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The Jallow Family (minus a few) - L to R: Mariama, Mamadu, Fatou, Jainaba. Idrisa, Buba, Dawda (me) and Hawa

Well I’ve been home for about a week and a half now. It’s great to be home, although it was weird at first, having to readjust to life here and dealing with culture shock all over again. All that’s left now is to finish up a few reports from the trip. Things aren’t quite as exciting here in Canada but I am looking forward to starting school again in the fall.

I had a great experience in The Gambia and I definitely learned a lot. It seems so far away now though, even though it was only one and a half weeks ago that I was there. The best parts of the trip for me were the people, learning and experiencing their culture, as well as gaining a lot of practical learning about working in international development. The amazing nature that exists in the country as well as in Senegal was also a highlight for me.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading my posts, I hope it has been worthwhile for you.

In addition to my photos I’ve flickr, I’ve also got some on Facebook that you can check out if you want: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1653561992776.71254.1648830042&l=0b6778da27&type=1  and  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1801546492296.77903.1648830042&l=b6ecb53274&type=1 .

Thanks again and bye for now,

Dan

Hippo in the River Gambia, Senegal

Last week we decided to head over to Senegal for an adventure and a break from work. We took a series of sept-places (modified station wagons that fit 7 people) and bush taxis, and managed to make it all the way to Tambacounda (aka Tamba – see the google map) on the first day. Senegal’s official language is French, so we had a great time practicing our French, although it was difficult at times as our French was not perfect, and even many people in Senegal do not speak much French (ie. it is their second language, just as it is my second language). From there we hired a 4×4 to take us to Niokolo Koba National Park, which is the largest park in Senegal. We had a great time cruisin’ through the park observing baboons, cobs, bushbucks, warthogs, and different types of birds (more photos are here). We were hoping to see a lion or two and maybe an elephant but it turns out that there are very few of them in the park. We stayed the night at L’Hôtel Simenti for a bargain price, since it’s the offseason and they have very few visitors. The hotel had a great view of the River Gambia.

View of the River

In the morning, we went for a pirogue tour down the river to try our luck at spotting hippos. After a while we came across a family of four of them. It was really cool to see these massive animals swimming and shooting jets of water into the air, even if we did only see the tops of their heads. We also saw some crocs.

Later we headed back to Tamba where we hired another car to take us to some of the sites around Kédougou. While we had some car troubles (the gas station sold us dirty gas), we eventually made it to Dindefelo Cascades, as well as the Bédick village of Iwol. Iwol is situated on the top of a mountain (or large hill, depending on what you’re used to – after driving in from The Gambia any large hill looks like a mountain), with some fantastic scenery as well as intriguing history and culture. Nose piercing for women is also part of the Bédick culture.

Bédick woman with nose piercing

At Dindefelo we went for a hike up the mountainside. Our “guide” (turns out he wasn’t a legitimate guide and he overcharged us) took us to see Les Dents, which is 11 large pieces of the mountain resembling teeth, La Source, which is the source of the waterfall, as well as a cave where people used to live, but now is only home to a few bats and wasps.

Dindefelo Cascades

Afterwards our driver dropped us off in Tamba, and the next morning we started out for home in The Gambia. We had an experience getting back, which is normal when travelling anywhere here, as we bartered for ticket/baggage prices and had various unexpected transfers, stops, and police checks.

Yesterday we visited a Tidal Irrigation site in Sapu. Basically how Tidal Irrigation works is a series of canals and gates are constructed in the rice fields, and when the tide of the river rises (this portion is freshwater), the water enters the fields and can be used for irrigation. The gates are used to stop water from being lost into the river, and well as releasing excess water when there is too much in the fields. This process has a huge advantage over the previous method of pumping, since no fuel is required; only the operation of the gates and cleaning of the canals. The reliable water supply also allows for harvesting twice throughout the year. I found it very interesting how using the rivers natural behaviours can be so beneficial for the local people.

Canal and gates system

Lately we have been wrapping up work with SWMS and GAM-Solar, while writing our final report for our internship. These three months have flown by and it’s crazy to think that I’ll be back home on Sunday! I suppose this will be my last post until I get home since the next couple days will likely be very busy while we work on our report, say our goodbyes, and prepare to go home.

So, thank you for following along with my summer so far and I hope it has been interesting and enjoyable for you!

Until next time,

Dan / Dawda Sonko Jallow

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