Dakar

Centre Aminata Mbaye

Last December I had the privilege to photograph Centre Aminata Mbaye, a center for children and adults with a mental disability. This center is one of the centers of ASEDEME, an organisation that educates children and young adults so that they can fully participate and integrate in society. The children learn practical skills, mathematics and reading and do lots of arts and crafts and sports. When possible, the young adults receive special training to become a gardener, work in a hotel, or anything else that will help them find work and have a fulfilling life. It was so nice to be at the school for a few days and capture the lives of these special people. For more information have a look on their website.

Presse Café

When we arrived in Dakar two years ago it took some time to get settled and feel familiar with the completely different way of life and scenery. Sometimes I'd really miss the feel of a cooler climate and most of all, a nice cup of coffee.

Presse Café came to the rescue. 

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Run by Frial and her family, this café breaths maple sirup, oatmeal cookies, lattes and croissants. The wifi is fast and the airco is on. 

Nowadays I don't feel at all like I need an escape from living in Dakar anymore, but of course there are plenty of other good excuses to get something delicious whenever I pass by!

If you don't have the time to come by, this delivery boy during the week/wrestler in the weekends will happily scooter all over Dakar to bring you a fresh brewn coffee.

For more info, visit their Facebook site

Meet Ibrahim, Fluent Speaker of German, Spiritual Adviser and Traffic Safety Activist

It's rainy season, which means that there are beautiful clouds, nice showers of rain and lush green areas everywhere. Even though the temps rise and everything gets very sticky and humid, I love it. Not in the least because the light is so beautiful and soft and the skies are spectacular.

So yesterday I was out on a hunt for nice skies and vistas when I saw an interesting self made construction on the side of the road. I decided to have a closer look, walked up and introduced myself to a somewhat wild looking guy who was busy painting a face on a big stone. His name is Ibrahim and as it turned out, quite multi-talented.

Ibrahim was born and raised in Senegal, but moved to Austria about 8 years ago. He got married, learned to speak German and worked his way up to a steady job. When on holidays in Dakar a few years back, his backpack with identity papers and money were stolen and he couldn't get back to Austria. His wife divorced him and his parents passed away. With no money and place to stay he found a bunker on the coastline of Dakar and has been living there since. 

He soon realised that his bunker had a good spiritual feel about it and being a follower of Touba he turned it into a place of prayer. Now every day people come to pray and support him in the construction of his little sanctuary.

Besides this, Ibrahim paints bicycle paths and road signs. He wants the road he lives on to be an example for the rest of Dakar so that in a few years, traffic will be just as orderly and safe as in Austria. You'll see the 'Don't drink and drive' and 'Give space to Cyclists' sign all along his piece of coast line.

Just as he finished painting an other Touba, it started raining. We said 'Auf Wiedersehn', Ibrahim crawled in his tent and I drove off in my airconditioned car.

Life on the streets is as tough as it gets, but Ibrahim sure knows how to make the best of it.