1. Helen “do I have enough power?” camping on the roof of the chiefs compound, Sila Kounda, Senegal  © Jason Florio

    Our latest West Africa expedition: ‘River Gambia Expedition - 1044km source-sea African odyssey’

    To read the full story about 'A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush' - our 2009 930km walk around The Gambia, West Africa - please scroll further down.

  2. Boat as Subject: Sebastião Salgado, Jason Florio, and More

    We’re honored to have Jason Florio’s fine art prints – images from both of our West Africa journeys – currently featured on Artsy.net: ‘Herouna Tonkara with his Horse‘ from ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush-930km African odyssey‘ (2009) and ‘Swimming Horses‘ from the ‘River Gambia Expedition-1000km source-sea African odyssey‘ (2013) - See more at: River Gambia Expedition
    To read all about our 2009 930km walk around The Gambia, please scroll further down on this page, to get to the story and images from that journey.
  3. Jason Florio : Tabla Rasa Gallery, Brooklyn - group show ‘Equus’ - opening reception last night.

    The gallery took two pieces, after seeing Herouna (with his white horse) in Flo’s solo exhibition at Rush Arts/Corridor Gallery last month - one from our ‘A Short Walk in the Gambia Bush’, 2009, expedition and one from our very recent River Gambia Expedition. If you get a chance, check out the exhibit - there is some beautiful artwork on display.

    Image © Helen Jones-Florio

  4. PRESS: Jason Florio’s portrait from his award-winning body of work - 'Silafando'- featured in Brooklyn Exposed for upcoming Brooklyn, NY, exhibition at the Tabla Rasa Gallery: ‘Equus’

    The ‘Silafando’ series of village chiefs (the ‘Alkalo’s’) and elders was taken whilst we were on our 2009 'A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush' expedition - please scroll further down to see the images and read the road stories from the 930km walk around the small West African country

    Tabla Rasa have also taken another of Florio’s piece’s from our recently completed 'River Gambia Expedition - source-sea African odyssey' - 'Swimming Horses' Karantaba, The Gambia

    Images © Jason Florio : ‘Herouna Tonkara with his horse’ & ‘Swimming Horses’

  5. Please visit the following link for everything:

    River Gambia Expedition - 1000km source to sea African odyssey

  6. Jason Florio’s fine art photography of Gambian village chiefs and elders; finding Mungo Park, the 19th century Scottish explorer (well, at least his monument!); Obama t-shirts, and the ritual of making (PG Tips) tea the Gambian way on the shores of the Gambia River, West Africa 2009.

    Main Image: Jiki Bayal (Alkalo’s son), village of Sotokoi, & Alk Nyamo Ceesay, village of Brikama Bah

    Young Gambian boy & his goats, The Gambia, West Africa

    Young Gambian boy & his goats (our cart in the background on the right)

    We were constantly coming across sights that, to our Westernised eyes, were fascinating to see. However, to the Gambian’s it was every day stuff  (which of course it is), to be taking your goats for a walk (or maybe to the slaughter, we wondered, as we left the boy behind).

    Our fascination with them was their bemusement at our fascination……I wonder if that makes sense?

    Gambian kids

    Obama t-shirts were all the rage last year in the villages!

    The kids we met along the way just loved to pose for the camera and they were even more excited (slight understatement!) when they realised that they could see the image of themselves on the back of the camera! That then spurred them on to want to ham it up even more! So often we’d find ourselves surrounded by 20+ sticky-fingered kids all clamouring to grab the camera to look at themselves! Suffice to say, the lens cloth was a constant accessory.

    Yum......bee-flavoured juicy melon! Farafenni roadside vendor, The Gambia

    Yum……bee-flavoured juicy melon! Farafenni town roadside vendor

    Nothing quite like a mouthwatering-juicy-delicious-thirst-quenching-lip-smaking-ripe-luscious-bee-covered-melon after a long day on the road!

    Jones makes tapalapa & sardines which Janneh makes tea on the banks of the Gambia River, Karantaba, The Gambia

    Jones makes tapalapa (local bead) & sardines whilst Janneh makes tea on the banks of the Gambia River, Karantaba, The Gambia

    We went specifically to Karantaba to find the memorial to the young 19th century Scottish explorer (and inspirator of the expedition), Mungo Park. After wandering around, in the sweltering heat of the afternoon, lost at times, chopping through the bush with our cutlasses we eventually find the site of the overgrown, seemingly forgotten, memorial and pay our respects to the intrepid explorer, who tragically met his untimely demise during his second expedition to Africa.  We then headed back to Neil and (p)Hadley, the donkeys. They were being watched by Momadou (if you can call being fast asleep beneath the cart, watching!) at our little resting place by the serene Gambia River. It was such an marvelous spot to rest…..women washing their laundry and then their bodies in the river to the right and a herd of cattle lapping up the dark waters to the left of us. Florio and I decided that we needed to build a house right there and then!

