Tuesday, 8 December 2015


We’re back in The Gambia after only a year being away and not much has changed apart from the children have got a bit bigger all around the village.
Times have got a bit harder for the population because it would seem that all the money goes to feed and pay the army and everybody else gets to wait.
There is definitely an undercurrent of desperation all over, and we, living in the UK as we do, are regarded as rich.
That’s a laugh because if they only knew what we have to go through to get it, then maybe they wouldn’t think it, but because Haddy is in touch with most of them by ‘phone our closer friends know the truth.
Ok, we don’t live under a dictatorship but the way things are going UK wise right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if we flew back to find ourselves in one ?
It’s hard wherever you are right now and nobody is winning it would seem, except politicians and bankers…
So we go through the congratulations on new babies and commiserations over family bereavements and try and stay sane in the face of it all.
Because everything has been done in a bit of a rush we haven’t had any time to order anything up for Tobaski, but one of our neighbours has sorted some lamb out for the kids and now we are there we can chip in for some chicken for the following day.
Once Tobaski is out of the way we can relax.
Sainabou and Granddaughter Adama are going to be with us along with Baddou and most of his family and in all honesty that will do.

Sainabou and Adama

Mariama and Jalika look very pretty in their matching new outfits as does Ida when she pops over to join them, but Awa cannot decide which of hers to choose ?

Mariama, Jalika and Ida
Her husband had sent her money for one and she'd got the other done herself.
Decisions, decisions... 

Awa and Mum

Much to their disappointment the twins matching outfits were still at the tailors shop and not finished and so they were a little put out to say the least.
I know who WON'T be getting the contract to make them next year, so let's leave it at that...
Some of Baddou’s family are visiting friends.

In the compound with some of Baddou's family
Omar, the lad who had ‘nutted’ one of the nuisances last year was back but in Western clothes this year. 

Omar on the left and friend
He’s off with one of his mates and won’t be hanging about.
Too many and nobody will be able to get a word in…

Baddou's eldest daughter Haddy
Still, everybody who’s been told we’ve arrived seems happy to see us again and that’s a plus.
The minus is that I got put in charge of some of the cooking.

Now let’s get one thing straight from the start.
I CAN actually cook.
My problem is cooking with charcoal.
It’s alright being told how long to do it but the variables that come up regarding how much heat you are going to need mean that if I do it then it’s not going to be foolproof and it could come out a burnt mess ?
It didn’t, but I listened to Sainabou…
‘Uncle Chris, stop cooking it now or it will burn…’
‘Ok, I’m on it’.
As for our Granddaughter Adama, she still hasn’t got used to me and even cries if I give her wonjor, but she’ll get used to me eventually…
Hopefully ?



Buba' Sanneh

And let's not forget all the children...

Little 'Tapha


Pa Musa
 And then there’s the cat.
A very heavily pregnant Princess is definitely about to drop kittens which she proceeds to do on the second day of Tobaski.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another…
She’d made herself a bed in the darkest corner of one of Haddy’s two unrented shops where we store all the stuff we send out there, and about three days later she’d proudly picked up her kittens one at a time and taken them all into the house and into one of the girl’s bedrooms.
Unseen by any of the family of course, and so the first we knew about it was when the girls heard their piteous mewing when Princess had gone to eat…
Aaaaaarrrgh !!!
Ok you lot, out you come...
Much to their Mother’s annoyance of course.
But now they’re back safely in the corner of the shop.

Princess, the other new 'Mum'
Poor old Princess looks exhausted, as well she might with six new babies so I think we’ll have to do a cat food run on Monday when all the shops re-open.

And so Monday we went to the bank and then went shopping or at least we tried to, but everything we needed they were sold out of or they’d stopped selling it.
What the fuck is going on ?
Ok, it’s the end of the rainy season and the tourist season starts in about three weeks hence the astronomical air-fares but you’d think…
Hang on…
It’s The Gambia so DON’T think, just go with it.
Which we would if we could, but it seems impossible ?
Try another supermarket…
Same as.
And another ?
That one is shut and looks like it’s closed down…
We’re not doing too well here, are we ?
Let’s go home before I blow a frigging gasket…
So back we go with pretty much sod-all of what we went out for.
We definitely need advice as to where to shop because I have no intention of going all the way to Sennagambia just to buy a few bits of food for us and the cats especially when they will all be marked up for tourists.
Right, we’ve taken advice and and neither of us has actually gone to where we’ve been sent, but we’ll have a go this afternoon …
Taxi back to our bank in Westfield and then a couple of roads walk and Voila !
There it is, but has it actually got anything we want ?
Yes, it has at least sixty per-cent of our shopping list including cat food.
I think we’ll have to ask somebody what’s going on when we get back because this has never happened before, well, not to us anyway ?
What an absolute pain in the arse.
We’ve wasted nearly one whole day trying to find somewhere that has a few ‘specialist’ food bits, like a small jar of Basil, some frozen chicken frankfurters and even cat food, but at least this place seems to have some of them, including the cat food…
Right… That’s that, so let’s get home before the rush hour starts, shall we ?
Well, that was a first-class failure.
We are now totally jammed in, cars are stuck front, behind and right.
I haven’t the faintest idea why it was so heavy on the road and neither has Haddy but the truth is that if we hadn’t had the shopping we could have walked it quicker than that taxi ride, but finally we’re back.
God knows what time Sibo will be back from school if it carries on like this ?
About nine fifteen and the poor girl is exhausted...
Come on Sibo, just get in the top twenty five and all this will stop.
It's going to be easier said than done if it carries on like this, though...
The reason the supermarkets haven’t got any stock is because they all seem to be changing hands ?
Apparently the President didn’t like the fact that most of them were Liberians and sending money home to their families.
So he basically ‘asked’ them to leave the country and that occurrence was quite recent, hence no bloody stock…
So now we know.

The following day is spent sorting out the boxes of clothing that we’d sent out.
There are three boxes going to Killy, mostly children’s clothes and the rest will be given out in the village to those that Haddy knows need it.
If you’ve ever tried sorting out eight boxes of clothing into male and female and then approximate sizes then you will know what it does to your arms and back.
Needless to say, I don’t recommend it.
The only thing we’ve kept back is the one bag from one box which are the clothes for the girls and which we’d bought specially, and those will have to wait until the following weekend when at least we can all be together, although the possibility is that we’re hitting one of the hotel’s swimming pools with the younger ones on one of the days ?
It hasn’t been decided yet but it does look likely.

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