A sneak preview : our first photography workshop in The Gambia West Africa

Photos Tell Stories GAMBIA_72dpiPhotos Tell Stories

teaching photography – a visual language

A sneak preview of our new logo for our first photography workshop, to be held in The Gambia, West Africa – commencing late December, 2013 – teaching young Gambian students.

We have some great contributing photographers on board already and we’re also partnering with some very generous companies.

However….we’ll be making an official announcement in the next week or so – once we’ve dotted and crossed ‘i’s’ and ‘t’s’.

Exciting stuff!

The Florios (H & Flo)

H and Flo_chris B

Flo & H © Chris Bartlett, NYC – Photoville 2013

 

 

 

Photoville, Brooklyn, NY, 2013 – VQR presents ‘River Gambia’ – images by Jason Florio, curated by Helen Jones-Florio

P13 Banner 730x225.night

Photoville Brooklyn NY 2013 – click image to visit the website

We are honored to be part of Photoville 2013 – where we will be exhibiting Jason Florio’s ‘River Gambia’ body of work. The images are from our ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey’.

‘UNITED PHOTO INDUSTRIES ANNOUNCES PROGRAMMING FOR PHOTOVILLE, A FREE PHOTOGRAPHIC VILLAGE COMPRISING OVER 45 SHIPPING CONTAINERS IN BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK, SEPTEMBER 19-29

Photoville – schedule of events, 2013 (click on image to visit website)

Over 40 exhibitions, 7 photo screenings, 30 talks, 20 workshops, community events, ALL FREE, plus food & beer garden

And, it’s with huge thanks to the Virginia Quarterly Review for supporting our exhibit at Photoville 2013.  Florio has been a contributor to the multi award-winning literary journal since 2009. So, when we returned to New York from the river in West Africa, we were thrilled when the publisher, Jon Peede, approached us about running a feature on the new images, from our journey. And, just imagine our delight when the proofs came through to us and that VQR were running 18 pages of images, on line and in their printed journal! The layout was quite beautiful too – wondrous to see our long journey in print.’Crikey, did we really do all that?!’

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 10.01.18 AM

Click on image to view Photoville post

‘Established at the University of Virginia in 1925, the Virginia Quarterly Review has won six National Magazine Awards in the past decade—more than any literary quarterly in the nation. VQR has published work from 17 Nobel Laureates and more than 50 Pulitzer Prize winners. The magazine publishes photography, photojournalism, nonfiction, fiction, poetry, translations, art, reportage, and criticism. Its many honors include selection as a finalist, National Magazine Award for Photography, 2012; winner, Overseas Press Club Best Use of Online Video, 2011; winner, National Magazine Award for Multimedia Package, 2011; and winner, National Magazine Award for News Reporting in the Digital Medium, 2010. In recent years, VQR has published photography portfolios by Nadia Shira Cohen, Maisie Crow, Jason Florio, Aaron Huey, and Ed Ou, among others. In addition to the print magazine, VQR has online readers in more than 200 countries.‘ Courtesy of VQR

VQR somalia cover

Cover: Jason Florio - ‘Facing Mogadishu’

VQR Prize for Photography 2012
Jason Florio for three pieces:
“Facing Mogadishu” (Winter 2012)
“A Violent Prone, Poor People Zone” (Winter 2012)
“The Black Zone” (Summer 2012)

Source_group shot_0974

Ebou, Abdou, Helen & Florio – the source of the River Gambia, Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea

So much has happened since we set out to pay homage to the humble source of one of Africa’s last major free-flowing rivers – the River Gambia – naught but a puddle, high up in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea-Conakry, in West Africa, in December of 2012.  We then went on to paddle the river from Kedougou, Senegal, to the where the river meets the immense Atlantic Ocean, in The Gambia itself ,on January 12th, 2013; the smallest West African country on the continent, named after the mighty river.

