my mood, the potted cacti and succulents on my front porch resemble either the strange skyline of a science fiction city or the motley cast of characters in Star Wars’ Chalmun’s Cantina. A tangle of golden snake cactus, the opuntia’s sugar-dusted flat pancakes, and the meaty …

Oklahoma
Robber’s Cave social experiments

Summer camp is not just a rite of passage, but also a fine social experiment in making friends, overcoming homesickness and trying new things. A week at summer camp in Robber’s Cave State Park in Oklahoma’s Sans Bois Mountains when I was 12 brought me a fascination with Belle Starr the Bandit Queen, …

Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Girl Scout murders

The summer of my eighth birthday was overshadowed by a grisly crime made all the more harrowing because of its child victims. On a humid and rainy Sunday in June 1977, the idyllic memories of summer camp I had shared with my friends shattered into shards of horror when three …