Monday, 4 August 2014


It’s Tobaski…
Crunch time !
Do I or don’t I ?
First things first, cold shower because the kids have nicked all the hot water, get dressed and think about breakfast…
Sardines in baguette thingie (the bigger one than a tapa-lapa) which I’m always forgetting the name of, followed by a large cup of tea and wander outside into direct sunlight.
I think it’s going to be a hot one because it’s not so muggy as yesterday, besides we are still in the rainy season so when it builds up it really does build up.
Banging on the gates !!!
It’s Fansu from over the road, and he’s brought a friend with him…

Fansu delivering dinner...

Four legs, ugly, and bleating away like a good’un.
Which brings all the kids out and Fansu’s mate is immediately christened…
I knew this was going to happen.
Now it’s got a name I might not want to kill it, but on the other hand we called it ‘Gaddafi’ so I still might ?
I've paid out about a hundred quid for this ?
Anyway, Fansu says it needs a wash, and so the scrubbing brush comes out while ‘Gaddafi’ starts eating every bit of leaf it can reach on Haddy’s shrubs.
Finally the job is done and Fansu says he’ll be back in about an hour, while ‘Gaddafi’ is tethered to where he can do the least harm.


More banging on the gates and Baddou and his family have arrived. 

N'Dey, looking a bit sad...


His sister has recently died and so he has taken over the looking after of her two children also, so we’ve got N’Dey and his sister’s two, plus baby Awa and wife Yama.

Baby Awa

Baddou's late sister's pair (sorry kids, but I don't have your names)
Eldest daughter Haddy has gone to one of her friends where she has an invite so she’ll be the missing one today.
It’s a shame but Baddou’s sister’s little girl is definitely not well.
I think it’s probably just a cold, but we’ll keep an eye out to make sure she’s alright.
The lad is fine though, doesn’t seem as if anything is wrong with him ?
He looks about eight to ten years, but is quite striking in his outfit, and he does look out for his little sister.
Kawsu’s arrived…
Something is going on.
And it’s not just Gaddafi, I can smell it ?
And finally…
I will not be killing Gaddafi because I am not a Muslim and to be done properly he needs the prayer before they do it !!!
Cue laughter track... (from EVERYBODY ELSE in the compound)
You’ve all kept me wound up for the last how many months telling me that because I’m head of the household I have to do it, and now I don’t ?
And what’s more even Sibo and Jalika were in on it ?
Ha bloody ha !
Good joke.
Just don’t ask me for any pocket money because I’ve seriously been having kittens over having to do it, now I’m going to get my own back…
Ok, the butt of the joke is me, but how they all managed to keep straight faces through God knows how many skype calls over the last few months is beyond me ?
That has to be one of the best wind-up’s ever.
But I will have my revenge…
I think it’s Awa and the twins who perpetrated it with Haddy’s collusion ?
Damn !!!
I need a beer…

So… Everybody has been offered a drink and everybody is here except Fansu, therefore I’m going to sort out today’s 'sounds' which are a judicious mixture of Gambian stuff that they know, Youssou N’Dour which they also know, a few of the kid’s favourites and a few of Haddy’s and mine.
Want to know what the playlist included ?
Youssou N’Dour, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Mickey Hart Band, Grateful Dead, Los Lobos, Dr John, Levon Helm, Fairport Convention, Sona Jobarteh, Afro Manding of The Gambia, Fatoumata Diawara, Rokia Traore, Tinariwen, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Jackson Browne and CSNY off the top of my head…
It was quite varied to say the least.

And now Fansu’s back…
A quick conversation with Kawsu, and the pair of them take Gaddafi around the back of the house along with Baddou and a very sharp knife.
Fansu says he’ll be back for the knife later…

All the rest of the food has been prepared by Awa, Yama and Hassanatou.
If it hadn't been censored to nonsensical ends by Youtube, you could have watched a video of the occasion, but unfortunately it fell foul of the 'copyright' laws, having a musical soundtrack as it did.
Bummer ! 
Haddy has taken charge of the meat.
Anyone for a lamb chop ?

