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 (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?
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 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 (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