The journey continues… ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘
The journey continues… ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘
Sometimes there is a need to have a techie blog post – particularly when it comes to the SOL Laptop! Read on…
On both our River Gambia Expedition and A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush expedition, powering our gear – particularly our laptops, essential for uploading Florios images and updating the blog – has always been a big hurdle to overcome and, despite having extensively researched before purchasing the latest gadgets using solar power technology, on both expeditions we ended up purchasing a car battery locally to charge our gear effectively and fully! Therefore, we are constantly on the look out for solar power technology that does in fact do exactly as it says it will do on the box. So, imagine our delight when we came across a recent review on the G-Layer blog – the Australian sister company to Yellowbrick, UK, who sponsored our recent River Gambia journey with the YB3 tracking device:
‘Cutting-edge sustainable technology is what we’re all about here at the G-Layer, and we’re always on the lookout for new exciting developments, so when we discovered the SOL solar laptop we were overwhelmed by the possibilities this tough little computer offers to our sun-drenched country!
The 10-hour laptop’s battery is charged by a built-in solar panel (detachable).
SOL can be connected to the internet using the 4G network or an optional satellite module, opening up the world wide web to communities, schools and workers all over Australia. This revolutionary product will also feature a GPS, HD graphics and an integrated webcam. Using the latest in nanotechnology construction, and priced at a sum nearly anyone can afford, we believe this product will revolutionise life in the outback, which is why we had to bring it to our customers at the first opportunity!’ G Layer
And we were thrilled beyond belief when, after submitting to Sol Laptops, a Canadian based company, about our next West Africa venture, we won a place in their ‘Expedition Sol‘ …choice of ‘professionals, researchers, adventurers and unique individuals‘ to get our very own SOL Laptop when it is officially launched later in the year!
And, as for our next West Africa venture? You’ll just have to stay tuned until we are ready to officially announce our plans! However, again, it will most definitely involve lots of great photography – and this time, we hope, not just from Florio – and neither should we have any of this nonsense…
Why? Because, we’ll have ‘The world’s first truly solar-powered laptop’. It never needs to be plugged in!’.
More news soon, about what we are planning next.
The Florios (H & Flo)
Thanks to our East Africa friend, Yvette Pennacchia, for her recently posted interview, on ‘Connected by Far‘, with us about the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘. Angry hippo’s, mutiny, and more !
Connected by Far: ‘What possesses a British couple to leave their apartment in New York City and decide to canoe 750km of the 1044km long River Gambia, in West Africa – one of Africa’s last major free-flowing rivers – in two Ally 811 Norwegian folding canoes, which they fondly named ‘The Twins’, and travel by motorcycles, local taxis, and a ancient, rusty 4×4 Land Cruiser to get to the source of the river and then back (one such ride took 24 hours over the rockiest of roads in the Fouta Djallon Highlands) to pick up their canoes from Kedougou, on the border of Senegal?‘…read more here
The village of Runde Bara, Senegal – one of the villages which will be wiped out if the proposed dam on the River Gambia is built © Jason Florio
Tuesday 22nd October 2013: As Florio and I continue to carry on with the writing of our book about the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ we’re revisiting the journey, we completed in January of this year, day by day. Following is an excerpt from just one day out of the two months we spent on the road and canoeing the River Gambia – documenting the lives of those people who live and work on one of Africa’s last major free-flowing rivers - through three West African countries – Guinea-Conakry, Senegal, and The Republic of The Gambia
Members of the Santa Yalla kaffo (group) take a moment between harvesting rice from fields irrigated by the River Gambia. They are paid thirty Gambian Dalasis a day (80 US cents). Taken whilst on the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea Africa odyssey‘
Footage from the journey © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio : Youtube
‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘. Take a journey with Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio - over landing from the source of the River Gambia in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, canoeing through the gold-bearing lands of South East Senegal, and on into The Republic of The Gambia, where one of Africa’s last major free-flowing rivers meets the Atlantic Ocean.
More about our journey in the forth coming book…more about that soon…
Read about our 2009 expedition : ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush-a 930km source-sea African odyssey’
‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ with photographer/writer, Jason Florio, and, producer/writer, Helen Jones-Florio. A journey, spanning three West African countries, to find the source of the River Gambia and to document the lives of those people who live, work, and rely on this mighty African river.
