Last week I picked up a couple of things in the Gambia. Firstly all my worldly belongings that had arrived on a ship and secondly my friend, Shaun, who I’ve known since around the age of three.
Khady had arranged a surprise – as we arrived home, Wakily, one of the best musical groups of the area, arrived and kicked up a storm around the fire. Shaun didn’t know what had hit him as everyone out performed each other, kicking up dust and dragging us all up to flap our arms and stamp our feet.
For the rest of the week, we explored Abene, met half the village, relaxed on the beach, made some serious improvements to the duck pond and visited some neighbouring areas.
Rummaging through my newly arrived boxes, I started seriously questioning what I was thinking when I packed up a couple of years ago. Amongst many useful things, I also discovered:
- The attachments to a vacuum cleaner I no longer own
- An electric paint stripper
- A toaster (we only have baguettes here)
- My Elvis jump suit (everybody needs one, right?)
- A top hat
- An old fashioned rotary dial telephone
- My first teeth and a lock of my first hair (and there’s me poking fun of Khady who has tied up and attached Gullivers umbilical cord to one of his gris-gris)
- My cub scout and scout uniform
Hmm, it’s a shame there are no car boot sales around here, but I’m sure some of these things will find homes.
At the end of the week, we packed up Kermit and set off to visit Khady’s home village and take the back route into Gambia. Her mother wasn’t actually there, but we had a brief look around the picturesque village before setting off along 4wd tracks through sand and palm groves. The border guards told us that Khady’s papers weren’t valid (they are correct) and said we could all proceed without her. They were obviously hoping for a bribe, but I just said okay, and started to move away. They broke and let us all go. Obviously this was a ploy on my part and I never intended to leave her stranded!
Similarly to my parents, Shaun was surprised how built up the Gambia is compared to the Casamance, and although glad to see it, preferred Abene. So, if you know the Gambia but would be interested in seeing a more rural and traditional Africa, come and see us.
We had a little luncheon surprise. We were sat at a restaurant next to a lagoon, beyond which was the beach, when we noticed two or three crocodiles casually sauntering around, whilst holiday makers sunned themselves only a few meters away. I doubt a hotel in the UK would be able to get that one past health and safety.
Anyway, if anyone in the Casamance region wants a breville sandwich toaster, give me a shout.
Ps: most photos taken by Shaun