Patrice has unearthed another nice little article for me (the fact that he has send it by email this time makes me think that he actually reads what i write here). It gives a nice little insight into the ethnic and religious underpinnings of Senegalese migrants that work as street hawkers in Italian cities. apparently most of them belong to a small but dynamic Sufi Muslim brotherhood called the Mourides. The artcle is a bit short, but well worth the read:
… tourists and locals alike probably assume these traders are just a disorganised, random sample of Europe’s vast army of human flotsam and jetsam, desperate migrants from poor places who arrive in leaky boats. In reality, the traders on the streets leading to the Vatican are anything but disorganised. They are members of a highly disciplined international community, at once religious and economic, with headquarters in another holy city - Touba, in the heart of Senegal, three hours’ drive from Dakar, the capital.
Read the rest here. Reminded me of this picture which i took back in 2002 in Torino, italy (in the article one of the Mouride salesmen expresses admiration for people selling umbrellas based on the weather forecast)