VQR Spring 2013 opening page_72dpi

VQR – Life on the River Gambia. Images © Jason Florio (the source of the River Gambia – opening page)

denton bridge-finish_MG_8986 copy

Mission Accomplished! The River Gambia team, Denton Bridge, The Gambia, West Africa – where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean

At this years Photoville, again, with huge thanks to our supporter, VQR our 20 foot shipping container/photo gallery will be amongst such esteemed company as aCurator, Time Lightbox, Douglas Ljunkvist, Jim Mortram, Nina Berman, American Illustration, Pete Brook, Indie Photobook Library, Magnum Foundation, V11, Chris Hondros Fund, The Open Society Foundation…check out the more on the Photoville website

Photoville – here we come!! More updates to come, about what else we’ll be exhibiting in our container.

Please stop by and say hello. We’d both love to see you. Sept 19-29, 2013

The Florios (H & Flo)

Photoville logo w photos

Thanks to Peli Products UK for keeping our gear dry on the River Gambia!

Florio oversees our previous cargo - Redcoat depot, Nr Gatwick Airport

Florio oversees our precious cargo on the start of what would be a very long seafaring journey indeed- including the ‘1690′ Peli Product UK case – Redcoat depot, Nr Gatwick Airport, UK – Oct 2012. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

As Florio and I shift through hundreds of images, to see what we want to put in our forthcoming book about the ‘River Gambia Expedition‘ (it’s a difficult task – every single image has it’s own story to tell), it’s reminding us of all those companies who supported our journey. We just came across some of these images: Peli Products UK – their ‘rugged, watertight, dustproof, crushproof, buoyant, corrosion-proof‘ cases ensured that our cameras, batteries, laptops, hard-drives, journals, communication devises, etc., didn’t get ruined if they got inadvertently dumped in the river – which is what almost happened on our first day in the water!

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 12.32.59 PM

‘The Twins‘ (Ally 811 canoes) into the River Gambia for the first time, Kedougou, Senegal

Even though we had to leave for the expedition, without our big 1690 Peli case of gear – due to the case getting ‘lost’ for almost three months, somewhere between Belgium and Banjul Port – we still had our two rugged  Peli 1520 cases and the Peli head torces – invaluable when trying to find a place to pee in the middle of a moonless night in the African bush!

PELI HEAD LIGHT-MOSQUITO NET-KEDOUGOU_MG_0440 copy

And, of course for reading when there is no electricity (which was most of the time) – Helen and her Peli head torch, Kedougou, Senegal © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 12.39.59 PM

Our 1520 Peli Product UK cases also make great seats! Image © jason FlorioSila Kounda, Senegal

Peli cases_Basse_DSF3094 copy

Florio and the 1520 Peli Product UK cases, New Years Eve in Basse, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

Jason Florio at Bonto pier

The day before last – Florio with our 1520 Peli Product UK cases, Bonto, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

Peli 1620 Sandele_DSF4419

A sight for sore eyes – the 1690 Peli Product UK case – we thought we would never see you again! The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

H & Flo Gatwick _MG_9385

It’s been a long journey back to Gatwick – Feb 2013 – this time weren’t letting that Peli UK 1690 case out of our sight!

I’m sure we’ll come across many more of the great cases in action but, in the meantime, HUGE THANKS to Gill Lack and all at Peli Products UK for their support of the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source-sea African odyssey

Now…we wade through more images and journal entries for the book – we’ll post a few taster’s here and there, plus we’ll be posting more thanks to the other businesses who helped us along the way. And, we haven’t forgotten all those people who donated in exchange for prints! To you lot, we are eternally thankful.

Respect

The Florios

Happy ‘River Gambia Expedition’ sponsors – Kelly Kettle™

Blog post – Feb 2013 – River Gambia Expedition: ‘Today’s shout out goes to Kelly Kettle – this little beauty ‘Base Camp’ was a life saver…we Brits love our tea! Also, because you can burn any old bits of dry twigs and grass to boil the water it meant that this time, we didn’t have to use kembo (charcoal – from trees, which are all too often purposely chopped down for burning) – used all the time in West Africa to make fires

Tales from the River Gambia – reflecting on what’s gone by and what is to come…

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 11.29.08 AM

The River Gambia Expedition Route Map: 1044km (649 miles) from source to sea – 23rd November, 2012-21st January 2013. Three West African countries. One river.