    Janneh got the furno out (a small crudely-made tin furnace) and the kembo (charcoal) and proceeded with the ritual of making our tea. In this image, you can see how he stirs up the embers by swinging the furno backwards and forwards.

    The Tea Ritual:

    Our, by-now road-battered, water-filled metal pan is placed on top of the furno

    Four precious PG Tips teabags (from our rapidly-dwindling supplies) are dropped into the water

    Simmer water and bring to the boil

    Once boiled, add the powdered milk

    Stir and pour into tall glasses (also rapidly dwindling, due to droppage along the way!) or plastic cups

    The Gambian team members add 6 teaspoons of sugar (each! I kid you not!) and stir some more

    End Result: the most delicious thirst-quenching drink of the day!

    All Images: Florio-2009-Gambia

    For more images from The Gambia, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, India, Ethiopia etc, please visit Jason Florio’s website www.floriophoto.com

    And more images from A Short Walk In The Gambian Bush from both Florio & Jones  http://www.flickr.com/photos/expeditionafrica

  7. Jason Florio’s B&W image - Kuntaur Wharf, The Gambia, West Africa

    'On-the-road shots

    The Gambian Horse & Donkey team arriving by boat, on the Gambia River, to deliver a new harnesses for Neil & (p)Hadley, the ‘Short Walk in The Gambian Bush’ expedition donkeys.

    Florio’s fine art photography images are available to purchase on the website (colour and B&W collections)

  8. Image: Florio-2009 Neil, the donkey, jumps out of the boat after crossing the River Gambia.

    November 24th, 2009

    As you can see by this amazing image, taken by Florio, the donkeys were more than happy to jump out of the boat unaided. The complete opposite of getting them on the boat onto the other side of the river!

    Right after this shot, both Neil and (p)Hadley were rewarded with half a succulent mango each and chomped away happily, as if nothing had happened. I think Florio and I were more traumatized by the recent event then they seemed to have been just a few short moments ago!

  9. Images: #1,5,6,7,8,9,10-Florio #2,3,4-Jones, The River Gambia at Koina, The Gambia, West Africa, 2009

    Blog Entry: November 24th, 2009

    We had reached the most easterly village in The Gambia (as part of A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush) and in order to start back along the Northbank, towards Barra (where we would cross on the major commercial ferry) and eventually back to Makasutu Culture Forest, where we began our ‘short walk’, we had to cross the River Gambia, again!

    This is no mean feat with donkeys, who are afraid of their own shadow in puddles of water, let alone going onto a moving river!! We have had a couple of river crossing so far and each one has been quite a challenge to even get the donkeys within sniffing distance of water - and you know know fine well they can smell it a mile off, by the way they start to drag their feet (or should I say hooves?), pull their ears back and then, eventually, virtually come a standstill (and in some instances, just sit down and refuse to get up again!)! Yes, donkeys can be as bloody stubborn as everyone said they could be!!

    However, this time, the only way of crossing the river, as the main ferry had broken down weeks ago, was to find a fisherman with a flat-bottomed boat, big enough to take the donkeys, the cart, all our gear and 5 adults. So, we were directed by a local shopkeeper in the village to make our way along a sandy pathway, cut deep into the bush and to keep the river on our left and look out for a pathway, leading down onto the river. Not more than ‘10 minutes away’ from the village, he assured us. Hmmmm…….

    About an hour later, we eventually ‘found’ (after doubling back on ourselves - twice!) the very narrow and very steep pathway that led down to where we had been told that we could call out over the river to a fisherman on the other side, who had just the flat-bottomed boat we needed. We all called out, across the river, to a speck of something across the way. Our calls were, surprisingly, returned rather promptly and we duly waited for the fisherman to paddle his way over to us.

    Because the pathway was so narrow and so steep, there was no way we could have gotten the cart down there without tipping it on its side. So, we unhitched Paddy, and completely unloaded the cart of every single piece of equipment. The cart was then maneuvered down the steep gully, then the gear and then the hard work really began - trying to persuade the water-fearing Neil and (p)Hadley that they had no choice but to trot on down to the river!

    You have to realise that Florio and I are completely enamoured with the two little creatures by this point (farting and all!) so I can’t tell you how hard it was to have to watch them being ‘cajoled’ down that gully………hooves digging into the sand, ears back, heehawing their little hearts out. But, we had no other option. We had to cross the river. Steering clear of their respective back-ends, we eventually got them down to the boat. Now, we just had to get them on to it!! More of the above mentioned really. And a long length of wood was used to put behind the donkeys hind legs as they were guided into the boat - just for insurance purposes. Hey, our Gambian team members had wives to go home to and future babies to make!

    As you can see, we managed to get the not-particularly-happy little things onto the boat, with promises (and sniffs) of mangoes that we had in our store of food!

    Unfortunately, we seem to have lost all of the film footage that we took of this particular escapade but are trying our darnedest to try and get it back!

    NOTE: No animals were hurt during the getting on or getting off of the boat!