Wow- what a welcome the Global Greens got yesterday in Dakar. The formal welcome included speeches by the chair of FEDES ( the Senegal Greens), a short speech by each of the four Federations of Green Parties , including the African Federation, and the Chair of the Global Greens from Rwanda. They all re-iterated what an amazing feat it is to host the Global Greens in Africa; and for it to take place immediately following the peaceful presidential run-off which saw a smooth transfer of office of the president. What is taken for granted in Europe, (despite our complaints on some of the finer points), democratic elections here are a rarity to be greatly celebrated. Women on the platform from Nigeria and Rwanda were proud that it is only the Greens in Africa that are prepared to truly welcome women as equal partners. I am so proud to be part of this Global Green family.
The evening ended with an outdoor 3 course buffet for the 500 delegates and a cabaret Senegalese style. The dancing, acrobatics and rhythms of the ' Arts in Africa' group was so upbeat that a hundred or more delegates spontaneously contributed their own freestyle dancing to the 12 or so artists on the floor in a riot of music, colour, and hilarity. You wouldn't get that at a British conference! There are around ninety countries represented here – and despite the simultaneous translation in to French, English, Spanish all day – it was clear proof that dance is the universal language.
The internet connections are driving me mad, as is loss of use of personal lap-top. Small worries in the scheme of things.