Looking back: River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey (youtube)

 

River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey’footage © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio From the source of the River Gambia, in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, into Senegal, and onto The Gambia, West Africa, to the Atlantic Ocean’ (2012-2013) – See/read more at River Gambia Expedition 

 

Related: ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey’

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#ThrowbackSaturday: 30th December, 2014 – attempted coup, The Gambia, West Africa

 

Quiet on the streets of Banjul, The Gambia, after failed coup attempt - image © Helen Jones-Florio
Quiet on the streets of Banjul, The Gambia, after failed coup attempt – image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

In 2014, Jason Florio and I were living in the small West African country of The Gambia, when we were woken by an early morning phone call, on 30th December, from a Gambian friend who advised us to ‘stay off the streets’ as the sound of gunfire had been reported, coming from the vicinity of the State House, in Banjul – the then President Yahya Jammeh’s seat of autocratic power – and talk of an attempted coup.

Not ones to miss out on the action, we got into our truck, cameras in hand, and drove around the unusually deserted streets. It was unnerving, to say the least, to see one of the main streets, Kairaba ‘Pipeline‘ Avenue – which is always teeming with people, traffic-laden, and noisy – virtually empty.

Quiet on the streets of Banjul, The Gambia, after failed coup attempt - image © Helen Jones-Florio
Quiet on the streets of Banjul, The Gambia, after failed coup attempt – image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

The conspirators were from different parts of the US and several may never have even met in person. A few had lived in the US for decades; a coup participant who was later killed in an attempted raid on the seat of government in the capital of Banjul on Dec. 30, 2014 had served in Iraq as a platoon leader with the Kentucky National Guard.‘ Read more: Business Insider

 

Photo of the Day – Sunset over Kunta Kinte Island, River Gambia ©Helen Jones-Florio

The sun sets over Kunta Kinte Island, River Gambia, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio
The sun sets over Kunta Kinte Island, River Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

 

The sun sets over baobab trees and Kunta Kinte Island

Formally known as James Island (an important historical site in the West African slave trade), situated on the River Gambia, near to the villages of Juffureh and Albreda. Taken in 2009, whilst on a 930km African adventure – the first ever circumnavigation, completely by foot, of The Gambia, West Africa,  by award-winning photojournalist, Jason Florio, and photography producer, Helen Jones-Florio, three Gambians, two donkeys and a cart. Jason shot what was to become award-winning portraits of village chiefs (Alkalos) and elders: ‘Silafando – a gift to you on behalf of my journey’ 

 

Gambia expedition 2009. Portrait of Dadi Bah, Al Kalo of Tuba Dabbo with Jason Florio and Helen Jones.
‘930km African Odyssey‘ Jason & Helen with village chief – alkalo – Dadi Bah, Tubba Dabbo, The Gambia, West Africa, 2009

 

follow on Instagram – @floriotravels

#GambiaHasDecided – one year in

#GambiaHasDecided hashtag campaign founders, The Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio
#GambiaHasDecided hashtag campaign founders, Bakau, The Gambia, West Africa. L-R: Lamin, Gilleh, Asta, Salieu  ©Helen Jones-Florio

 

The Gambia – the smallest country on the African continent – has come a long way since this time last year and the beginning of what, doubtlessly, will be an incredibly long journey.

It’s always a pleasure to see these guys, the founders of what became one of the most important, impactful, social media campaigns to come out of West Africa.

#gambiahasdecided 
Inauguration banners for President Adama Barrow - image ©Helen Jones-Florio , 2017. — with Andrew Renneisen and Jason Florio.
Inauguration banners for President Adama Barrow – image ©Helen Jones-Florio , 2017. — with Andrew Renneisen and Jason Florio.

 

#GambiaHasDecided - Gambian boys wearing their t-shirts for President Barrow Senegal inauguration celebrations, at Westfields junction, in The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio
#GambiaHasDecided – President Barrow Senegal inauguration celebrations in The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

 

Related posts – New Gambia
@floriotravels/Instagram

Dogs of The Gambia, West Africa – AKA ‘It’s a Dog’s Life’

Dogs of The Gambia, West Africa

 

White Tip & Wolf on monkey watch © Helen Jones-Florio Dogs of Gambia
White Tip & Wolf on monkey watch © Helen Jones-Florio

 

One of our favourite pastimes, when in The Gambia, is hanging out with the #9 pack of rescue dogs – and assorted random beach dogs.

