11 April 2009



Prior to my going on the trip to Jarreng, my excitement was broken when my oral examination was slated for the day we were supposed to go to Jarreng.

I was so sad that I told my friend who broke the news to me that “the only thing that would slow me down” (quote from Ian Senior) quitting friendship with him would be breaking another news as bad as the news that my trip to Jarra would not be possible because I was going to have an exam.

My joy knew no bounds when Pippa told me on the phone that we would be going on Thursday instead of Wednesday and I was so excited that finally I was going to go on the trip.

The trip started from Atlantic happily, Tina and Pippa treated us to some lovely songs from their late father one of which was so dear and funny to my heart, it has some phrases like because, because, because. And I would try to get the song written down for me by them.

One thing that really infected and could not stop me laughing was Tina’s sweetest sense of humour and I just unusually cannot stop myself from laughing and at some point I felt like a fool as I just cannot stop laughing with just one entertaining and funny word from Tina.

The trip was not all laughter and entertainment but also educational as we learnt some aspects of science with explanation from Pippa about evolution, and also that a black bucket will live longer in the sun than a green, blue or red bucket.

We also were able to see two the historical places we learnt about in history at school which were Jataba and Sankandi. Should I explain a bit of history that happened between the two villages?

The two villages of Sankandi and Jataba quarrelled over the ownership of a rice field. Sankandi was a Marabout village while Jataba was a Soninke one.

The British commissioner in charge of the two places then, Commissioner Sitwell ruled the matter in favour of the Soninke village of Jataba. The villagers of Sankandi were not happy about this decision. Commissioner Sitwell summoned a meeting in the neighbouring village of Battering where he invited the chiefs of the two villages, only the chief of Jataba, Mansa Koto, attended the meeting.

Bana Darboe of Sankandi refused to attend the meeting, which Commissioner Sitwell interpreted as a challenge to his authority and therefore asked for his arrest. It was during this time that Commissioner Sitwell, his deputy Silver and some British official who escorted him were killed by the villagers of Sankandi.

Bana Darboe and his villagers after killing the British commissioner fled to Foday Kabba’s (a Marabout leader) stronghold of Medina. This happened from 1900 to 1901. (historical background)

Now back to the trip to Jarreng, I really enjoyed it at Tendaba camp busily walking around, holding my bottle of water pretending and trying to look like a British tourist.

In fact, literally I was not pretending to be a British tourist because it is the British who took me there and I have to be a Gambian-Gunjurian-Black-British Tourist.

Shouldn’t I be one?

(Note from Pippa: the song that Alhassan liked so much was 'We're off to see the Wizard!' from The Wizard of Oz...)

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