On the wee hours of Saturday 23rd August 2014, the day when the first batch of ASP 2014 participants were to fly out of Dakar, having participated in the highly successful (third) African School of Fundamental Physics, the hired UCAD bus pulled outside Mermoz- one of the ASP student guest houses to pick more students, en route to the airport. In their characteristic manner, the ever joyful group of students were all smiles laughing and chatting happily. Some in their mother tongue- for those that had their fellow countrymen- others mainly in english, though one would not miss some foreign accents, if not arabic then definitely french. Seated on the second back row on the left inside the bus, I thought that I saw my good friend the dark-skinned ever smiling (late) Papa Aly Diop stand at the bus door as if to get inside, but left into the guest house when the bus left. If I could recollect well, his face seemed a bit dull and he looked as if something was disturbing him. Little could one guess that what would later befell him on that fateful day, would happen.
Though it has taken me many days to post this message, my heart still feels cold when I remember the untimely demise of our good friend. I wish I could travel back to Dakar and convey my sincere condolences to his family and friends, maybe one day I will. I could not believe it, and neither can I do it today! This is the message that I have longed to deliver to our ASP 2014 hero, who passed on while doing what he loved most- helping others..
Rest in Peace Papa, we miss you!
Geoffrey O. Okeng'o