The Gambia Barking English Again

Trip Start Sep 01, 2012
Trip End Jul 13, 2013

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Where I stayed
Kunta Kinte Roots Camp, N13 20.051, W16 23.243
Eddy’s Hotel and Bar, Farafenni, N13 34.295, W15 35.802
Modou Gaye’s Workshop, Barra, N13 29.085, W16 32.689
Janjangbureh Camp, N13 32.592, W14 45.304

Flag of Gambia  ,
Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dear family, friends and other dogs

Another very important birthday heralded our next quest through doorways in to a new land, a land unadorned with the very refined scent of the Maxwell House (one of my dear readers has asked me where I manage to spread my scent, and the answer is this...everywhere, I am a dog without borders).  Anyway, the very important birthday - it was the birthday of one of my dearest uncles who shares my lack of enthusiasm for borders.   Our keys unlocked the doors in to the land of The Gambia.  Some of the locksmiths in brown cloth who helped us turn our keys told us how unfair it was that our finely cut and well oiled keys let us in to their land so quickly and cheaply because it was so expensive and difficult for them to acquire the right keys to visit our English Land.  We all ended up nodding our noses and heads together in agreement that life was not fair but that it was worth fighting for them young dogs and humans and those who have not yet popped out from underneath their mothers tails, so that they could have a fairer life.   We were to discover that there were many other Gambian humans who shared the feelings of these locksmiths in brown cloth.

So, we were in a land which used to be controlled by us English, where everyone had just had a big party to celebrate 48 years of freedom from our control.  My barking English was understood by a few more humans than in other lands we had been to but my heart was happy to hear more of the Wo(l)of barkings along with the barks of the Fula and Mandinka.   A lot of English humans still visit this land, but usually put their noses down and point to the beaches and the waves.  We decided that we wanted to follow the python of a river which this land hugs, and see what lay on both of its shores.  

Albreda was the first place we rested our tired noses, a little human habitation perched on the banks of the python River Gambia.  My nut brown eyes could not believe how vast the waters were, I could barely see to the other shore.  There was a small gathering of trees a little way across which everyone knew as Kunte Kinte Island.  The morbid notes from this small Hades brought a tsunami of tears to my eyes and heart, notes which sang of how huge wooden boxes of Hades departed, on the upside down sky, wooden boxes weighted down with humans stuffed in like my dried pellets in my plastic tub, with all four paws and necks in chains,  ghosts of humans to be sold as slaves in faraway lands.  

Sweet odours of mint (no Lamb) and tantalising flower blossoms wafted through our Landy windows on our way up the python river.   The flat land became more and more naked, dotted with the burnt paws and ankles of trees.   Mr Cow with the mighty horns, whom I had first had a sniff of at Lac Rose, often crossed the road right in front of our wheels.  We saw some humans digging in to grey earth for damp bricks with which to build their kennels and leaving them out to dry in the sun (funny that, I have never found a mud brick when I have been digging - have you Nutmeg?).  Our journey was broken by a visit to a lot of little food shops on concrete tables under a large roof (called a market) organised by the female humans; a feast for the eyes and nose with tomatoes, a long white stick called a manioc, onions, aubergines, chives, potatoes, bread, cabbages, okra and mid-morning snacks all perfectly laid out upon the concrete tables in piles of three (not two or four, always three).  We heard no English barkings here, just gentle, laughing chirrups of local barks so we used our eyes, paws and tails to place our orders.

Eddy and his jolly curtains made us feel at kennel in the town of Farafenni.  The next morning Landy was not at all well.  He was issuing forth bellows of smoke in to our seats.  We took him to a doctor in Farafenni who said we had to go to the big habitation of Banjul for the right medicine to make him well again.  So, we pug paced it back to a place called Barra, across the python river from Banjul, where we found a wonderful doctor who cured Landy with a new head gasket.   The doctor let us stay the night in his hospital where we were looked after by Mr Goat and his enormous family and some all singing nearly all dancing young humans.   Our bellies were fired up with niebbe (spicy black eyed beans, onions and tomatoes in a baguette, yummy, there is also a Senegalese variation on the theme made with onions and green peas). 
So long,  farewell it was to The Gambia at Janjangbureh after a monkey deposited its undigested niebbe upon my mistress's head.   There were also some orange bats hanging from the trees at this place, but do not fret Queen Bee, we did not let them drop any of their waste products anywhere near us.  

And so it is adieu, adieu to you and you and you my dear family, friends and other dogs,  until my next writings all about the Casamance.  

Thank you for your readings.

Love and licks

Max x x

PS Paw Notes to Photos

A Sacred Duty and What President Jammeh Stands For – a most terrifying Top Dog it must be said.  One young male human told us that there is no point trying to change anything in The Gambia because all of the governmental Top Dog positions are held by members of Jammeh’s pack.   He keeps those humans whom he does not like the smell of on a row of small kennels with Dr Death and his curly chopping scythe looming over them.  To nose out more have a look at Amnesty International
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