Most of it has vanished over the road to the compounds opposite via the Sibo delivery service.
I have however requested a leg to be placed in the freezer for later…
A LOT later.
That comes out when Tobaski has been and gone, and THEN I’ll cook it.
The problem is that people walk by and smell it cooking and then invite themselves…
I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that ?
Visitors come and go...

Pa Musa

 Pa Musa...

Buba' Sainey

Buba'  Sainey
But I have to confess I am totally stuffed when we finish eating…
BURP !!!
And I don’t think I’m the only one ?
Of course all the local children make a bee-line for our compound when they realise we’re actually there.
All of them are dressed to the nines.
Smart new outfits, wraps and dresses. 

Fatou Bintou and the girls

It’s all there.

Baby Sarjo, and the lads
Here’s a few shots of some that we know. 

A very shy group led by Binta on the left who seems to have turned into a young lady from her 'Dennis the Menace' persona eighteen months ago...

And they all go off happily after Haddy has paid them…
Trouble is, they then tell all their friends and so it’s never ending…
It’s going to happen again tomorrow but with ‘Western’ or ‘European’ dress.
I think the money will run out first.

Ok, it’s middle to late afternoon and most of the local children we know have been in and admired and paid for their efforts.
Our lot and Baddou’s bunch are quite happily playing and messing about as kids do, but there’s a bunch outside, all boys, who despite being asked constantly not to, keep opening our compound gate and shouting that they want meat, and to be honest they are getting on my tits somewhat.
Not just mine, but they are disturbing our nice mellow atmosphere we’ve got going.
Haddy has already told them to get lost and they still haven’t, so when they swing the gate open again, I’m behind it…
‘Oi, come on you lot, scram… You’re beginning to annoy people…’
‘Give us meat, toubab…’
‘Toubab, you have meat and we don’t… Give us meat…’
‘Wanna ask politely, or is that beyond you… I don’t mind, but I will smack you in the gob if you speak to me rudely again… Now piss off before my wife sees you off, and if that happens you’ll definitely regret it…’
And I went and sat down again…
Haddy looks up and says ‘They didn’t listen, did they ?’
‘I’ll sort it out…’
And out of the compound she walked…
But the little buggers wouldn’t cease and the gate swung open again.
I got up to do something but Baddou’s late sister’s little lad got up first and started walking toward the gate, Jalika falling in behind him and Little ‘Tapha bringing up the rear.

Little 'Tapha
The gate swings open again and the kids walk outside.
There is an almighty thudding sound followed by a scream, another thudding noise followed by more yells and then the scream of brakes followed by a loud torrent of abuse and the three kids come walking back into the compound, closing the gate behind them.
It turns out that Baddou’s sister’s lad had grabbed the nearest one and ‘nutted’ him full on.
One of his friends has raised his fist toward him and so Jalika had swung one punch and the second one has flown backwards into the road and into the path of a passing taxi…
Whoops !!!
At that point all hell broke loose and the rest ran away.
Little ‘Tapha just watched it happen.
Talk about a mutual admiration society…
I think Jalika has just made a friend for life.
High five’s and big grins between the pair of them.
Baddou’s sister’s lad cannot get over the fact that a girl, and a small one at that, can actually fight…
Well, it’s not the usual hair-tugging is it ?

Jalika, off to prayers...
But then we don’t call her ‘Little Miss Ali’ for nothing.
And then Haddy comes back.
‘It's sorted dear, the kids sorted it…’
‘I’ve spoken to their parents, they won’t be rude again’
‘You’re probably right, but there’s a couple nursing bruises right now…’
‘Why, what happened  ?’
And it all went round again with actions this time.
Sibo, Awa and the twins are in absolute hysterics, Yama is shaking her head and Baddou is looking on proudly.
Poor N’Dey doesn’t quite know what to make of it all.
Haddy just shakes her head…
‘Eeee that child… Jalika must stop hitting people’
‘I think you ought to give her a hug and say thank you for sticking up for the family, though… And to be honest she was just protecting the lad from getting thumped, there were five of them…’
‘It’s not ladylike…’
‘No, it’s not… But it got the required result…’
And so we settled down again until the evening.
When it was time to leave and pick up their Haddy, Baddou and Yama were loaded, but they’ll all be back tomorrow for Tobaski’s second day.
The one thing you can say in all honesty is that it’s never dull around here…

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