Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Wow, hitching in Senegal!

Saying goodbye to Paco's hundred strong family took time, so after a slow start to the day I was stood at the  edge of town with my backpack.
"It's impossible to autostop in Africa, they will want money.  Go here, this man will help you stop somebody."
An hour later we were still there.  The man, who's job it is to stop vehicles for those needing rides, had only managed to stop a taxi so far.  I finally convinced Paco to let me try, thinking that a white female alone on the road would have a good chance of getting some attention.  I was right, just five munites later I was in a truck on my way south.

The difference between here ane Europe is that I have to make sure they don't want money for the ride.  If they do, I let them go on.  If they don't, I go with them.  Contrary to others beliefs, hitching here feels very safe; nobody has bad intentions whether money driven or sexual; all just want to help the white person see their country.  Another difference is the ratio of cars passing to how many stop to pick you up.  Sometimes it is the first car I see, whereas in Europe I could be standing on a motorway for two hours with thousands of cars passing before finally getting a lift.

Sometimes, people don't understand why the rich white person has no money.  They try to help by offering to buy me food or pay for a bus for the rest of my journey.  So far I've always declined, afterall, no matter how much of a poor traveller I am, I know I always have the potential to make European wages.

I got to Dakar, 370km away, in about five rides, arriving at 9pm only due to the traffic caused by the upcoming celebrations of the Prophet Mohammeds birthday.

So, is hitching possible in Senegal? Wow, it sure is!
["wow" means "yes" in the Wolof language]