Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Airport mystery solved...

I finally figured out why there were so many festivities going on at the airport when we arrived.  It turns out that there is a really big Mouride festival held in Touba each year.  The people on our plane were some sort of famous group on their way to Touba.  The majority of Senegalese are followers of Islam, and nearly the entire city of Dakar was empty on the day of the festival.  Classes in public schools were cancelled, and my walk to the research center, which is normally a tricky frogger-like situation along some busy streets, was quite calm with just the occasional passing car or taxi!
One of the really cool things about living in a country as small as Senegal is that the news station covers pretty comprehensively a lot of the events that happen on a daily basis.  There was quite a bit of coverage on the festivals at Touba.  Even yesterday, there was a substantial amount of time spent reporting on the party that the Ministry of Health had thrown for all the workers at the pharmacies in Dakar.  It’s a bit like Maine news sometimes, where some of the things you see happening on the way to school end up being headline news stories later in the evening!

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