Monday, September 28, 2009

Tumani Tenda cont.

Tumani Tenda is an eco-tourism camp. They were recognized for their long conserved forests, and their community garden. The village works in a unique way to make group decisions and run the camp. Tourists can come and stay the night, which is what we did this weekend. We got there a little late due to a flat tire, so we only got to speak to the village elder and walk along the garden. Above is the beautiful sunset and then us beauts! Kaitlyn's pictures are of the mangrove forest along the Gambian river. We woke up at sunrise and walked along the river.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Global Unification

While we were at PowerShift in March, Laura and I signed up to host an event for while in the Gambia.  Recently, we discovered that there was already a 350 event in the works for the Gambia.  Today we meet with staff members from the group in charge of the event.  We are going to help the group, called Global Unification, to plan and fundraise for the event, which runs from October 21st through October 24th.  There will be a neighborhood cleanup, tree planting, an educational symposium, and a demonstration and concert.  I'm very excited to be helping Global Unification with their efforts.  Now, where to find $11,ooo?

Tumani Tenda

Here are some pictures from Tumani Tenda-more to follow later.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Camp

I realized we never actually showed you any pictures of Happy Camp (where we live).
Here is our room: The giraffe came with the room, and we named him Trevor.

Here is the balcony: We are the tallest tower on the street. We call it Tubab Tower.
Here is the living room: We are taking drumming lessons from Lamin, the man in blue. This is the first of two weeks of lessons. We are getting pretty good, if i do say so myself :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Since we have arrived in The Gambia, local Muslims have been fasting as part of the month of Ramadan.  One neither eats nor drinks from sunrise to sunset.  Dancing, drumming, and singing are also prohibited.  Last Saturday, on the last day of Ramadan, Laura and I fasted.  It is not difficult to go for a day without eating.  Not drinking in 100 degree heat, however, is quite challenging.  Regardless of the challenges, we made it through the day.  Koriteh, a festival which celebrates the end of Ramadan, occurred on Sunday and Monday.  We all put on our Gambian clothes and visited our friend Hatibu's compound for lunch.  In the evening, our language teacher, Awa Ceesay, took Laura and I to visit my namesake, or tomeh.  My tomeh, who is also named Kombe Sarr (of course), lives in a part of the city called Bakau.  Kombe and her family were very welcoming.  On Koriteh, in the evening, children traditionally go around to compounds and ask for sweets and coins.  It is in some ways similar to Halloween.  On our way back from Bakau, Laura and I saw hundreds of children on Kairaiba Avenue spending their coins on ice cream.  Since the end of Ramadan, everyone seems happier and more friendly.  They are happy to done fasting-at least until next year.  Pictures included are:  eating lunch at Hatibu's house, me admiring Hatibu's pet parrot, some of Hatibu's relatives, me and the other Kombe Sarr, and Kombe's husband.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The day to day...

Just in case it sounded like we had constant activities, I wanted to make some corrections! After class on rainy days there is nothing to do, but stay in the compound. So, we have to get a little creative. Make shift twister:

On beautiful days we will head to the beach after class. And on lazy days we sit around and read. Soon I won't have as much free time because of service learning projects. I hope to teach high school Biology and help with the University's lab facilities. Kaitlyn wants to get an internship with a local Environmental agency. But for now, sitting around reading isn't have bad.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Artist Village

One of my favorite things we have done so far has been a tie-dye workshop at the Artist Village. The artist's name is Babukar, and he lives here with his wife and children. The property used to be a village, but the people moved because there was bad luck there. When Babukar moved in, the place was run down, but he turned the village into his next art project. He planted trees and flowers, and built houses out of natural materials. The Hut shown is one of the possible rooms guests can stay in and it was painted by the SMCM group of Fall 2007 (Shane Hall). This was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and I really want to go back for a weekend.
The tie-dying workshop was a great success! We learned different techniques, and the colors were so bright! You can see the fabric I dyed in the post of clothes, Kaitlyn and I made ours into skirts. The first picture is of Babukar (in blue) and he is demonstrating photo-emulsion screenprinting.

We are Gambians now

This post is to show you the new clothes I have gotten made, as well as show you Kailyn's head wrap.
The picture with all the girls, is when we had a party in our courtyard. There was drumming and so much ridiculous dancing. We exchanged hand clap games and our versions of ring around the rosey.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pictures for your viewing pleasure

On Friday we visited Bijilo National Park in Senegambia.  This park is home to green monkeys.  As tourists often feed the monkeys peanuts, they are quite tame and follow you around.  There is a beautiful beach nearby, but unfortunately a storm rolled in just as we were leaving the park.  We are in the peak of the rainy season, so our neighborhood often floods after the afternoon rains.  There is sometimes up to a foot of water in the courtyard of our compound.  One day last week neighborhood children were actually swimming in our courtyard!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Abuko national park! This semester I will be doing directed research under Professor Wolovich. She is researching Galago's or bush babies! There are also 3 other biology majors who are working on primate SMP's. I have been within 2 feet of a Callithrix monkey(pic 1), who thinks you will give it food. There are also colobus monkeys (pic 3). The galago's are nocturnal, so we do the research at night. (Mom, I wore a ton of bug spray and all my permethrin sprayed gear) To find them, we wore head lamps with spot lights. When their eyes are struck by light the shine back a bright red light. So we went through the forest looking for eye shine, and when we spotted on we have to snap for the others to come look. It was Elena, myself, and Molong who is the lead Gambian scientist in the park, in one group. Molong knows every single plant in that park, he knows the English name, Gambian name, and scientific name, as well as the medicinal uses! So after we spotted a galago we would try to watch it as long as possible, but it would scurry away within 20 seconds. We then trekked over to the tree it was on and Molong would have me write the long scientific name down. Then he name all the neighboring trees! This man is a genius! In an hours time we saw 7 galago's. It was over all a successful night!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hello! This is us on the plane to Dakar. We look happy, but what ended up happening was over 24 hours with no sleep and waiting 8 hours in the Dakar airport. International travel is never easy.
Since we have gotten to The Gambia we have learned greetings in Wolof (a common local language) and attended lectures on Gambian culture. Also, I touched a crocodile!!! It was at the crocodile pool in Kachicalli, where we had our naming ceremony. My Gambian name by the way is Isatou Conteh.
Its been hard to sit down in front of a computer long enough to blog all the things I am experiencing. Hopefully once classes start, I will be able to write much more. Until them... Jaama (peace)


Here are a few pictures of our Gambian adventure.  On Sunday we participated in a Gambian naming ceremony at Katchikally crocodile pool.  My Gambian name is Kombe Sarr.  Then we got to pet the crocodiles!  I also took cloth that I bought at the market to the tailor's down the road.  The dress is beautiful!