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Travel in Cameroon, Africa and the world > The Adventure to Senegal

7 Jun 2023

Adventure to Senegal

Pharmacists from Cameroon were invited by their Senegalese colleagues to attend an International professional Forum in Dakar early June 2023. I was part of the delegation of about a dozen pharmacists who honored the invitation. Little did we expect our arrival in Dakar was to coincide with a bloody uprising linked to president Macky Sall's attempt to prolong his mandate and  the sequestration of opposition political leader Ousmane Sonko.

I didn’t easily secure a seat in any of the 3 available westward bound airlines (Air Ivoire, Asky and Air Senegal). I booked Ethiopian Airlines which had to first take me eastward (3280 km) to Addis Ababa before flying across the continent (6140 km) the next day to Dakar, Senegal. Incidentally the distance from Douala to Dakar is the same as that from Douala to Addis Ababa. The question which defies logic is why Ethiopian Airlines' fare didn’t cost more than that of the other 3 Airlines? Ethiopian Airlines covers 6000 km more, provides supper and breakfast in Addis, lodges you in their luxurious 5 star Skylight hotel on your way to Dakar and does same on your way back.

I left Douala on the 31st of May 2023 for Addis.

June 1 2023 (morning)

As I sat at the departure terminal with thousands of other passengers waiting for my flight at the Addis Ababa Bole international airport, I decided to jot down some interesting information on this economic juggernaut called Ethiopia Airlines. For example during the 2021/2022 operational year, the airline had 144 aircrafts that transported a passenger volume of 8,680,301. There were 14,730 employees and the company which is 100% government owned made a profit of 494,500,000 USD. During that year Ethiopian Airlines graduated 434 students from its training school. The maintenance, repair and overhaul facility of the airline receives aircraft for maintenance from different parts of the world. The in-flight catering facility has capacity to produce 100,000 meals per day. In all, the airline reaches more than 130 destinations in the world (about 35 in Africa). Ethiopian airlines goes to many EU countries, Britain, U.S, Russia, Canada, Brazil, India, China, the gulf states, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Israel, Korea, The Philippines, Hong Kong etc. The airline has on its fleet, amongst others such aircraft like 

18 Airbus A350-900

19 Boeing B787-8

8 Boeing-B787-9

11Boeing B737 MAX.

At present, 35 aircrafts are on order.

You can imagine the millions of people indirectly benefiting economically from the multiplier effect of this airline. The airline has many awards and it is the real Pride of Africa.


June 1 2023 (evening)

I arrived Dakar, Senegal this evening and got caught up in a complicated situation. The political crisis in Senegal has turned into violent lethal protests against the government. Typical scenes of burning tyres and road blocks are a ‘déjà vu’ for those of us living in Cameroon. After doubling my taxi fare, the taxi didn't succeed reaching the hotel that the organizers had reserved for me as hoodlums took advantage of the protest to cause more chaos. Internet was cut off by the government and I was like a fish out of water. I had to reactivate my survival instincts to look for alternate place to pass the night. The hundreds of pharmacists from different countries are keenly observing the situation while participating at the forum. This is my first time of coming to Senegal and my first time of arriving a new place with Internet outage in the heat of violent protest. The helplessness in such situations is real.

June 2, 2023

Good morning. Due to Internet outage, the messages sent may arrive much later. There was relative calm which permitted me to go to the conference Centre and to eventually relocate to the place initially reserved for me. Events took place smoothly including the arrival and participation of the Senegalese president Macky Sall.


June 2 2023 (evening) Violent protest erupted in parts of Dakar lasting from about 4pm to 11 pm.


June 3, 2023

Good morning. It's a bright and quiet morning today in Dakar, Senegal after quite violent confrontation between protesters and government forces yesterday night. Waiting to see what today's evening will look like. Our forum continues.


June 3 2023

It's 8.30 pm in Dakar today and I am still hearing huge explosions not far from where I put up. Most of the explosions are caused by gendarmes hurling tear gas at protesters who are blocking roads and burning car tyres. I have counted over 40 of such rattling explosions this evening and even had minor eye irritation caused by teargas while walking on the street today. Tomorrow is another day which like today may be calm in the morning and boils in the evening. This, unfortunately is a normal African dance.

June 4, 2023

Good morning. It is relatively calm here in Dakar compared to the previous two days. The city is heavily militarized. 15 people have died so far as a consequence of the protest. Due to the tension in the city, the socio-cultural programs of the forum were cancelled. We were supposed to have a gala night with the famous Senegalese musician Youssou Ndour and a visit today to the famous island of Gorée both of which were cancelled. My hotel is about 65 km from the airport and I intend to move by midday today to another hotel less than 15 km from the airport to wait for my departure to Addis Ababa tomorrow. With uncertainty about circulation, it's imperative to reduce the distance to the airport

I have decided to move out of the restive city and will be passing the night in a rural area in a hotel about 75km out of Dakar and 30 minutes after the airport in a village called Popenguine (a pilgrimage destination for some Catholic Faithful). Will leave from there to the airport very early the next day for my flight to Addis which leaves at 8 am local time here.


June 5, 2023

As our aircraft was making a stopover in Bamako, Mali on it's way from Dakar to Addis Ababa, one could not miss the beautiful sight of the waters of the River Niger meandering through Bamako on its 4200 kms journey that started in Guinea and will end in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. Also my thoughts went to Col Assimi Goita, the courageous 'Malian Sankara' who is struggling to extricate his country from the tenacious grip of powerful foes.

I felt a sense of relief after finally escaping the uncertainty that reigned in Dakar.



Dance Senegal



Njei Timah Moses