H & Flo_Gatwick_2012_MG_0043

On the way to a BIG adventure – The Florios, Gatwick Airport, London-Banjul, The Gambia – Oct 2012

We actually began our journey when we arrived in The Gambia, West Africa, on a hot, sticky mid-October day, 2012, in anticipation of shortly afterwards receiving our container of gear – including a emergency stockpile of packet noodles and CLIF bars!) – which was being shipped down the Atlantic Ocean. We’ll be on the road, we thought, heading towards the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea-Conakry, by 21st-22nd October, at the latest, to find the source of the River Gambia. Or at least, that was the plan. One thing we should have learned by now, from past expedition experience (‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush-930km African odyssey‘, 2009), is that plans will always – always – change.

It wouldn’t be until nearly five weeks later that we would eventually give up on ever seeing our container again – after the shipping company finally admitted that they had no clue where it was and/or when it would turn up at the docks in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia! We had to make do with what we could scavenge together and get on our way.  Each week we were delayed could be problematic once we got into the River Gambia – as the river levels can fall very dramatically in places, resuting in us having to portage the canoes and our gear – more often than we would be paddling.

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 1.16.21 PM

Youtube: update from the Florios, Kartong, The Gambia, West Africa

We headed out, from The Gambia, on November 23rd, towards the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea – stopping in Kedougou, Senegal, on route, to drop off our canoes at a friends place. Thanks to Concern Universal for the lift across the border! From there, we took various modes of transport – a spine-juddering 24 hour drive, in a over-crammed (suspension-free – or so it felt!) Land Cruiser, up into the Highlands – to find the source of the River Gambia – on some of the worst ‘roads‘ in Africa. Calling them roads is actually a grand overstatement  – it’s more akin to rattling over the rockiest of river beds! However, in comparison to what we came back down the mountains on – on the back of moto-taxis – the ride in Land Cruiser was like cruising in a Rolls Royce Ghost!

We’ve covered a lot of ground, and river, since then and now we are back in our ‘other reality‘ of New York City; and the contrast couldn’t be more extreme. We’ve been working hard since our return, to get our story out there. Part of that work is to make the book. So…we need to fast forward a little, from our last blog post, to the end of the journey, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in the month, to dedicate to both the blog and the book. Everything and more will be in the book anyway. We’ll be keeping you updated on here as to when we are ready to publish.

In the meantime, we hope that you have enjoyed – and continue to do so – the journey. Following is a snap-shot, if you will, of our travels on the River Gambia Expedition – please click on any of the hot-links, which will take you to the relevant posts, for more stories and images.

Traders. downtown Labe market, Guinea © Jason Florio

Traders. downtown Labé market, Guinea © Jason Florio

'Moto' boys - Labe, Guinea © Jason Florio

‘Moto’ boys – Labé, Guinea © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 2.41.17 PM

Youtube: The Florios – update from the Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea-Conakry © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio. Blog entry

_MG_1021

The source of the River Gambia, Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea © Jason Florio

_MG_0828

The River Gambia Expedition team-Fouta Djallon Highlands

Dame de mali - cous woman_MG_2028 copy

On top of the world, ‘Dame de Mali, Mali Ville, Fouta Djallon Highlands © Jason Florio

Moto taxi Ebu Mali Ville _MG_2171 copy

‘Ebu’ – Moto taxis, Mali Ville, Fouta Djallon © Jason Florio

motos crossing ford_MG_2245 copy

The expedition team’s transport down the mountain – Moto taxis – Fouta Djallon © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 12.38.40 PM

One of the villages that will be displaced if the proposed dam is built on the River Gambia – Runda Barra, Senegal/Guinea border © Jason Florio

