Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beautés à Dakar

Surprise request to leave Goma for a bit and come out to Dakar for a week of meetings. Amazing food, beautiful people, a new city to discover--who could resist?

[Senegal's original flag from late 1950s]

After satisfying a song that's been on the brain for days (classic Brimful of Asha, or the hilarious short version), I hit the streets and have been exploring and eating non-stop since arriving last Saturday. Delighted to run into an old friend I studied with in Germany eight years ago here in the hotel. Nothing more dreamlike than hearing your name called in a country where you know no one, turning around and finding the beaming face of a long lost friend.

Yves and I were together in Abidjan the eve of the 1999 coup that ticked off Ivory Coast's descent into civil war; he was carjacked on the way to pick me up at the airport. What a planet.

Hopefully I'll get some sightseeing in before I leave, between the meetings, the email and the reports to write. There's always Ile de Gorée, Africa's most poignant monument to human slavery, in stark contrast to the Statue of Liberty, a very different maritime marker of [voluntary] human migration.

Back in Goma next Tuesday to learn what is going on with CNDP (Nkunda hasn't been heard from or seen in almost a month) and whether our efforts to keep political negotiations alive will be successful. Not sure that can be claimed at this point.

At least I'll have these memories of Dakar to keep me going!

[Funny the way earworms love a void... the new one is 'Bros'.... or better yet Carrots -- amazing beats!]

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