Senegal has a reputation for being politically stable and one of the few successful democracies in Africa. But after the protests against president Wade on June 23rd (and the protests against the power cuts in the days after), no one knew what to expect for this weekend. Both the pro-Wade and the opposing M23 political parties planned rallies for Saturday. The days leading up to the rallies were a bit tense around here – to say the least.

 

The good news

BBC coverage of pro-Wade rally

Both rallies were held peacefully. After the fact, leaders from both sides congratulated their supporters on having met in peace – and that even the ‘after-parties’ were calm and without incident.

 

 

 

The amazing part

From a NYTimes article

Senegal has a horrible trash problem. (That’s not the ‘amazing’ part. Well, I guess considering the scope of the problem it’s more like ‘astonishing’ or ‘mind-blowing’.) Anyway…

After the M23 party’s rally, supporters not only picked up the trash from their event (imagine how many plastic cups and drink containers from tens of thousands of people on a hot day in an area without public trash cans) but they also picked up and bagged any other trash, papers, etc… littering the area. Amazing.

I don’t know whose idea this trash pick-up was or how they motivated people to do it, but that person needs to be running for president of Senegal!

So what’s next?

I have no idea. But now that the rallies are over and I no longer have to worry about roads to the hospital being blocked off… this baby can come anytime! By American calculations, today is the due date. By French calculations (they go to 41 weeks), it’s August 1st.

Guess which country I’m pulling for.