Sunday, 1 February 2009

The Third Gambian Experience Part Eight (Isn't Going Home A Low An' Lonely Ride...)

Photo's from the top:-
Haddy, Sainey and me.
Joy, Sainey and me.
Joy & Sainey.
Joy & Haddy.
It's a (wo)man's world.
Joy & Ida.
Joy & 'Tufa.
Play us out, mate...

It's my last day here and as usual I'm feeling quite sad...
I woke early and showered in hot water which was a plus, but I still managed to miss the kids before they went to school.
Haddy and Saina' are sorting out breakfast with Ida, and little Omar is fast asleep in his net in the middle of the compound.
Pussy is getting underfoot because she wants real catfood as opposed to having to wait for us to finish so she can eat up the scraps we leave, and she knows there are some pouches in the refrigerator, so I sort her out and then she can feed her four kittens when she's done.
Finally, we're ready to eat and Joy turns up in time to grab another plate and eat it hot.
Tomatoes, fried egg and one chicken frank each, along with the usual baguette and we're done save the tea or coffee...
I don't know about Joy, but I'm going to miss them all terribly.
Truth is, I'd rather be here than there, anyway.
But the day will come...
Oh yes... The day will definitely come.

Visitors start appearing as soon as we finish breakfast...
Ebrima... Off to a job, pops his head round the compound door and wishes us a good flight and he'll see me again soon...
Too right he will.
He doesn't know if he'll be about at midday when we have to leave, so a hug for Joy and a handshake and an embrace for me.I must ask him next time what he thought of Joy, as she definitely invaded his posse's male preserve a couple of times ?
Little Ida's mum comes over, apologising for not coming earlier, and I get a hug and best wishes for the flight and could Ida have a copy of her and Mariama's poem ?
Of course.
It seems everybody wants to say goodbye.
Hadim turns up with a rattle for Mariama...
The drummers have heard the news already and he says that when Mariama gets the drum and he gets a chance, he'll pop round the compound for a practice session, but right now the drum remains a secret until her birthday at Christmas.
These guys are so giving that my innate cynicism that living in England gives everyone free gratis is taking a bit of a pounding, but I know I'll need it when I get back home, and then Sainey appears with his guitar to 'play us out' as it were.
Both Joy and I are firing off photo's left, right and centre trying to get everybody in and hopefully they'll all come out, but who knows ?
This is one sad occasion and don't I know it ?
Lamin turns up to say goodbye and he thinks he might have found the wood already...
I know Mariama's drum will be in safe hands if he has anything to do with it.
We can't wait any longer as check in time is rapidly approaching and although Mariama has just turned up back from school, it looks like we're going to miss the twins...
I gave Mariama the rattle from Hadim and she choked up...
"Look after it Mariama, and make it your own... It's yours and you have to learn it's secrets by yourself, what it can do and what it can't...
It's not a drum but it's your start, so look after it little one... keep it safe and make it your own..." Christ !
She had me choking up at that moment but the bloody car is ready to go and so one last hug with Sainabou, Ida, little Ida...
Handshakes with a couple of the guys and Sainey... and Ebrima who has just turned up as we're bundled inside the car and driving up to the main road.
At the top of the road just as we're about to turn left we spot the twins coming home from school so it's me and Joy back in the street to hug them goodbye and now we're really off.

Back home.
A six hour flight to a country I don't even recognise as my own anymore.
Why don't I recognise it ?
Ask the fucking politicians who run it for their own benefit...
Ask those who would justify their own positions by keeping people divided...
Ask them, but don't ask me.
I've done complaining about it and now I just don't care anymore.
Life's too short and there's never enough time to do the things I really want to do, so fuck the country and fuck the government.
Fuck 'em all for their lies and hypocrisy...
Ain't none of 'em worth a bucket of piss !

Oh dear... I seem to have gone off on one...
Should I edit it out ?
What do you think ?
Whose blog is it anyway ?
No... I won't edit it out.
They brought it on, so they can take the criticism and if they can't and they start up their bullying then it just proves the point without question, and I despise them utterly from the centre of my being.
In The Gambia I'm treated as a human being whether I'm there on holiday or to work like this trip.
Yeah, I know it doesn't sound like work, but believe me, it is, so why can't I be treated like that in my own country ?
Because some people want possession of my soul and it's not for sale.
I stand for the freedom to think, to talk for myself, and to take responsibility for my own actions and my government and their Lords and Masters in Brussells are doing their level best to take those basic freedoms away from me so I stand in opposition... and I know I'm not alone.

