1. 'Images from the road' - Gambian village chief's daughter shares a joke with her friend, Chamen Sosseh, The Gambia, West Africa 2009

    More images from the 930km expedition can be seen on:


    Image by Jason Florio

  2. As featured on Elizabeth Avedon’s blog (May 2010) - Jason Florio’s photography from The Gambia, Afghanistan, Cuba & Ethiopia


    Image by Florio: Duta Fotana Alkalo (chief) of Pirang village, The Gambia, watches over the village imam as he reads from the Koran (West Africa)

  3. Blog Entry: 1st December 2009

    Image: Florio-2009 Portrait of village chief (Alkalo) Seedy Bensouda of the village of Kuntaur, The Gambia, West Africa.

    The Alkalo was born to a Moroccan father and a Gambian mother.

    Distance walked to-date: 627km

  4. Gambian Village Chief (Alkalo) Kasum Suso of Demba Kali, The Gambia, West Africa

    Blog Entry: 29th November 2009

    Taken from Jason Florio’s award-winning series of village chiefs and elders from a 930km walk around the small West African country - ‘Silafando - a gift to you on behalf of my journey’

    Image: Florio-2009 

    Distance walked to-date: 583km

  5. Image: Florio-2009 Acting Alkalo, Herouna Tonkara with his horse, Suduwole village, The Gambia, West Africa

    Taken from Florio’s award-winning series of colour portraits of Gambian Village Chiefs (Alkalo’s) and Elders  http://www.floriophoto.com/#/projects/930km%20african%20odyssey/1

    As with every village that we stayed in, Florio and Samba would meet the Alkalo and offer a Silafando of a handful of bitter Kola nuts, which Gambians really love. Also, these particular nuts are very symbolic with respect to the traditional ritual of Silafando -  which translates as ‘a gift to you on behalf of my journey’. When a traveler approaches a village and wants to stay there, he must respect this tradition. Once the ritual is completed, the Alkalo ensures that the whole village knows that the traveler is welcome and under the care of the Alkalo and that they must respect and welcome the traveler.

    Unfortunately, even though Florio was able to take the portrait of the Alkalo, Momadou Tonkara (please see previous post) he had temporarily handed over the leadership of the village to his brother, Herouna Tonkara, as he had been too sick to carry out his duties.

    Florio’s 15th Alkalo (village chief) portrait so far, on the expedition

    Distance walked to-date: 435km (Nov 22nd 2009)

  6. Image: Florio-2009 The very enigmatic Alkalo, Fatou Dansu, of Kabba Kama village, near Basse, The Gambia, West Africa.

    Taken from Jason Florio’s series of award-winning colour portraits of village chiefs (Alkalo’s) and elders whilst on A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush - a 930km african odyssey’

    http://www.photoawards.com/en/Pages/Gallery/winner2010.php Jason Florio - 1st Place - People Photographer of The Year 2010 for ‘Silafando - a gift for you on behalf of my journey’ International Photography Awards (IPA)

    http://www.facesphotocontest.com/index.shtml Jason Florio - Finalist - Environmental Portraiture + Cover of PDN August edition of the magazine (with Alkalo Massaneh Cham). Photo District News (PDN), 2010

    http://www.newyorkphotofestival.com/?p=10839 Jason Florio - Honorable Mention - Fine Art Image Series. NY Photo Festival Awards, 2010

    http://cds.aas.duke.edu/daylightcds/ Jason Florio - Honorable Mention. Daylight/CDS Awards, 2010

  7. Today’s Flak Photo - 4th October 2010
    The Alkalo (Chief) of Felling Koto and his Brother, The Gambia, 2009 — from the series 930km African Odyssey

    Photo © Jason Florio


  8. Images:

    #1 Florio-2009 The Alako’s son, Jiki Bayai, Soto Koi Village, The Gambia, West Africa

    #2 Jones-2009 Florio, Janneh, Momadou and Samba (legs!) enjoy a teabreak, Soto Koi

    #3 Florio-2009 Aroma Bayai, farmer, with his goat, Soto Koi

    #4 Florio-2009 Ansel Manneh Fati, farmer and Alkalo’s deputy

    For more of Florio’s award-winning images of Gambian chiefs and elders, please visit the website:


  9. Image: Florio-2009

    Alkalo Jare Sowe, Felling Koto Village, The Gambia, West Africa.

    11th November 2009 - Village#9

    Award-winning portraits of village chiefs (Alkalo’s) and elders taken whilst on a 930km walk around the small West African country as part of ‘A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush’

    Alkalo Sowe is one of my all time favourite portraits from the whole expedition. He has such a beatific look on his face - almost as if he knows the answers to every question in the universe. The village was more like a hamlet, there being only a handful of tin-roofed houses. However, there seemed to be more children there than seemed possible to fit into the small number of houses. We suspected that they came from adjoining villages to check out the ‘toubabs’ (Mandinka word for Europeans and/or white people).

    Florio and the team went off in search of groundnut hay for the donkeys, leaving me with the multitude of kids, assorted dogs, goats and sheep. I passed the time being shown how the young girls very adeptly wove the intricate fencing, made from Wah grass (a very durable, long reed-like grass that is used for a multitude of purposes). And, I also had to prove my cycling skills at the vociferous insistence of the kids, who didn’t believe a toubab (female, at that!) could actually ride a bicycle! So, I got onto a very rusty, wobbly ancient bike and proceeded to show my cycling skills - much to the delightful squeals of my young audience. I have to say, it was quite a feat trying to keep steady on the sandy ground and to save face by not falling off half the time I was on the bike!!

    Jones - on behalf of the Short Walk team

    Distance walked to-date: 216km

  10. Image: Florio-2009

    Jones and the expedition team arrive into the village of Generie, The Gambia, West Africa.

    The Traditional Gambian system of ‘Silafando’ - as used by the expedition team leaders  ‘A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush - a 930 African odyssey’

    The age-old tradition and protocol for approaching the Alkalo’s (village chiefs and elders) and asking something from them requires you to give them a ‘silafando’ (translates as ‘a gift to you on behalf of my journey’) of the local bittersweet kola nuts.  Once accepted, you are warmly welcomed into the village and everyone knows that you are there as a guest of the Alkalo, which also means you are treated with respect as strangers in the village during your stay. If anyone were to disrespect you then they would have the Alkalo to answer to and lead to shame on the family of the person who disrespected the guests).