Friday, 17 June 2011

Out and About in The Gambia!

While we were in The Gambia doing charity work in the school we jumped at the chance to see a bit of the country and local community as well. We spent the weekends on excursions and exploring The Gambia! We visited the Crocodile Pool - where there were no boundaries between you and the crocs! You were allowed to touch them as well, but we arrived just after they'd been fed and they were less than cooperative and wanted to laze around in the sun rather than come over and meet us!

We posed in a huge silk cotton tree! While in Africa I saw some of the largest trees I have ever seen, some must have been hundreds and hundreds of years old!
We also visited a Batik Factory and were given a demonstration of the traditional techniques of batiking and were able to have a go ourselves! I bought myself a few pieces of artwork - I thought they'd make great resources for school!

The fishing village - now this was an experience! There were unbelievable amounts of people, fish, boats and gulls on the beach, it was quite overwhelming (as was the aroma of drying and smoking fish). The men bring the fish up from the boats in buckets and wheelbarrows and the women lay out the catch at the top of the beach for locals to buy.

We visited several craft markets (all of which made a considerable dent in my bank balance!) I bought enough African musical instruments to create my own Gambian orchestra! I bought a drum, balaphone, two kora's, six different types of shakers, rattles... all of which would be fabulous for an African music lesson!

The Monkey park was brilliant. There were thousands of monkeys scattered around the nature park and the trees and surroundings were beautiful. There were so many adorable baby monkeys! I saw this little family group cuddling and stroking the newly born baby monkey in the centre of their huddle... so cute!

Here's me, our guide Lamin and a huge termite mound in the nature park

Our guide, Lamin, very generously invited us back to his compound to meet his family and to enjoy a traditional Gambian meal. Above is Lamin and his elder daughter cooking the food ready for us to eat!

They served up Barracuda Benachin - a spiced and tomato flavoured rice dish, as I cannot eat fish I could only try some of the rice - but what I did try was absolutely delish!

The next course was Goat Domoda and rice - my favourite! The locals call this dish "peanut soup" and it is a very rich peanut sate-like sauce

The meal was followed by the most delicious fresh mango and bananas! They were the best bananas and mangoes I have ever eaten! As most Gambians do not have electricity and therefore lack refrigerators, the women and children shop for food at local markets every day and the ingredients are fresh and it shows in the flavour of the food.

Towards the end of our two weeks we went down the river Gambia on a little boatride through the mangroves. It was lovely!

The Gambia Girls!


Maria Fallon said...

This looks INCREDIBLE! You look fab and these pictures are amazing :D

Maria xxx

daisychain said...

oh my goodness, what an amazing post!

Shelby said...

mangos and bananas!

Jo - Lost in the Haze said...

Eek! It looks like such fun! I lived in Asia for twelve years, and didn't mind the monkeys too much, but was always so terrified of the crocodiles! You are brave to get so close! Be sure to enter my £100 ASOS giveaway!


Anonymous said...

lovely pictures hun!


I heart cupcakes said...

Looks and sounds like you had an amazing time. I've always wanted to try peanut soup - a friend from Ghana promised to make it but she used shellfish in the seasoning and I'm allergic - shall have to give it a go - looks fab!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Lovely photos. I wonder if I might use one of them? The Barracuda Benachin?

Many thanks in advance.