It has been a while since the last time I have updated my blog. I have gone to America, returned started thinking and preparing for the future after Peace Corps and now I am counting the days when I will leave The Gambia; my home for the past 40 months.
I went on my final food security trek this past week, It was bittersweet I got to see many of the projects that other volunteers have been working on finally come to fruition and be successful after all of their hard work. On that same token I have see projects that volunteers have put equally the same amount of work into if not more, not be as much of a success.
As with all of the treks I have been on there is a lot of window time. I tried to really observe as much of The Gambia as I could, paying attention to details and trying to see things that I might not have seen before and appreciate the things I have see many time over again.
The first morning we arrived at the ferry. We had to wait in the line of cars for over two hours. During this time we got to observe the individual pictured below. He was a ‘Marabou’ from Mali. A Marabou, is a religious healer often peddling medicines and other remedies for every imaginable sickness, ache and problem. He had a traditional Malian shirt and a Dallas Mavericks jersey underneath, I never discovered if he was a Mavs fan or not. He had two large Royal Pythons, one about four feet and the other probably about 10 feet. As ferries would arrive he would take these snakes out of a box on the front of his bicycle and lay them on the ground, lay them around his neck or let them hang from his umbrella. From a distance it looked like the man was kissing them. To me this was interesting but then I noticed he would grabbing them and kissing them. I thought this was interesting so I took the camera and kind of hid behind the car and zoomed way in and snapped some pictures. It wasn’t until I looked at the picture I discovered that he was actually putting the snakes head into his mouth. I freaked out! This guy is crazy, I showed the picture to Bah2 our Gambian program assistant and he just laughed and said he probably is selling medicine for snake bites, which is ironic. People were rushing over and buying little sacks of medicine.
Later that night we reached another volunteers garden project and below are some pictures of her vegetable nursery that is very very large.
The next day we went to Keith’s garden. His garden is looking real good. The rows of vegetable look like they were put in with a ruler.
One project that we visited was refurbishing a old garden. One of the problems that we were looking at was a cement lined well that was tilted because of water erosion.
|Small boy with a dirty face|
As we were driving through a landscape that is now brown and some shade of green because it is dry season and the rains are still month’s away color is something that catches your eye. This apple blossom pink tree was beautiful, it was almost seem to sparkle. In all of my treks and traveling all over The Gambia I have never see this tree.
We were traveling through a volunteer’s village and noticed as we were approaching it there was a lot of smoke and a bush fire was approaching. As we arrived in the village there community garden had already been burned and was continuing to destroy everything that was in its way.
We stopped by to check on a tree that the volunteer had planted a year ago to pick some fruit to plant. This tree is a Ziziphus mauritiana, of Indian jujube, or Pumelo de Sahel. It tastes like an apple. It is a marvelous tree, it has thorns so it can be planted as a live fence and goats and other animals love eating the leaves. It also produces this sweet fruit that can be sold or eaten. The variety that grows all over The Gambia produces fruit that is the size of a marble and these fruit are the size of ping pong balls.
Just like every trek some stops involve long village meetings, trying to resolve misunderstandings or explain expectations of both the volunteer and community.
Sarah painted this nice mural on the side of her hut. In her village the people make beds, chairs and other things out of bamboo.
We went out to the village apiary and looked at some of the hives that the village maintains.
|This is a beehive they made.|
|Another village meeting|