what a battle!

My last stay in Dakar by the beginning of the month, started rather calmly in a very protected area surrounded by wealthy embassies. I stayed one week in this unreal place, in a flat’s friend by the sea, where huge cars seems to be the norm. It was like I was in a pressurized cabin, an air locked bubble over the city, a very few man’s land between the human sized Ziguinchor and the enormous hybrid monster growing like an ill termite mound that devours its residents. The bubble floated higher and took me one sweet afternoon to Gorée Island and offered me the energetic vibrations of dreams painted by young and old artists, and gently the kind bubble popped like all bubbles do.

It dropped me in “Grand Dakar” one of the numerous over crowded areas of the crazy termite mound, but this was a weekend of festivity for all the Christian families that was celebrating their children first and solemn communion. The transition had been cool; it was nice to hug some members of the family, to drink, to laugh, to dance…

The party is over; the container is arrived in the harbor of Dakar. The equipment is in but no way to see it, we have to pass several administrative ordeals that so many smarter than us has failed.

Pascal’s Manjako family have been organizing for many years, they have bought a truck in France and they group luggage of emigrant Manjako families that they convey from France to Dakar Senegal, Ziguinchor Sn, and many places of Guinea Bissau.

the truck in France

They are used to the Senegalese paperwork labyrinth, but getting this kind of goods out of the harbor is tricky. After a couple of days of paperwork it’s time to be checked by the customs, tension… Pascal is on the scene I have him on the phone regularly. A young and overzealous new customer emptied out the container, and checked it all in detail and after a whole day of this trying game they released it. 24 hours to move the container out of Dakar, Pascal and his pals get a truck to stock the goods 24 hours in a stock store in the suburb of Dakar, I join them to give a helping hand for a half day of unloading. Step 2 reached, Pascal and Philippe have slept outside the door, on the street under the stars to prevent any robbery. It’s Sunday the 14th, I packed my stuff and I’m ready for our rendezvous to load the truck that will leave Dakar to Zig, it’s about 8:pm when I get there. No truck!?! It was much too small we have to find a bigger one that fits. We’re sitting outside the door of the stock store; time goes by, the neighborhood usually so busy and tight, is now quiet and wrapped in the coolness of the night some lonely startled passerby stare at us. It’s midnight! The new truck is just arrived, it’s far bigger, but we have a lot of luggage to transfer.

We have started to load it. Very, very heavy stuff, we are 4 and we begin with the heaviest, several barrels of more than 211 gallons to load without any engine nor machine, so tough we grit our teeth. As the night moves on; the truck looks smaller and smaller. It’s Monday the 15th 8:am, broad daylight, the heavy polluted traffic of the street has started again, and the people on their way to work are staring at us incredulously. It’s 9:pm, exhausted we surrender to the evidence, the truck is definitely too small. Some phone calls, and we’re back sitting in front of the store waiting for an even bigger truck. 12 O’clock the third truck is there, bigger, but not much bigger. We’re broke, no choice, Pascal decide to pay 4 young professionals more than twice the normal price. We count on their skill and their motivation to load the truck as fast as possible and the best possible way, Philippe has cut one finger badly, he’s gone to heal his wound, Joel Bassene has come to help us. The tiredness helps us to hold the pressure without too much stress. 6:pm the truck is filled up, nothing is left, everybody is happy and relieved. We shake hands and cross our fingers immediately, the truck is old, the road is so long and so bad and the rebels had restarted to attack people, the radio has reported 4 persons killed the week before. Asper is leaving on the truck with the boys. Pascal, the old Amison and I are in a cab to Pascal family’s place to take a shower before to catch a car to Zig 280 miles away. It’s 8:pm.

To be continued…

Pascal & Philippe


Pascal tired


the boys

happy boys

Amison left, the strong man, borom woto right

the third truck

the truck 2

loading the truck

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