street photography

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.