Beach walks and making documentaries, with Jason Florio

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Each and every one of them has real character, which we also have A.K.A. names for too: White Tip / ‘It’s All About Me‘ (because she demands ALL the attention); Rascal/’Little Titch‘(the smallest, yet the feistiest of the pack!); Wolf/’Silent Bob‘ (the stealthiest dog I have ever met); Kalu/’Black Dog‘ (ermm…not a very inspired AKA…he migrated from the Indian restaurant across the street to #9, and ‘Kalu’ is an Indian word for black); Junior/’JuJu‘ (and, sometimes, ‘Teenager‘, because he can sleep for Gambia!).

 

Beach dogs - Wolf, White Tip and Juju © Helen Jones-Florio
Beach dogs – Wolf, White Tip and Juju, Cape Point Beach, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

 

Follow @floriotravels on Instagram for daily travel, dogs, the occasional cat or monkey, photo updates, with a little of our documentary work thrown into the mix.

Back in The Gambia, West Africa – on assignment

Jason Florio, filming, wading in the Atlantic Ocean, The Gambia ©Helen Jones-Florio
Photographer, Jason Florio, filming, wading in the Atlantic Ocean, The Gambia ©Helen Jones-Florio

 

It’s always good to be back on the ‘Smiling Coast‘ – there is a lot going on in the #NewGambia. More news soon…

Follow us on Instagram for regular photo updates – @floriotravels / @jasonflorio

Jason Florio, filming in Serrekunda, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio
Jason Florio, filming in Serrekunda, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio   

 

See more about our Gambia travels, assignments, expeditions, and more...

Throwback Friday: ‘Radio Man’ The Gambia, West Africa ©Jason Florio

MAN WITH RADIO GAMBIA
‘Radio Man’ – with his boom box – portrait ©Jason Florio, 2009 – The Gambia, West Africa

‘We met this very talented musician who just happened to walk past our campsite, by the side of the road, in the village of Chamois Bunda, The Gambia.

He played us his own music on the boom box that he carried everywhere. He even performed a nifty little dance for us too! His music was amazing – like Bluegrass, with a twist of Cuban influence. We hadn’t heard any music for a while, by that point, on our walk around the small West African country. Therefore, it was a real treat to hear such great music. What a talented young man he was. This photo, and the memory which it evokes, still makes me smile. 

Helen Jones-Florio – excerpt from ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey‘ blog

Press: IRIN News – Gambians seek justice after Jammeh’s fall

IRIN NEWS - tortured under Jammeh's rule, Gambian's seek justice - image © Jason Florio
IRIN NEWS – tortured under Jammeh’s rule, Gambian’s seek justice – image © Jason Florio

 

Mariama Saine - one of the last Gambian's to be arrested and tortured under Jammeh's regime, The Gambia, West Africa - portrait © Jason Florio
Mariama Saine – one of the last Gambian’s to be arrested and tortured under Jammeh’s regime – portrait © Jason Florio
“They were beating me while I could hear the election results being announced on a television,” said Saine. “When Jammeh was ahead in the polls, the meanest one kicked me and said ‘Tomorrow, your head will be on a plate’. I was really scared.” read more IRIN News
Mariama Saine interview for IRIN News - one of the last Gambian's to be tortured under Jammeh's regime, The Gambia, West Africa - image © Helen Jones-Florio
“Not only for my case. I want to see all those people who have committed these atrocities prosecuted, all of them.” – Mariama Saine interview for IRIN News – image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

 

See also: ‘Documenting a Past Regime – ex-Mile II prisoners, The Gambia

Press: photographing repatriated Gambians for IRIN News – images © Jason Florio

Mohammed - repatriated Gambian from Libya, by IOM - image © Jason Florio
IRIN News – Mohammed – one of 140 Gambians who was repatriated from Libya by IOM- image © Jason Florio   

 

Repatriated Gambian, Mohammed, with his uncle, Alieu, The Gambia ©Jason Florio
Repatriated Gambian, Mohammed, with his uncle, Alieu, The Gambia ©Jason Florio

 

‘Just two weeks earlier, he was languishing in a prison near Tripoli; his third spell in detention during the nine months he spent in Libya trying to board a boat to cross the Mediterranean…’ read more at IRIN News – words by Louise Hunt + additional reporting from Banjul by Jason Florio
Jason Florio photographing repatriated Gambian, Mohammed, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio
Jason Florio photographing repatriated Gambian, Mohammed, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio