‘River Gambia’ presented by VQR at Photoville, Brooklyn, NY, 2013 – exclusive film footage

Flo paddling dawn

Dawn – Florio, River Gambia, The Gambia, West Africa – clip from footage by Helen Jones-Florio

H_canoes_hippos

Hippo sighting! Helen and the River Gambia Expedition team, Senegal, West Africa – clip from footage by Jason Florio

Monday 1st September 2013

It’s Labor Day and we are working – hard!

Not in any particular order: wonder, amazement, joy, laughter, love, elation, peace, fear (that’ll be the multiple hippo encounters!), frustration, patience, helplessness, sorrow… pretty much sums up our state of mind, moods, and emotions that we relive – wading through hours of video footage that both Florio and I shot, whilst on our recent ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘.

We’re putting together an exclusive piece – to accompany Florio’s ‘River Gambia‘ series of images which we’ll be exhibiting (thanks to VQR for their support!) – for this years Photoville, in Brooklyn, New York.

VQR logo2

P13 Banner 730x225.man

We hope that you can make it to Photoville – held over two long weekends – 19-29 September.

More updates coming soon!

The Florios (H & Flo)

VQR Spring 2013 opening page_72dpi

VQR – ‘Life on the River Gambia’. To view some of the images we’ll be exhibiting at Photoville, please click here: Jason Florio

Dream boats…folding Canadian canoe…anyone? We just need ONE more. Can you help?

Jason Florio – Photographer and River Gambia Expedition Co-Leader model’s our new Ally Canoe (by Bergan’s of Norway)…beautifully. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

NEWSFLASH! 21st Aug 2012: we now are the proud owners of 1 x 811 16.5′ Ally Folding Canoe – BIG thanks to Tamarack Outdoors, UK, for facilitating a deal with Bergan’s of Norway (who make the expedition-style beauties). Now…we just need one more…read on…

OK…as sad as this sounds, over the last few months, Florio and I spent an inordinate amount of time daydreaming about the ideal canoes for our ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’. They have to be folding – as there will be times when we will need to portage all our camping and camera gear and the canoes, where the River Gambia is impassable – on our journey through the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, on into Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal, and then finally into The Gambia. The canoes need to be lightweight, shock-absorbable (is that an actual word? Anyhooo, we need to know that if we, say, accidentally bump into the odd hippo – out of 6,000 of ‘em! in Niokolo, the craft won’t fall apart on impact!), flexible, insulated, have a high-load capacity, anatomic seats would be nice and, most importantly, easier (and quicker) to assemble then a Ikea PAX wardrobe. Oh…and they need to be about 17ft-18ft long – to fit 2-3 passengers (for when we pick up guides, and the odd armed guard, along the way). Colour – optional. Personally though, I’m partial to green or red.

Lastly, we need two one more of the things. Actually, (Bergan’s of) Norway and a little place in New Hampshire (PakBoats), USA, produce some beautiful crafts that fit our criteria perfectly.

Route Map – River Gambia Expedition 2012-1000km source to sea African odyssey

If there is anyone out there who might be able to help us with sponsorship for two one more canoe, please check out the ‘An Exchange’ page for more information. We also have a pdf of how we publicize all the product sponsors we have on board (pun most definitely intended). We have some fantastically generous product donators with us, so far.

OK…back to dream boats.

The Florios

Please click on the image below to watch Jason Florio as he explains how you can own one of his fine art photography prints, from a series of images he will take whilst on the expedition:

We have our first folding canoe! Thanks to Tamarack Outdoors, UK, and Bergans of Norway!

She’s a beauty! Ally Folding Canoe by Bergans of Norway – from Tamarack Outdoors, UK. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

We got up even before next door’s cockerel had a chance to start its crowing yesterday morning, for the long drive, ‘Up North, to pick up our first canoe from Tamarack Outdoors – a gem of a place out in the middle of nowhere…well, not exactly nowhere. They are actually based in a picturesque village not too far north of Preston, in Lancashire. Tamarack, by the way, is a North American Indian word that means – ‘the tree that makes snow shoes’.

And a very warm welcome indeed. Tamarack Outdoors. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

And a very warm welcome we received indeed, from the one of the owners, Tony, and his wife, Trudie. They may be Southerners originally (from Portsmouth), but a great Northern-style brew was also in the offing (thanks, Trudie!).

Florio and I were like were like kids in a sweetshop – except without the pocket money! Tamarack Outdoors is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of all things well, erm… outdoors – camping, climbing, canoeing and trekking.

‘At Tamarack Outdoors we are committed to offering outdoors clothing and equipment from specialist brands from around the world, often difficult to find in the UK. The range we carry caters primarily for the campcraft and outdoors person as well as the hill walker and camper. We have found that whilst there are some good items in the UK market, to find a range of quality clothing , that will stand up to the job in hand you often, unfortunately, need to look outside the UK’ . Tamarack Outdoors

Florio gets his first glimpse of the Ally Folding Canoe in the flesh – so to speak © Helen Jones-Florio

When we could contain our excitement a minute longer, Tony took us to the back of their cavernous warehouse to show us what we were about to take home with us, and what we will eventually be paddling down the River Gambia in: the 811 16.5′ Ally Folding Canoe

‘The canoe for those who need large volume combined with high stability on plain waters and in rivers. For years the 16,5’ DR has been the no. 1 choice of expeditions all over the world. It is suitable for 2-3 persons with gear, or 2 grown-ups and 2 children. ALLY 16,5’ DR has the same shape as 15’ DR but a longer, less rockered keel line, which increases directional stability. This canoe has been paddled in heavy white water and on rivers with great technical difficulties with splendid success – making it the optimal choice under all conditions’ Ally Canoes – Bergans of Norway

Florio & ‘Tamarack’ Tony talk buoyancy aids. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

On first glance, I’m thinking ‘bloody hell, it’s long!’ However, its actually 1/2″ shorter than the canoe’s we’ve been practicing in (and we had one each the other day!) with the top trainers from the Surrey Canoe Club But, the Ally is most definitely wider than those canoes – we need a much space as possible to carry our camping and camera gear, when we are on the River Gambia Expedition 2012. The folding capacity will also come in very handy when we have to portage them, and our gear, in the eventuality of sections of the river being impassable.

Bergans of Norway, Tamarack Outdoors, UK – Image ˙© Helen Jones-Florio

After whiling away a good 2-3 hours, and another cracking cuppa, along with some great advice on canoes, camping, packing etc. from Tony, reluctantly, we had to bid au voir and begin the long drive back to Surrey – and it was…lengthy, rainy and rush hour traffic logged. But, well worth it. To have our first canoe on board – boxed up and ready to assemble (the fun bit!).

Trudie, H & Tony – Tamarack Outdoors. Image © Jason Florio

Its a BIG thank you to Tony and his business partner (Mike) at Tamarack Outdoors for persuading the powers that be at ‘Bergans of Norway’ to help us out, when they were at a recent trade fair in Germany. They succeeded where we didn’t on that score. So MEGA THANKS Tamarack Outdoor!! We’ll hopefully be back for the second canoe as soon as.

Now, where is that instructions video from Bergans, Florio?! YouTube footage coming soon, me thinks!!

Thanks for stopping by and supporting. More updates as and when.

The Florios (H & Flo)

 

 

‘Paddling River Gambia: How the hell do you deal with 6,000+ hippos?!’ Africa Geographic Safari Interactive Magazine

Aug 6th 2012

‘Paddling River Gambia: How the hell do you deal with 6,000+ hippos?!’

Hippos © Jason Florio

‘Come early October we will be paddling the River Gambia from source to sea.

During our journey, we’ll be travelling through the homelands of several West Africa tribes – beginning at the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea, we’ll then cross over the border into Senegal, to canoe and trek through Niokolo Koba National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and finally into The Republic of the Gambia – following the same course as the early gold and slave traders had done century’s ago…’ ‘River Gambia 2012 Expedition – 1000km source-sea African odyssey’ – what, where and why exactly are we doing this expedition…you may well ask?

Comments:

Simon Espley “Don’t get between hippos and their perceived safety (deep water). Enjoy, very envious. Boated the Zambezi source to mouth years ago (albeit in ducks) – hippos provided the most ‘fun’.”

Thanks to Africa Geographic Safari Interactive Mag for their support.

H & Flo (The Florios)

River Gambia Expedition 2012 Team Leaders

Please click on the image below to hear Jason Florio talk about how you can own one of his fine art photography prints from the River Gambia Expedition 2012 – from the images he will take whilst on the journey:

How to get one of award-winning photographer, Jason Florio’s, limited edition River Gambia Expedition 2012 prints

Herouna Tonkara with his white horse, The Gambia, West Africa

‘Acting Alkalo (chief) Herouna Tonkara with his white horse’, The Gambia, West Africa. Image © Jason Florio. Just one example of the award-winning prints that our donors could choose from, from our 2009 expedition – ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush’

Fundraising 2012

River Gambia route: Guinea-Senegal-The Gambia

1 River. 2 Borders. 3 Countries.

Would you like an exclusive River Gambia 2012 Expedition Limited Edition Print from award-winning photographer Jason Florio?

To check out why exactly we are doing this, please click on this link

Although we have received some extremely generous donations from family, friends and well-wishers, along with great product sponsorship (SteriPEN, Yellowbrick, OverBoard, The Gambia Experience, DPx Gear, Peli UK…) – thank you, thank you, thank you! – we are still a little ways off from meeting our target amount, to enable us to make the River Gambia Expedition 2012, happen.

So, as with our 2009 expedition (‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’), we will be covering our own personal expenses for this expedition. However, what we really need help with is to raise funds for the on-the-ground expenses – an estimated $11,000 USD / £7,200 (any unused funds will be donated to our partner charity – more info/links to come shortly).

Please click on the following image to watch Jason Florio talk about ‘An Exchange’ – his fine art photography prints in exchange for donations:

We are also looking to team up with gear manufacturers and suppliers to get our two local Gambian team members kitted out – i.e. clothes, boots, camping equipment – MANY THANKS to the product sponsors who are already on board…above and beyond. For corporate and product sponsorship, please email helen.jones@floriophoto.com for our full Product Sponsorship pdf. – to see how we can benefit each other.

Addict tents, The Gambia, West Africa

Addict.co.uk tents, The Gambia, West Africa. One of our product sponsors from our 2009 ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush’ expedition. Image © Helen Jones-Florio 2009

Here are just a few examples of what we need – the full list can be found on our ‘How to Donate and Wish List’ page.

  • Funding for fee’s, food and insurance for two local River Gambia boatmen, plus guides and fixers in each of the other two countries – for the duration of 2-3 months
  • *2 x lightweight folding canoe’s – (these are on our Wish List – and the biggest expense of the whole expedition)
  • *1 x Panasonic Toughbook™ laptop CF 52 or 53 Performance Model & battery pack (or equivalent – needs to be durable, shock-protected, waterproof – please see Wish List)

*If we can persuade a few more companies to donate some of the essential items, and most expensive items, from our Wish List, then this will bring our target amount down quite considerably – which means we won’t have to raise the full $11,000/£7,200

And, as with our 2009 expedition, as a thank you for donations over received, $100 / £65, we are offering a series of Florio’s Exclusive Limited Edition Expedition Prints from the River Gambia Expedition 2012 – signed by Florio . The size of the print will depend on how much you donate – please see our ‘How to Donate and Wish List’ page for donation amounts/sizes list and further details.

All donations – gratefully received:

If you haven’t got as much as $100/£65 + to spare, don’t worry! Every penny and cent will help. Whether its $20 USD/£13 GBP - $500 USD/ £325 everyone will be added to the blogroll list of thanksPLUS your name, or the name of your company/website link, will be out there: on the blog and our social media sites. PLUS, PLUS, PLUS! each and every donor will have their name, or company name/website, written (in BOLD) on a piece of card, wood, fabric, the canoe paddles, if it comes to it – basically, whatever raw materials we can find! One of the expedition team will then hold up the banner and a photo will be taken – whether we are in the Fouta Djallon highlands or paddling through hippo-abundant waters Niokolo Koba National Park, Senegal, or standing on the historical Kunta Kinteh Island, in The Gambia – said photo will beposted onto the blog, twit-pic’d, Facebooked, Tumblr’d – the lot! (if you prefer not to be social media’ed, then that’s cool too – just let us know when you donate).

The donors banner - The Gambia, West Africa

The donors banner – this could be your name, or the name of your company, on the banner. Image © Helen Jones-Florio, The Gambia, West Africa, 2009

Please feel free to spread the word – share this link with your mates, point it in the direction of any relevant product sponsor friends. And, again, if you would like to donate yourself, then please visit our ‘How to Donate and Wish List’ page for full details.