Interview with Outside Magazine – ‘Expedition Improv‘ Helen “We actually offered him (Yousef, our Malian fisherman/guide/hippo expert) more money to come further along the river with us but he had a family to get back to in Kédougou. We were sad to see him go. In that short week, he became a member of our little team, albeit a slightly bonkers one”
Jason: “At one point, he was guiding us through these sections of rock and fast-moving water, and about 20 feet in front of us, a hippo just comes rearing out of the water. It had been submerged. We had startled it. We could have gone over the back of this thing, but instead we scrambled very quickly over onto the bank and climbed up on some rocks. For the next hour, he spent time shooting rocks at it from a homemade catapult. The thing wouldn’t move. We were back there clinging to the bushes and the rocks for an hour and a half. The hippo just didn’t want to let us get by—watching us, watching it, watching us. Eventually, we just kind of clung to the undergrowth and just pulled the canoe through really slowly. Finally, we got past him. That was a serious crash course in hippo etiquette” Read full interview here
To read about our first West African journey - ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey‘ .Images of the village chiefs (Alkalos) and elders, ‘Silafando’, which were taken along the way, by Jason Florio.
Florio – interview with FlakPhoto – Making Pictures of People “I had been working yearly in The Gambia since 1996 making portraits of people who live in a sacred forest. My wife Helen came up with the idea of making the first recorded circumnavigation of The Gambia by foot. So with three Gambians and two donkeys, we headed off around the country in November 2009. I decided to work in the same style as with the forest portraits, using a 70-year old cloth to formalize the setting.” full interview and images here
We’ll be updating soon on our next African journey…please stay with us
JF: “In 2009 my wife Helen and I escaped our New York home and took off on a 930km circumnavigation of The Republic of The Gambia by foot, along with three Gambian friends and two donkeys.
Seven days into our 42-day walk, we both decided that this journey would be a warm-up for something bigger. We had no idea at that exact moment what the ‘something bigger’ might be, but as Picasso once said: ‘“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Well, in this case, it was to find us walking…” read the whole article
Excerpts taken from the forthcoming book about the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source-sea African odyssey‘
Sunday 26th September – the last day of Photoville 2013
Big thanks to the supremely efficient Photoville organizers: Laura Roumanos, Sam Barzilay, and Dave Shelly, of United Photo Industries - and all their staff and volunteers – who helped make the photo destination village an immense event, of some phenomenal photography, workshops, and talks. Thanks to these guys, our ‘River Gambia’ journey was viewed by 1000′s of people over two four day weekends. As they trekked in and out of our shipping container, we took them on our epic journey – ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ – images by Jason Florio, curated by yours truly, River Gambia video footage by both of us, and presented by the Virginia Quarterly Review. And, an even bigger thanks to VQR for making the exhibit at PV 2013 possible! Thanks also to Pascal Prince of ‘A Small Light Room‘ for the sublime large format print of ‘Ebrima in Fur‘ – who was there with Mandinka greetings of ‘nimbara, nimbara’, from his vantage point on our container door, to all who passed through.
Last but definitely not least, thanks to every single person who came to view the fruits of our labor: from the River Gambia’s humble source in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, paddling through the gold bearing lands of Senegal and along the length of The Republic of The Gambia to the Atlantic ocean. We traveled 300km by motorcycle/4×4 and 744km by canoe – creating a photographic and written account along the way, of the tribes and communities whose traditional lifestyle and livelihood depend upon this mighty African waterway.
And for all of those people who purchased Florio’s prints at Photoville, we truly hope you enjoy having a small slice of the enchanting River Gambia in your homes. For anyone who missed out and would like to check out Florio’s fine art photography prints, please visit our on-line galleries – Black and White Collection and Color Collection.
And the day turned into the night…
It was great to be part of a community of like-minded people. We hope to see you all again next year.
The Florio’s (H & Flo)
P.S. we’ll be posting a gallery of Photoville images over the coming days, with links to some of the great exhibits at PV 2013 - keep an eye out!
Saturday 25th September
Another great, and extremely busy, day at Photoville - we didn’t sit down from noon-10pm. Our shipping container runneth over! The interest in Florio’s ‘River Gambia‘ series, from our 1044km source-sea African odyssey has been incredible.
We’ll both be there again today – from noon-8.30pm. Come on by and check out our West Africa journey. And, we still have a limited number of Jason Florio’s prints left – at a very special Photoville-only-price – from three bodies of work, taken in West Africa: ‘Makasutu‘, ‘Silafando‘, and, of course, ‘River Gambia‘ (including the one pictured above, of the chief fishing).
Photoville is a wondrous event – not to be missed. Workshops, talks, exhibitions, beer garden, food trucks…with a magnificent view of Manhattan thrown into the mix.
So, get on down there! All the details you need are here
And, don’t forget to stop by and allow us to take you on our epic West African river odyssey.
The Florios (H & Flo)
Big thanks, as ever, to the Virginia Quarterly Review for supporting our Photoville 2013 event.