Sept 9 – The Smell of Burning Rubber

I was just hanging out with some friends after school today and as we were walking around the neighborhood during dusk, we saw a crowd of people on one of the main roads. All the street lights and house lights were out in this area because there was no electricity and apparently, the electricity had been out for the entire day in this certain neighborhood.

            We looked towards the street and some teenage boys were piling rubber tires in the middle of the road and burning them with branches of wood. We asked some of the kids what was going on and they said it was a protest in response to the lack of electricity all day. The bright orange fire stood out even more amidst the darkness of the city night and the stench from the burning tires and the black spiraling smoke were the people’s way of getting the attention of the government regarding the electricity problem.

            In Senegal, the electricity bills are very expensive and even when a family pays their bills, often electricity will be cut at various times throughout the day. Sometimes I’ll be sleeping and then wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat because my fan stopped working because the electricity got cut – this is hard for me to get used to. I CANNOT imagine how the Senegalese people must feel having to deal with this on a daily basis and it’s been happening for the past couple of years now.

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