That is the second installment in a sequence about Sam P.Ok. Collins’ travels to Dakar, Senegal.
Not lengthy after publishing the primary installment of my Dakar, Senegal sequence, my telephone and that of my important different disappeared from our lodge room.
Final I recall, we had been watching YouTube documentaries on her telephone within the wee hours of the morning. As soon as she fell asleep and my eyelids grew heavy, I threw our telephones on the mattress and turned to my facet in preparation for a very good sleep.
Once I awakened out of my slumber 4 hours later, I searched the mattress for my telephone, as I all the time do as a pressure of behavior. Sadly, we by no means discovered my telephone or hers. They weren’t on our mattress the place we left it. Neither had been they beneath the mattress or wherever else within the room. Throughout our search, I discovered that the balcony door, which was closed earlier within the night time, was large open.
I’ll allow you to, the reader, put two and two collectively.
This case grew to become considerably of a setback in what has in any other case been a calming and eye-opening expertise. Nevertheless, as I repeated in my inner-D.C. voice all through that day, somebody on the market across the lodge caught us loafin’, regardless that we had taken excessive precautions to not be on the receiving finish of a scheme.
The lodge, the title of which I gained’t reveal, was positioned in the course of a secluded neighborhood, surrounded by residences and companies. It was inside 10 minutes of the principle highway the place my important different and I walked to catch a taxi. Each day, males, girls and youngsters sat exterior of their homes speaking amongst each other, lighting incense, partaking of their every day Muslim prayers, and scrolling by their telephones as we walked alongside the overwhelmed path to get to that most important avenue.
It was like several neighborhood I’ve walked by in D.C., and some other majority-Black metropolis I’ve visited in america. Though I initially had some apprehension about strolling backwards and forwards by the varied cuts and alleys resulting in our lodge, I finally chalked that as much as the physiological response to rising within the D.C. of the Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s.
Within the days previous and following that incident, my important different and I’d usually stroll the streets of Ngor, Dakar — alongside what’s known as the Airport Route — and the Alimades the place all the favored nightclubs are positioned, all searching for a very good time.
Certainly, we discovered a number of locations to have a very good time. We additionally discovered panhandlers of various ages.
In Dakar, panhandling is an trade and household exercise. Generally, teams of youngsters could stroll as much as you with buckets in hand, motioning their hand towards their face in request of some cash. Different occasions, it may be an aged girl in a Muslim scarf or a person with a bodily incapacity.
In different situations, as I had witnessed firsthand, a bit of woman may depart her mom and siblings on the curb to chase somebody and pull them by the arm within the hopes that they supply some funds.
I’m not going to lie. When that little woman did that, the D.C. in me rotated rapidly and yelled, not seeing who I used to be yelling at at that second. Once I seemed to my left and seemed right down to see the little woman, I grew embarrassed and apologized repeatedly as she grew startled.
Minutes later, I circled again to interrupt the younger sister off with a 500 CFA, what’s virtually a U.S. greenback.
These moments, and different moments from Ngor, continued to stick with me all through my keep. After we had no funds to provide kids, we regularly doled out snacks and water. Different occasions, we apologized once we had nothing, all to no avail. The younger kids, relentless of their pursuit of sustenance, saved asking us for no matter we had.
In recent times, the Senegalese authorities has made nice strides to mandate that kids up till their late teenagers be enrolled in free public colleges. Even so, a good portion of younger individuals discover themselves in parallel Islamic colleges the place they’re usually chargeable for elevating funds for his or her academics.
College students who navigate Senegal’s public training system usually expertise extra issue in passing by the secondary tertiary ranges in the event that they don’t make the mark on their exams. Those that don’t fulfill necessities to go by the subsequent stage are funneled off into trades which may not be profitable.
This case bears a hanging similarity to what our Black kids expertise within the U.S. Within the absence of high quality training and a social security web, individuals are left to take part in different financial techniques and revert to habits that destroy individuals, or on the very least inconvenience them, as had been the case for my important different and me when our telephones disappeared.
Within the ongoing struggle for African liberation, we have to be cognizant that we’re within the interval of sophistication battle the place the enemies of progress aren’t solely Europeans, however these with important financial means who perpetuate techniques that exploit households, and most particularly kids.
I wouldn’t say that I’m in favor of socialism or capitalism. I’m not totally positive if what I’m endorsing suits alongside that spectrum. Nevertheless, as a Twenty first-century Garveyite, I don’t shrink back from my insistence that African individuals develop their very own industries to allow them to do for themselves in a society the place individuals are inherently egocentric.
Seeing what I’ve seen in Senegal has made me a bit extra skeptical of presidency’s capability to make sure that individuals from all walks of life have entry to the naked necessities that may give them a leg up in life. It’s not about making a welfare society. It’s about making a scenario the place individuals are capable of stay freely and with out fear about their subsequent meal.
Our failure to achieve this stage in our growth is indicative of a collective failure on our half to share pure sources. That failure begins on the high with politicians who collude with multinational companies and professionals of trade to perpetuate inequity and hold a bunch of individuals in a vicious cycle of poverty.
As I wrap up this entry, I believe again to conversations I had with well-meaning comrades earlier than touring to Senegal the place I used to be warned about turning into a hostage or the goal of a authorities plot to stunt our efforts to foster Pan-African unity. To them, I say who wants intelligence businesses and authorities leaders to sabotage our actions when the circumstances which have been put in place will not be solely holding individuals mired in poverty, however making certain that we flip in opposition to one another and never towards our collective struggle for liberation.