Monday Photo: Urban Street Life, The Gambia, West Africa

Urban street life, Serrekunda, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio
Everyday life on the streets of Serrekunda, one of the busiest market towns in The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio, 2016
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Blessed by a Marabout – spiritual healers, Koranic scholars – in West Africa

 

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Jason Florio sets the scene, to photograph Mr Bah, the marabout, and his family, Tuba Dabbo, The Gambia. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey‘ 2009

When we stayed with Alkalo, Fatou Dansu (one of only 5 female chiefs, at the time, in The Gambia), in the town of Basse, we met a strange, yet intriguing, old man called Mr Bah. Outwardly, he reminded me the obsequious Uriah Heep, the oh so humble character, from Charles Dickens’ ‘David Copperfield’. He walked with a stoop, continuously rubbing his dry, parchment-like, hands together. And, when he shook your hand, he stroked the back of it, slowly, with his free hand – as if to somehow take away an imprint of who you were – whilst all the time, not breaking eye contact. It was a little disconcerting, to begin with, but as we spent more time with him, it began to feel as if we were in the presence of a rather unique individual. He had this odd little click in his voice, when he spoke; indicative of the Fula people, of whom he was one. The chief, Fatou, explained that Mr Bah was a marabout – a medicine man, spiritual healer, Koranic teacher and fortune-teller –  and a much respected, highly-esteemed man, throughout the area, at that.

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Mr Bah, the marabout, reading the sand – The Gambia, West Africa. Image © Jason Florio

 

After Mr Bah did a ‘reading in the sand’, for Florio and I, when we eventually reached his village of Tuba Dabbo, I would go so far as to say that I felt very honoured, to have met him.  Even if he did always seem to magically materialise, whenever we put hot water on the fire, to boil, for tea!

Gambia expedition 2009
Tea’s up! Helen, Mr Bah, and Janneh  (expedition team mate)- Basse Santa Su, The Gambia, West Africa. In the background is ‘Neil’ one of the two donkeys who walked the whole 930km with us © Jason Florio 

 

Words by Helen Jones-Florio – journal entries from ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey’ Read/see more on the blog about the journey.

Press: ‘The Spirit of the Seaside’ – walking along the coastline of The Gambia, West Africa

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Waiting for the boat over to Jinack Island, The Gambia – Image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

March-May 2015Wings Magazine/Arik Air

As my wife, Helen, and I set off on an 80km six-day ramble along the sun-soaked coast of The Gambia’s relatively short coastline, it’s not
merely the splendour of the coast and heat of the sun we are after but also its mystical heritage... ” read the whole feature here – words by Jason Florio / Images by Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

ARIK WINGS_GAMBIA BEACH WALK
Images ©  Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio