Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sukuta to Tumani Tenda Eco Lodge, The Gambia, December 13, 2018

The SIM card I bought yesterday has already expired!  I think the woman might have lied to me about how much data she put on it.  All it means is that I won't have internet for a couple of days which is unfortunate  because it took quite awhile to get the SIM in the first place and I was looking forward to it.  Oh well.

We had a leisurely start because we only had 50 km to go.  It was refreshing to leave the city and the tourists-


and head into the country.  Along the way-


There're more and more farms and homesteads-



They love their soccer-


At Tumani Tenda, I scored my own room-



The Eco Lodge was first started in 1997 when the community entered a competition with a proposal to develop an ecological area to attract tourists to support the nearby village where seven extended families make up the four hundred or so inhabitants.  Activities at the lodge are seasonal and include soap making, cooking, fishing with nets as long as the boat doesn't have a hole in it as it does now, a village tour, a forest walk, oyster digging, tie dying, honey production and cultural dancing.  Besides beer drinking, I'm not sure what I'm going to do - maybe cooking and I'm definitely going to walk into the village.  If the dancers show up tonight, I will watch them too.  

The nearby river is a tributary of the Gambian but unfortunately the bottom is muddy - after all we are surrounded by mangroves-

I walked into the village-


And visited with some women who were separating the Africa Locost beans or monkey bread from the shell-


And then shaking them to get rid of the oowder.  The yellow powder is soaked in water, honey is added as well as lemon and it's a remedy for malaria and yellow fever.  The bean is boiled, salted and then it will keep for one month.  They add it to white rice-


The red bisa flower is boiled to make juice.  Some think it cleans the blood-


Further along I came to the school-



Kids attend the local basic school them move on to another village for middle years then have to move away for high school.

They are doing a good job growing food and raising goats.  Most crops are well fenced--


I visited with a Dutch woman who first came here 10 years ago for bird watching.  She fell in love with a local man and decided to stay.  She built two nice huts and returns every winter, even though she and the man are no longer together.  She doesn't speak the local language but the kids all speak English.  I can't imagine.  

After supper, which was pretty much the same as lunch - fried chicken, fried onions and this time vermicelli, rice was for lunch, local women and children came to dance.  They beat drums and hit wooden blocks together while singing and danced like crazy, moving their feet as fast as lightning going into the circle for only a few seconds before letting someone else show their moves-


I'm going to enjoy the peace and quiet and the privacy in my own BIG bed!

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