DAM SITE

The site of the proposed dam on the River Gambia at Runda Barra, Senegal/Guinea border © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 2.20.19 PM

Team mate, Abdou, at the stern – early morning on River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 1.58.22 PM

Youtube: Too close encounter with a hippo © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio – Blog post

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 4.14.18 PM

Vignette: life on the River Gambia Expedition

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 2.42.26 PM

Dead monkeys and Christmas night sleeping on a rock – River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

H & Ally cat T5616x3744-00352 copy

‘The Twins’ become ‘The Ally Cat’ - Gouloumbou, Senegal © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 2.38.56 PM

People we met along the way: The boy in the ‘fur coat’ © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 2.27.45 PM

Time for a swim – Helen hangs out with the kids of Karantaba, River Gambia © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 10.22.25 AM

People we met along the way: Malian fisher woman, River Gambia © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 2.23.38 PM

Bonto, River Gambia, The Gambia © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 4.11.39 PM

People we met along the way: the photographer and the journalist, Bansang, The Gambia © Jason Florio

Night hawkers T5616x3744-00299

Night hawkers, Gouloumbou, Senegal © Jason Florio

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 9.48.42 AM

People we met along the way: The boy with his pet monkey, River Gambia © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 8.59.57 AM

People we met along the way: ‘Hawa’ rice field worker © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 9.00.01 AM

People we met along the way: ‘Oyster collectors, The Gambia © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 4.20.36 PM

Horses swimming across the River Gambia, Karantaba, The Gambia © Jason Florio

BONTO PIER_USE_MG_8683

People we met along the way: “The man on the pier’ at Bonto, River Gambia’ © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 4.21.47 PM

The day before last – Helen, Ebou and Abdou, Bonto, The Gambia © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 4.22.22 PM

The day before last – Jason Florio, Bonto, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

BOY WITH MASK-COL

The last image of the River Gambia Expedition: ‘The boy in the mask’ Mandinari, The Gambia © Jason Florio

denton bridge-finish_MG_8986 copy

Mission Accomplished! Denton Bridge, at the Atlantic Ocean, The Gambia, West Africa

H & Flo Gatwick _MG_9385

JFK via London Gatwick – The Florios, post River Gambia Expedition – don’t we look happy to be back?! And we have our Peli UK case!

Thank you for coming on the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source-sea African odyssey‘. Its been quite a journey and we have more to come…please stay with us and we’ll keep you updated on the ‘River Gambia’ book – which will fill in all the blanks.

The Florios (Helen & Flo)

Jason Florio – ‘River Gambia’ – new series of images

 © Jason Florio

© Jason Florio

© Jason Florio

© Jason Florio

© Jason Florio

© Jason Florio

To view more of Jason Florio’s new series of images – ‘River Gambia’ – taken whilst on the ‘River Gambia Expedition-1000km source-sea African odyssey‘ please visit the website: florio photo.com

Our River Gambia Expedition donors say ‘thank you’ / grazie mille

Giorgio with print

“Grazie Jason e grazie Helen Jones-Florio bellissima foto !!!”

Prints for donors

Prints for all our River Gambia Expedition donors © Jason Florio

We just received this from Giorgio in Italy – who was one of our River Gambia Expedition donors. They look very pleased with their ‘Boy in the Mask’ print – which is the image they chose from Jason Florio’s new ‘River Gambia’ series – as their reward for getting involved in ‘An Exchange’ way back last year, when we were raising funds for the expedition.

Giorgio Scobbi1_DSF4514 copy

Thanks to to Sgobbi family for their support for our expedition – all the way from The Gambia, West Africa

Before we first sent out our initial fundraising email, and later Kickstarter, we tried to think of a unique way of saying thank you to everyone who chipped in. We came up with the idea of making banners – with whatever materials we could find when we were down in West Africa – and writing our donors names and websites on (if they had one) them. Then we posted the images here on the blog and our FB page and Twitter.  And, along the way, we had fun doing this…so many people we met on the journey, who participated when we explained, loved the idea of it – and/or loved the camera! Either way, it worked out really well.

