Image: Lamin the carpenter/Makasutu Culture Forest, The Gambia, West Africa
The ‘Short Walk..’ Team: L-R Samba, Momadou, Janneh, Jones, Florio & Gibril
Its now only about 2 days to go before we begin by putting one foot in front of the other and begin the Short Walk In The Gambian Bush (930kms!). We decide its about time we all road-tested our tents - nothing quite like leaving things to the last minute! Samba manages to snap a tent pole on his first attempt at putting his tent up (ermmm……rather embarrassingly, we realise that we had forgotten spares…hmmm….lesson #1 learned) and Momadou proves to be very adept at the tent-putting-up business, putting us all to shame in the process - and he had never even seen a tent before!!
Blog Entry: 31st October 2009
Getting together with the Gambian ‘Short Walk…’ team members, haggling for the best deals on equipment (and gtound nut hay for the Neil & Paddy, the donkeys!) in the market in Brikama, Serrekunda and Banjul, interviews with Gambia TV……
Its been a whirlwind of a week since we landed on Gambian terra firma a week ago. It feels as if we have been here for ages and we haven’t even started the expedition proper!
Thanks to James (English) and Lawrence (Williams), our good old mates here at Makasutu, we managed to borrow the little jeep to do our running around (apologies to Kawsu for taking what is usually his running around vehicle away. Thank you for being so patient with us!). We would have had to have relied on public transport which is actually pretty good and reliable but perhaps not when you are searching every market in the area to get the best deals on buckets, shovels (don’t ask! except to say that we are going to be very eco-friendly with our bio-degradable personal waste). And, the thought of trying to squeeze into a bush taxi armed with all of the above and 5 other passengers in this humidity doesn’t bear thinking about!
The whole expedition team spent some time together, learning how to pitch out tents (Big shout to Dave at Addict for the donation of tents and gear www.addict.co.uk). Within a week, we’ll be able to pitch with our eyes closed. We’ll certainly be putting them up in the dark at times, that’s for sure, as it gets pitch black here by 7pm!
Thanks to the Gambia Tourist Authority we were interviewed by the very affable Ibrahim Jatta (spelling) from Gambia TV for his, coincidentally called, ‘Expedition Gambia’ program, which should be aired this coming Tuesday evening. We’ll try and get a copy and upload it onto the blog when we can. James was also interviewed by Ibrahim about the Balabu Conservation Area/ Makasutu Wildlife Trust , which encompasses the ‘Gardens For Life’ schools (website)
On a separate note, we were just informed that very sadly, Aljou Ndong passed away recently. He was Abdou’s brother – who is one of Florio’s oldest and best friends in The Gambia (Abdou is the man with the crocodile in the B&W image on an earlier posting here on the blog) He rescued us on the balong last year when we got caught in the strong current, coming back from Joya (we were basically rowing round in circles when Aliou and his 10 year son came by to help us row back to Mandina). We wish him a safe onwards passage.
As always, please keep checking in and let us know your thoughts too
A Short Walk……..team