Monday, October 22, 2012

Dispatches from Dakar

This is my room at the Marie Luciene Hotel in Dakar where I am staying for almost three weeks as I serve as director of CODESRIA's 2012 Child and Youth Studies Institute. CODESRIA stands for Council on the Development of Social Science Research in Africa and was established in 1973 to promote and facilitate social science across the continent. While driving from the airport Sunday morning (my South African Airways flight from DC arrived at 5:30AM) I was reminded of the many similarities one can find in African cities-stray dogs in the streets, a lot of people walking to various destinations as they weave through traffic, many old public transport vehicles where some passengers hang onto the cross bars with most of their bodies outside the vehicle, smell of vehicle fumes, and constant blowing of the horn. I also love the availability of all manner of wares on the streets, from roasted peanuts to USC football jerseys. And then there are the young ones who sit a little distance from the entrance to a popular fast food restaurant and quickly come to you with their hand out asking for some change. It is easy to ignore them but what about the older woman who crosses the street and says something in Wolof that you know is about some little food or change for her? Back in the hotel I am typing away and using some free internet from someone who has not protected their Wi-Fi with a password. You gotta love these macbooks and their ability to "smell" a Wi-Fi connection from miles away:). I am looking at the clock on my computer and it says 7:16PM and my wrist watch says 11:16PM local time which means my family in the US is just about to finish their dinner or probably coming from a volleyball practice while I am just about to get into bed and think about some intelligent things to tell my 15 colleagues from ten different African countries about trends in research on African children and youth. I think it's time to say bye bye.......

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