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 9.53.03 AM

“You guys rock!” Julie Grahame/aCurator image © Jason Florio

We’ve since sent Florio’s prints out all over the world. So…grazie mille, abaraka baci, merci beaucoup, jerrujef, danke, shukran, dik, muchas grazias, 謝謝, kia ora, mange tak, ta, khàwp khun, a sheynem dank….

Thank you!!

The Florios (H & Flo)

P.S. more tales from the River Gambia coming up

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 10.22.25 AM

A female migrant worker from Mali pulls up fishing pots from River Gambia, near the Gambian village of Fatoto. Image © Jason Florio

 

The ferry crossing across the River Gambia, Senegal, West Africa

CAR FERRY-KEDOUGOU_MG_0458 copy

© Jason Florio

Random photo of the day: Car ferry crossing over the River Gambia, in Kedougou, Senegal, West Africa. Taken whilst on the River Gambia Expedition – image © Jason Florio

We’ll be presenting a slideshow and discussion all about our journey at Foto Care, NYC, on Tuesday 14th May – 6.30pm-8pm. Please click this link to find out all the details

Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 11.14.09 AM

Dead monkeys and Christmas night – sleeping on a rock by the River Gambia, Senegal

T5616x3744-00132

Christmas dinner? Dead monkey & bathing hunters – Njuen, River Gambia, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio

Carrying on from where we left off, on our River Gambia Expedition

Tuesday 25th December 2012 – Njuen, Senegal, West Africa. Total paddling distance to-date: 185.73km

Over the last couple of days since we left Yousef in Mako – our ever-so-slightly deranged Malian fisherman/guide/hippo expert -  we dismantled and strapped ‘The Twins’, our two Ally 811 canoes, onto the roof of a Sept Place and drove 134km to Wassadou, through Niokolo Koba National Park. We were still feeling very disappointed that we didn’t get the go ahead (permit) from the park director, to allow us to paddle the River Gambia through the park. However, we were definitely not upset about the thought of dodging 1000′s of hippos in the park!

Yousef_mako-river_MG_4170

21st Dec: Yousef – River Gambia, Mako, Senegal © Jason Florio

Mako-sept place_DSF2253 copy

22nd Dec: Sept Place – Mako-Wassadou, Senegal, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

Wassadou camp sign post

22nd Dec: Arriving at Wassadou camp – sign post © Helen Jones-Florio

We arrived at the very tranquil setting of Wassadou Camp, on the 22nd December, where we were planning to spend a few days over Christmas – a special treat and much needed rest before we rebuilt ‘The Twins’ to get them back into the River Gambia. However, after finding out that our welcoming lunch worked out at $60 for the four of us, we decided that perhaps Wassadou wasn’t going to be where we spent Christmas. Considering our budget is usually between $5-$10 maximum, per day, to feed four of us, staying in the relative luxury of Wassadou would leave us pretty much budget-less in no time! Mind you, we ate like kings – that lunch was delicious. Fresh green salad, a huge steak, and home-made rice pudding for afters. Divine. Such a welcome change from our staple diet of rice and sauce, cous cous and sauce and…erm…more rice and sauce.

Prints for donors

23rd Dec: Helen catches up on journal writing, River Gambia, Wassadou, Senegal © Jason Florio

A little r’n'r and time to catch up on writing up our journals – just look at that view. That’s Niokolo Koba National Park on the left.

Then it’s back to worlk: reassembling the Ally 811′s – ready to get them back into the river in the morning.

Ally canoe building-wassadou_DSF2338 copy

Reassembling the Ally Canoes – Wassadou Camp, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

Wassadou T5616x3744-00001 copy

Dining room, Wassadou camp, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio

Christmas Eve – time to move on again

Flo & Allys wassadou_DSF2369 copy

Florio packs the Ally 811′s – ready to head off – River Gambia, Wassadou, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

During our trunkated stay at Wassadou, our neighboring camp-mate was a French man – Claude – a teacher who had driven his car all the way from France and was making his way to Guinea-Conakry. Florio and I were a little concerned that his tiny car would not survive the ‘roads’ of Guinea. However, Claude had made the journey a few years previously and assured us that he could get around the riverbed-like roads of the Fouta Djallon in Guinea. An inspirational man who I hope we meet again one day – or at least hear from. If you are reading this, Claude, please get in touch!

Micheal M_Cutter, Bingtang Creek

‘au revoir’ to new friends – traveller, Claude, from France – Wassadou, Senegal © Jason Florio

Back onto the river – this time without our trusty Malian fisherman/guide and hippo expert. The trepidation was palpable .

Fisherman, River Gambia_MG_5925 copy

Fisherman, River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

As peaceful and idyllic as the above and below setting may look, the hippos were around. We never let our guard down. They especially like the beach areas – like this one we were about to paddle past:

H-river gambia-from Wassadou T5616x3744-00015 copy

H: ‘Gulp. Hippo beach on the left!’ Back on the River Gambia, Senegal  © Jason Florio

Breast feeding2_MG_3792 copy

Meeting people along the way – women’s garden, River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

Flo laid back-ally-riverDSCF5222 copy

Florio ‘hippos…what hippos?’ River Gambia, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

Then again, some of us did let our guard down – every now and then!

Malian man-river gambia_MG_5597

Meeting more people along the way – Malian fisherman, River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

Despite not getting permission to paddle through the Niokolo Koba National Park, our route, along the River Gambia from Wassadou, bordered the outskirts of park on our left for around 60-70km

Motor-Banana plantation T5616x3744-00054 copy

Well-wishers we meet along the way, Banana plantation worker, River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

We were hoping to spend Christmas Eve night in one of the villages near to the river, but each opening we came to was too steep – either that or there was a platform with a motor on it, in the way. We passed dozens of these rickety pallet-like platforms along this stretch of river. Their purpose is to pump water up to the many banana plantations. Since we had started out in Kedougou, the banks had gotten progressively steeper – perpendicular in places – thus making it very difficult, or impossible, to haul our gear up.

It was getting near to dusk and we knew we had to get out of the water very soon – a guy we passed, on one of the platforms, warned us that the hippos would be coming out towards the river from the fields at any moment. Yet, we couldn’t find a way to get up any of the steep inclines. We were getting pretty desperate – non of us wanted to be in the water in the dark – i.e. and not be able to see a hippo until it was upon us!

Christmas eve-sandbank T5616x3744-00056 copy

Christmas Eve – Abdou & Ebou collect wood for the fire, River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

We eventually settled, out of necessity, on a sandbank in the middle of the river.; which we’d actually passed by over a mile away and had to paddle back to. Abdou and Ebou paddled over to the the opposite bank to fetch fire wood. We needed plenty of it if we were to keep the fire going all night long. For all we knew, we could have been in the pathway of hippos getting to and from the river – we could see plenty of tracks on the nearby bank.

T5616x3744-00061

Time for tea – Kelly Kettle style -  River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

Dusk River Gambia_DSF2419 copy

Dusk over the River Gambia and on a sand bank – Senegal West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

I lay awake under our makeshift mosquito-tent that night – which Florio had constructed, using our paddles as tent rods – imagining every noise I heard was the sound of a hippo. In reality, aside from the usually cacophony of the surrounding bush, three sets of snoring was pretty much all I could hear. At least the guys slept well, then. I hardly slept a wink, keeping my eye on that fire all night long. Getting up to stoke it and add more wood, whenever I saw the fire-light dwindling.

H-christmas morning T5616x3744-00067 copy

Dawn – and the beginning of a new day! Merry Christmas! River Gambia, Senegal g Jason Florio

Christmas Day – Merry Christmas!

Flo Christmas morning-packing_DSF2423 copy

Christmas morning – time to pack up and get back on the River: Florio, Abdou & Ebou, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

T5616x3744-00217

Banana plantation workers, River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

H & Ebou River Gambia T5616x3744-00112 copy

Christmas Day – Stopping for a break, River Gambia, Senegal © jason Florio

Dead monkey T5616x3744-00134 copy

Yep! Christmas dinner, it is! Njuen, Senegal © Jason Florio

We reached the rocky outcrop which led up to the village of Njuen. Seeing the monkey, shot in the head, didn’t sit too well with me either – strangely enough. The village itself was set back – about 1km from the riverside – and, as usual, we needed to stay near to the canoes and all our gear. And, once again, it was fast approaching that we-need-to-get-out-of-the-river-time again. Dusk. Thus the rocky outcrop became our camping spot for the night. It is definitely in the top ten most uncomfortable places we set our camp, along the River Gambia.

We placed our mosquito net on the most level piece of ground we could find and virtually had to strap ourselves in to avoid rolling down into the river! Yet, another sleepless night. Mind you, that was mainly due to the fact that the villagers – Njuen being one of the rare Bassari Christian villages along the route – celebrating Christmas. All. Night. Long. Fireworks, blasting music, on cranked up to Mac 11, PA systems, and drunken village boys coming down to swim, drunkenly, in the river beside our camp.

Merry Christmas!!

H Njuen-rock T5616x3744-00144 copy

Christmas Day – our campsite for the night – Njuen, Senegal © Jason Florio

Dusk-christmas night T5616x3744-00143 copy

Dusk – Christmas evening – Njuen, River Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Hey, at least the vista never failed to disappoint.

Thanks for stopping by. More River Gambia stories to come soon.

The Florios (H & Flo)

‘River Gambia’ a new series of images from Jason Florio

Coming up next: making ‘The Twins’ into the ‘Ally Cat’

Ally canoes_allycat T5616x3744-00346 copy

Abdou, Florio & Ebou – converting the Ally 811 into the ‘Ally Cat’ Gouloumbou, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

 

 

 

Last remaining prints, by Jason Florio, to ship out to our donors – from the River Gambia series

From this:

To this…the last few remaining prints to send out:

Sunday 21st May, 2013 – NYC

After a couple of weeks of processing, packing, and labeling, we’ve now shipped out the bulk of prints, to our donors, who donated $100 and over for our River Gambia Expedition - sharing with them all those people we met along the way, who Florio photographed.

Thanks so much for the wonderful “*Boy in Mask” photo and the extra Fur Coat pic (postcard). All arrived in great condition. I’m having the Boy pic custom framed to match the “Alhaji Tonkara” photo. Both will reside in my living room. Thanks again and all best wishes for your continued happiness and success”  Bob, Fort Myers, Florida – just received his print. Bob was the very first donor for our initial crowd-funding campaign ‘an exchange‘ for this expedition, and he has been a great support over the years – he also generously donated for our 2009 expedition, in exchange for one of Florio’s prints, A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey

BOY WITH MASK-COL

‘Boy in the Mask’ The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 8.12.34 AMTrunk (@trunkmag) is ecstatic w/ our ‘Boy in Mask’ print from @floriophotoNYC Jason Florio’s prints-River Gambia seriesDavid Ciccone – Founder and Creative Director, NYC

Again, a humongous thank you to everyone who helped us get on to that mighty River Gambia – from Australia, Switzerland, Germany, East Africa, West Africa, UK, Canada, USA, Turkey, Italy, Ireland, France… . Suddenly, our apartment feels quite empty…time to go out and play!

More river stories coming very soon – as our journey continues from where we left off

The Florios (H & Flo)

*If you missed our crowd-funding campaign’s, Jason Florio’s prints are available to purchase – from the website gallery floriophoto.com

With a little help from our friends, here’s how we raised the money to make the River Gambia Expedition happen:

An Exchange

Kickstarter

_MG_8683

The pier at Bonto © Jason Florio – to check out the ‘River Gambia’ series, please visit the website floriophoto.com