Thank you so much

Big love and respect

The Florios (H & Flo)


Dream boats…folding Canadian canoe…anyone?

Jason Florio – Photographer and River Gambia Expedition Co-Leader model’s our new Ally Canoe (by Bergan’s of Norway)…beautifully. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

NEWSFLASH! 21st Aug 2012: we now are the proud owners of 1 x 811 16.5′ Ally Folding Canoe – BIG thanks to Tamarack Outdoors, UK, for facilitating a deal with Bergan’s of Norway (who make the expedition-style beauties). Now…we just need one more…read on…

OK…as sad as this sounds, Florio and I spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming about the ideal canoes for our ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’. They have to be folding – as there will be times when we will need to portage all our camping and camera gear and the canoes, where the River Gambia is impassable, on our journey through the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, on into Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal, and then finally into The Gambia. The canoes need to be lightweight, shock-absorbable (is that an actual word? Anyhooo, we need to know that if we, say, accidentally bump into the odd hippo in Niokolo, the craft won’t fall apart on impact!), flexible, insulated, have a high-load capacity, anatomic seats would be nice and, most importantly, easier (and quicker) to assemble then a Ikea PAX wardrobe! Oh…and they need to be about 17ft long – to fit 2-3 passengers (for when we pick up guides, and the odd armed guard, along the way). Colour – optional. Personally though, I’m partial to green or red.

Lastly, we need two one of the things. Actually, Norway and a little place in New Hampshire, USA, produce some beautiful crafts that fit our criteria perfectly.

Route Map – River Gambia Expedition 2012-1000km source to sea African odyssey

If there is anyone out there who might be able to help us with sponsorship for two one canoe, please check out the ‘An Exchange’ page for more information. We also have a pdf of how we publicize all the product sponsors we have on board (pun most definitely intended). We have some fantastically generous product donators with us, so far.

OK…back to dream boats.

The Florios

Please click on the image below to watch Jason Florio as he explains how you can own one of his fine art photography prints, from a series of images he will take whilst on the expedition:

How to get one of award-winning photographer, Jason Florio’s, limited edition River Gambia Expedition 2012 prints

Herouna Tonkara with his white horse, The Gambia, West Africa

‘Acting Alkalo (chief) Herouna Tonkara with his white horse’, The Gambia, West Africa. Image © Jason Florio. Just one example of the award-winning prints that our donors could choose from, from our 2009 expedition – ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush’

Fundraising 2012

River Gambia route: Guinea-Senegal-The Gambia

1 River. 2 Borders. 3 Countries.

Would you like an exclusive River Gambia 2012 Expedition Limited Edition Print from award-winning photographer Jason Florio?

To check out why exactly we are doing this, please click on this link

Although we have received some extremely generous donations from family, friends and well-wishers, along with great product sponsorship (SteriPEN, Yellowbrick, OverBoard, The Gambia Experience, DPx Gear, Peli UK…) – thank you, thank you, thank you! – we are still a little ways off from meeting our target amount, to enable us to make the River Gambia Expedition 2012, happen.

So, as with our 2009 expedition (‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’), we will be covering our own personal expenses for this expedition. However, what we really need help with is to raise funds for the on-the-ground expenses – an estimated $11,000 USD / £7,200 (any unused funds will be donated to our partner charity – more info/links to come shortly).

Please click on the image below to watch Jason Florio as he explains how you can own one of his fine art photography prints, from a series of images he will take whilst on the expedition:

We are also looking to team up with gear manufacturers and suppliers to get our two local Gambian team members kitted out – i.e. clothes, boots, camping equipment – MANY THANKS to the product sponsors who are already on board…above and beyond. For corporate and product sponsorship, please email helen.jones@floriophoto.com for our full Product Sponsorship pdf. – to see how we can benefit each other.

Addict tents, The Gambia, West Africa

Addict.co.uk tents, The Gambia, West Africa. One of our product sponsors from our 2009 ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush’ expedition. Image © Helen Jones-Florio 2009

Here are just a few examples of what we need – the full list can be found on our ‘How to Donate and Wish List’ page.

