Peace to All…

A fisherman paddles past the sandstone banks of River Gambia at Goloumbou, Senegal. The water level in the rainy season will reach close to the top of the banks ©Jason Florio

This moment
This LOVE
comes to rest in me,
many beings in one being
In one wheat-grain
a thousand sheaf stacks.

Inside the needle’s eye
a turning night of stars.
This moment —
This LOVE.

This momentMevlana Jelaluddin Rumi (1207 – 1273)

English version by Coleman Barks

Economic Migrant Gold Miners, South Eastern Senegal, West Africa

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© Jason Florio Economic Migrant Gold Miners, South Eastern Senegal, West Africa

Thursday 20th December 2012 – Paddling distance: 11.4km (total to-date: 83.65km) – ‘River Gambia Expedition1044km source-sea African odyssey

Even our tents and canoes, situated by the river over 2 miles away from the mine itself, were covered in a fine film of the pale pink, talc-like dust…

‘A relatively short day’s paddling on the River Gambia today, as we wanted to stop and visit another gold mine in South Eastern Senegal. This stretch of the river is dotted with artisanal gold mines – which draw thousands of migrant workers from all over West Africa: Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Guinea-Conakry, Mali, and Senegal itself. All of them hoping to make their fortune. Whole families live in and around the mines, in makeshift villages (rather disconcertingly described as the ‘Wild West‘ of SE Senegal, during our pre-expedition research). All the mines we visited were understandably dusty, but this one, in particular, had an extremely fine, pink-hued, dust which got into absolutely everything. Even our tents, and canoes, situated by the river – over 2 miles away from the mine itself – were covered in a fine film of the pale pink, talc-like dust. But, at least we could pack up our tents and leave the next day, washing away the dust. Many of those people whose lives revolve around the gold mines, for months and years in some cases, aren’t so lucky, as they inhale toxic fumes from the mercury – used to separate the gold from the rock dust…’ Words by Helen Jones-Florio. Read more on the River Gambia Expedition blog.

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Jason Florio photographs the gold miners © Helen Jones-Florio

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HJF with ‘Tolleh Kaafo’, S.E. Senegal gold mines © Jason Florio

It’s a Dog’s Life, West Africa

Searching for images on my hard drive back-up, recently, I began to see a pattern – dogs feature prominently, in our various journeys and travels.

DOGS AND FARMERS KEDOUGOU
Farmers with their dogs, Kedougou, Senegal © Jason Florio, River Gambia Expedition

 

DOGS AND KIDS
Kids and Dogs, Djinji, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio – River Gambia Expedition

 

DOG RIVER GAMBIA KEDOUGOU
The guardian of the River Gambia dog, Kedougou, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio River Gambia Expedition

 

DOG & DONKEY BANSANG
The donkey loving dog (or the dog loving donkey?), Bansang, The Gambia © Jason Florio

 

GOATS AND DOG STANDOFF
‘You are outnumbered, pooch!’ – dog and goat standoff, Kedougou, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

Jason Florio chatting with a local with beach dogs, Bijilo.
One of our guides on our walk along the coastline of The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

 

And, the dogs who have a piece of my heart – The Gang of Seven:

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‘Chase me, chase me!’ Wolfie and White Tip, Cape Point, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

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Beware the Crocodiles! These dogs are fearless! Wolfie, Rascal, (Noisey) Nelly, and Kalu (the others are in there somewhere!) – Cape Point, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

 

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King of the Pack: Lion, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio cc

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Kalu, the newest edition to the ‘Pack of 7’ (after defecting from the Indian restaurant across the street) © Helen Jones-Florio

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Me with my sentinals Lion, Susie (white dog), and Nelly, Cape Point, The Gambia © Jason Florio/Instagram

 

Lest we forget… the inimitable, Mr P (a.k.a Poet, Poe, Poetta, the P-sta, P-Diddly…), the dog star of Portobello Road, London. We rescued him when he was two or three years old, and he graced us with his serene presence until he reached the grand old age of 17 or 18.

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R.I.P. Mr P, June 7th 2011. Gone, but never ever forgotten