Cuckfield resident Geoffrey Dennis had an epiphany while working in the Bangladeshi capital as he saw hundreds of families rushing up the railway embankment one evening. It was the rainy season in Dakar and he was working on a two month consultancy project with the World Bank. As he walked back to the hotel where he was staying, the mass movement of people caught his attention.
After a few days observing this practice Geoffrey decided to follow them and see where they were heading. When he did so he discovered they were building makeshift shelters under plastic sheets on the railway tracks. He began talking to some of the families and learned that these were folk who live in shanty towns below but that they had been flooded. As soon as the last train of the day left the station the rush was on to set up camp for the night.
Over the remaining weeks of his trip he struck up a friendship with two such families and visited them regularly. On Geoffrey’s last visit before leaving Dakar he was greeted with a cake they had made for him. “I was so touched and humbled,” he said. He went back to the hotel immediately to buy up all the cakes he could find and returned to what became a party. “I realised what generous people these were, even though they had so little. I announced to my colleague on the plane home: ‘I want to work in the charity sector one day’.”
An excerpt from the full article by David Tingley published in the July/Aug 2013 issue of Cuckfield Life
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