When we reach the airport I check out the check in time with the guy on the gate and he motions me on through...
Not yet...
More hugs from 'Tufa and Haddy...
C'mon Joy, make it quick because I really hate this bit.
I'd much rather go through without any tears but I know Haddy is close, and hanging about is going to make it ten times worse.
Don't look back whatever you do... and we head for departures through security and the scanner only to find that I'm stopped for a search...
Yeah, I know... I've got an honest face.
Open the case...
What's this ?
A music stand.
And this ?
Another music stand.
No, I'm a poet, not a musician...
Yes, I've just done two gigs in The Gambia to raise money for a local youth group...
And what are these ?
He looks like he's just discovered the crown jewels when he discovers my Nicorette capsules...
Yes, they're drugs... and so are these and these and these and these and these and these...
No, those are for malaria and all the rest are for my heart condition.
They're an aid to help me stop smoking... You put them in this little gadget here and you inhale pure nicotine without any of the smoke.
How long do they last ? About twenty minutes if you don't inhale too hard...
Where did I get them ?
I was prescribed them by my doctor to help me stop smoking.
Yes, I'll change one over now and you can watch it all happening, it's quite simple, you twist this and take out the old one... Bin please... Thank you... and then you stick in another one and start sucking on that, and I'll tell you now, they are a godsend on aeroplanes...
Yes, they work in that they certainly help you cut down on smoking cigarettes...
Don't worry guys, you're going to see a lot more people carrying them in the future, and you might even begin to sell something like it in The Gambia soon as there are certainly a lot of smokers here, especially among the Gambian youth, so who knows ?
Thank you... thank you... It's ok, just let me get my boots on again and I'll be out of your way...
No worries mate, I'll be back again in the not too distant future...
An honest face, huh ?
And I'm finally through to departures.
Now where's Joy ?
Chatting up the bloke behind the bar when I spot her, but she has brought two beers and one of them is for me...
It goes down in one.
And now another...
It'll be my last because I'm driving home from Gatwick.
It's tea, coffee and fruit juice from here on in.
We get a snack from the snack bar on the terrace.
It's way overpriced but it's fresh food so I don't care, and at least their sandwiches are made at the bar and not stuck in polystyrene packets in machines or cold coolers.
I'm beginning to wind down and relax even though I dislike flying intensely and here's our plane just arriving from England.
Another hour and a bit while they refuel and re-equip and we'll be on our way.
I just hope I haven't been lumbered with a window seat as there is no room to even breathe in those.
No, Joy got it, but she's happy looking out of the window and I'm piggy in the middle...
It'll have to do.
The flight is uneventful.
I slept a bit and wrote up some notes and Joy watched the in-flight film which was Will Smith in 'Hancock', one of those superhero type things.
It has a few good moments near the beginning as far as the script is concerned but tails off mid film into tedium and lack of ideas before a good bit of demolition and destruction at the end...
It's light entertainment with the emphasis on 'light'.
Please fasten your safety belts before landing...
And we're back in good old Blighty.
I wish I felt like that, but I can't summon up the energy...
I wish I were back in The Gambia and that's a fact.
Look, I know the grass is always greener and all that, but really... What have we actually come home to ?
The temperature outside Gatwick is apparently minus one centigrade and we've just flown back from a warm thirty four C.
Apparently there is an informal sweepstake going around some of the passengers to guess who is going to get stopped by British Customs and guess who can't get anything but even money ?
Yeah, right !
And you know what ?
They were right.
As soon as I walked into the green light area I'm stopped by some Asian woman in a uniform...
Am I travelling with anyone else ?
Who ?
Joy who ?
The lady up ahead who's waiting for me.
(Now she's been stopped also)
Yes, I can open my case...
They're music stands...
They're the leads for the minidisk recorder...
Those are extension speakers, either for the computer or the minidisk...
Yes, I've just done a couple of gigs in The Gambia...
Yes, I packed my own case.
Yes, one jar of peanut butter which the family made for me... It's rolled up in a sock to stop the jar breaking...
No, I don't think it contains any drugs... I was given it by Mariama and she's nine on Christmas Day, what would she be doing with drugs ?
Why would I buy drugs in The Gambia when if I wanted them, I can buy better in England ?
You may have gathered that I'm not very helpful to these people.
Well if they stopped going by how people dress they might have a bit more luck in their endeavours and might catch the right people.
Like I'm going to smuggle drugs dressed as I am ?
Are these people taught to be complete pillocks or is pillockdom something they are born with ?
No, I'm not prepared to compromise on my dress sense.
I wear what is comfortable for me and if that makes me look like a drug smuggler, whatever a drug smuggler might look like, then so be it.
As far as I'm aware most people caught at airports smuggling drugs are female, young and stupid...
Hey, don't have a go at me for quoting straight out of the newspapers who report the stories...
Most of those caught are female, young and stupid.
I'm a bearded male and I'm not that young.
As for my stupidity, well that's a matter of record and depends upon how you view things but I'm not THAT stupid.
So if these people are going by looks, as they did in this case then their stupidity is as great as those who smuggle.
Why not check the businessman's briefcase, or is the fact that he's wearing a suit proof positive that he's not a drug smuggler ?
Jesus ! If they haven't worked that out yet, then it's no wonder the streets are awash with the stuff.
When they realise I'm doing just a bit more than sending them up, they let me go.
Having said that, I also know I'm going to be trailed at least by C.C.T.V. until I'm outside.
Joy's bloke, Kieran, is waiting for her and I finally get to meet him when we get through, so I tell him thanks for letting me borrow her for the week and I owe him a beer at least for that, but he can have her back now...
I get a hug from her before they depart and now all I want is to sit somewhere warm and have a cup of tea and a fag but there's no chance until I'm outside the building for the cigarette and where am I going to get a cup of tea ?
At the garage on the outskirts where I stop for a cornish pasty is the answer, so I pull into one of their parking bays and relax a bit.
The tea is in one of those cardboard double layer heat mugs and tastes like heaven to a bloke who's been drinking aeroplane tea for six hours and the pasty wasn't too bad either.
Thanks guys...
I wouldn't have known you warmed things up if you hadn't told me, and making me a cup of tea with a kettle ?
Top marks guys, and no messing.
It's just past midnight when I get home but then I'm not working today (or tomorrow depending on how you look at these things) so I just clear up after the cats who both greet me quite grumpily when I get in.
Thanks Dave, for feeding them while I was away...
A day to clear up, do the washing, that sort of thing... before heading back to the Insanity Factory.
Yabba fuckin' dabba doo !


