‘The section from Kedougou to Mako is known as ‘gold country’. For centuries the land on either side of the river has been continually pock marked by thousands of narrow mine shafts. We were warned about camping in these lawless areas, filled with anxious men and women, eyes bent on gold and not to be trusted. As I peered down one of the shafts, my eyes adjusted to see a labourer hunched, with axe in hand, a weak Chinese headlamp dotting the path of his striking tool. Watching the daily descent of these people into deep shafts, hauling the gold-bearing quartz and crushing it by hand, all while enveloped by air choked in fine dust made me realise what hard work it was. The unapologetic Sahelian sun seemingly has a softening effect on even the surliest of people because we were only ever treated courteously by them.‘ Jason Florio ‘The River Gambia’ – for Sidetracked Magazine, Read the whole feature 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.
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