We stopped by the Gambia is Good grocery store and café yesterday, to admire their new signage, and to say ‘esama‘ (good morning) to the staff. On entering the store, we were very pleasantly surprised to see one of Florio’s images from an assignment we worked on for NGO, Concern Universal, here in The Gambia, just before we left on our River Gambia Expedition.
Amongst the shoot locations, on the assignment, was the G.I.G. store, which was then situated in the previous CU compound, in Fajara.
Penda, who manages the GIG store, assured us that they will be brewing fresh coffee in the café, very soon… we’ll be first in line!
Earlier this year, we traveled a short distance across the border, south of The Gambia (where we have been based for the last 8-9 months), into the Casamance region of Senegal – on assignment for a local NGO, Concern Universal, who we have worked with on previous projects. The purpose of this assignment was to document a celebratory forest festival in the village of Koudioubé – a juddering, hold-onto-anything-fixed-down and mind-your-head-whilst-you’re-at-it, 20 minute drive on a deeply rutted ‘road’ (which, we were told by the driver, is often impassible during a heavy rainy season) through the bush, from the small town of Diouloulou.
What the villagers have achieved – in a region where, for 30 years, communities have been broken apart by civil war, and forests have been decimated – is truly uplifting…
‘Local orginazation, ASIPID, a partner of Concern Universal, came up with the idea to the peace and save the remaining forests… .
The Koudioubé Community Forest – managed by four communities, was the first to be protected. It’s regeneration has been a source of celebration for the community. Then this grew to 8 more communities, who have set up community forests. Now many more want to follow...’ (read more on the video) – CU, The Gambia & Senegal.
To find out more about traditional masquerades (as pictured above) in West Africa, you may like to read about our new multimedia project, on this very subject – which we will continue to work on when we return to West Africa – here.
Since completely the inaugural ‘Photos Tell Stories: teaching photography – a visual language‘ workshops, in The Gambia, West Africa, Jason Florio and I have worked on a number of diverse assignments, here in West Africa – a couple of them together, just over the border into the Casamance, Southern Senegal, for NGO Concern Universal, and then north over the border into Senegal for the New York Times, covering a story about a football academy (conveniently timely!). Jason then flew off to Sierra Leone, to shoot a story about ethical diamond mining for ‘Oprah‘ Magazine; and he recently returned from Turkey and Spain, where he was on assignment for PepsiCo, about agriculture (yet to be published).
‘Camped on the rock, post potential-mutiny, I was now self-medicating with palm-wine, and concluded it was a fine lubricant to complement the bowl of noodles and some mystery meat a young local Bassari boy brought to us. I would like to say, that huddled around a bowl of possible monkey meet on such a Christian holy day...’ words and images by Jason Florio. Please click on the image below to read the whole story.
We’ll be updating again soon…with more Photos Tell Stories news of what we are up to. In the meantime, you might like to check out our FB page, twitter, and Instagram, for photos and news.