The exchange rate had been falling for most of the time we were out there and at the beginning of December the banks started to crash all around the world starting in America and hitting Britain within days...
They lost so much money because of their dubious practices that our Prime Minister started giving away my money (and yours) to shore them up.
Within a few days they had started failing all over the world and billions of our money was poured into their coffers to support them and to stop them failing.
Then the economy started to fail as the rescued banks decided to keep the money for their shareholders as opposed to helping their borrowers with it, causing those with large mortgages to default on payments and when they did that, the banks sent the bailiffs in...
Now, at the end of January 2009 we are in a global recession, the banks have been bailed out again with my (and your) money and the British economy has well and truly collapsed.
Now forgive me if I'm wrong but wasn't this clown of a Prime Minister the Chancellor Of The Exchequer throughout the whole term of B'liar's government, and that being the case if he didn't spot what was coming down the pike then I think it quite fair to call his and the bank's senior executives' competence to account.
We as a country might weather it better than a country a lot poorer than ours as the residual and knock-on effect on some of the poorer nations is going to be nothing other than catastrophic.
I suppose that since we can all now be charged with a crime if we even attempt to stop burglars stealing our money and our property, then one more of the thievin' bastards ain't gonna make tuppence worth of difference ?
At least I've still got the music... but the Jilted John hit's chorus seems to be the most appropriate right now...
(Along with Dylan's Masters of War, The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again and Lindisfarne's Bring Down the Government...)
You're scratching your head as if you don't know ?
Ok, I'll sing it for you...
Gordon is a moron, Gordon is a moron...
Repeat ad infinitum.
And you wonder why I totally despise these people ?
You're having a laugh !

Haddy tells me it's hurting everybody in The Gambia except one...
Mariama got her drum for her birthday and hasn't stopped hitting it since.
Every day when she returns from school she starts drumming again and apparently there are definitely three female drummers in The Gambia.
They've been shown on Gambian television all playing together.
(Apparently, according to my sources... Some of the guy's were quite impressed...).

There is an old African proverb...
A village without music is a dead village.
Make of that what you will...

Here's a quick poem for the occasion...

Gordon (Golden) Brown Remix # 3.
The 'He's got the whole world in his hands and he's dropped it' mix
(Thanx to The Stranglers for the rhyme and metre)

Gordon Brown, What did you do ?
The country's collapsing all around you
You squandered our wealth
on a shareholder's health
You can't let THEM go down
Can you, Gordon Brown ?

'We've saved the world...'
We heard what you said, you did it by stealing everyone's bread
So surely you jest
You're just like the rest
That's hardly renown
Is it, Gordon Brown ?

Gordon Brown, What did you expect ?
Some of our workers are feeling quite vexed
Their jobs on the line
Labour's immigration crime
It's our country not theirs
Nor yours... Gordon Brown.

This is the fourth version (all different)
and if you wish to see the earlier ones, hit this link (They're in the 'Song Lyrics' section)

No comments: