Agence Future Travel log 3.2: Africa - Dakar
In Dakar, Bram's nephew Joep and his partner Lieve as well as their friends welcomed us warmly. We stayed more than two weeks in their house in the European residential area of the capital of Senegal. We used this time to adapt to our new environment and to conduct six specialist interviews.
Dakar impressed us a lot with its smells and sights so different from what we know in Europe. Ambulant salespeople with goods under their arms or on their head fill the town, dust covers everything, colourful vans for public transport jam the roads. It were the last weeks before the Islamic sheep offering festival of Tabaski, so flocks of beautiful, healthy rams were all around. The guardians of the houses in the Fann residential area helped us understand some of the local habits and rituals. Sitting around their gas stove, preparing tea, they talked with us about their sometimes impossible dreams for the future.
Our first expert interview took place at the University Anta Diop with the international relations officer Omar Sarr. He explained what kind of attitudes towards the future he expected us to find in Senegal. According to him the impact of religion means that people in Senegal are rather fatalistic, that they do not feel inclined to take action for the future because they see their faith as lying in the hands of God. Omar Sarr referred us to three other expert respondents at his university.
The first of Sarr's recommendations brought us to Matar Sal at the Centre for Renewable Energy where we spent a day interviewing and filming. The second was Amadou Tidianne Ba, a biologist with whom we talked about biodiversity, reforestation and the role of international conservation programmes. Our third expert respondent at the University Anta Diop was Abdou Salam Sal, the dean of the science faculty and member of Attack, an international anti-globalist organisation. Our two other expert interviews in the Senegalese capital took place at the offices of two NGO's. At PANOS, an NGO for media development, we talked with the Belgian responsible for all matters concerning radio. At ENDA, an NGO for urban development, we talked with Bachir Kanoté, their West African specialist in urban planning.
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