  • Funding for fee’s, food and insurance for two local River Gambia boatmen, plus guides and fixers in each of the other two countries – for the duration of 2-3 months
  • *1 x lightweight folding canoe’s – (these are on our Wish List – and the biggest expense of the whole expedition)
  • *1 x Panasonic Toughbook™ laptop CF 52 or 53 Performance Model & battery pack (or equivalent – needs to be durable, shock-protected, waterproof – please see Wish List)

*If we can persuade a few more companies to donate some of the essential items, and most expensive items, from our Wish List, then this will bring our target amount down quite considerably – which means we won’t have to raise the full $11,000/£7,200

And, as with our 2009 expedition, as a thank you for donations over received, $100 / £65, we are offering a series of Florio’s Exclusive Limited Edition Expedition Prints from the River Gambia Expedition 2012 – signed by Florio . The size of the print will depend on how much you donate – please see our ‘An Exchange’ page for donation amounts/sizes list and further details.

All donations – gratefully received:

If you haven’t got as much as $100/£65 + to spare, don’t worry! Every penny and cent will help. Whether its $20 USD/£13 GBP - $500 USD/ £325 everyone will be added to the blogroll list of thanksPLUS your name, or the name of your company/website link, will be out there: on the blog and our social media sites. PLUS, PLUS, PLUS! each and every donor will have their name, or company name/website, written (in BOLD) on a piece of card, wood, fabric, the canoe paddles, if it comes to it – basically, whatever raw materials we can find! One of the expedition team will then hold up the banner and a photo will be taken – whether we are in the Fouta Djallon highlands or paddling through hippo-abundant waters Niokolo Koba National Park, Senegal, or standing on the historical Kunta Kinteh Island, in The Gambia – said photo will beposted onto the blog, twit-pic’d, Facebooked, Tumblr’d – the lot! (if you prefer not to be social media’ed, then that’s cool too – just let us know when you donate).

The donors banner - The Gambia, West Africa

The donors banner – this could be your name, or the name of your company, on the banner. Image © Helen Jones-Florio, The Gambia, West Africa, 2009

Please feel free to spread the word – share this link with your mates, point it in the direction of any relevant product sponsor friends. And, again, if you would like to donate yourself, then please visit our ‘How to Donate and Wish List’ page for full details.

Thank you so much

Big love and respect

The Florios (H & Flo)


Donations – funding and product – coming in daily for the River Gambia Expedition 2012

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!

To all who have personally donated and to those who have sponsored us on the product front – we are amazed and truly thankful to one and all for your immense generosity and faith in what we are doing. Our ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey‘ is taking root because of everyone’s donations and sponsorship. And, we’re working hard every single day to get those paddles into the water. We still have a ways to go though, to enable us to get on the River Gambia to document, through multiple medias – visual/written/audio – the lives and cultures of the indigenous people, who live and work along the course of the – one of Africa’s last big, free-flowing, rivers. Over 1000km’s of river will take us from the Fouta Djallon highlands, of Guinea, on into hippo-abundant Niokolo Koba National Park, Senegal, and finally into The Republic of the Gambia , to the Atlantic Ocean and the rivers end.

If you can help in any way – either through a donation (however small or large – it will all help) or product sponsorship – please visit our ‘An Exchange’ page. You’ll also find out how you can get one of (Jason) Florio’s limited edition ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012′ signed prints (he’s an award-winning photographer, don’t you know!) and get your name/website written on a banner, and photographed/FB’ed/Twittered, from the middle of a West African river or village.

Please click on the image below to watch Jason Florio as he explains how you can own one of his fine art photography prints, from a series of images he will take whilst on the expedition:

However, even if you aren’t able to donate or sponsor, that’s cool too because you can still follow our journey by entering your email address (see ‘Follow us…please’ down the right hand side of this page). Also, please feel free to share this link with your friends and colleagues – as it’ll really help to spread the word.

Over 1000km’s incoming!

MAP River Gambia

The River Gambia – Expedition 2012 Route Map

We hope that you stop by again soon for more updates on the progression of our forthcoming journey – we hope to get into the River Gambia around early October.

BIG Love and Respect

The Florios (Jason & Helen)

More donations are coming in for the River Gambia Expedition 2012!

Donations are coming in almost daily for our ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey‘. Its amazing! BIG love and thanks to Suzy Peters, London, UK, for the most recent donation.

Suzy’s donation will go towards helping us to traverse over 1000km of the River Gambia – one of Africa’s last big, free-flowing, rivers. Traveling by canoe and foot through the homelands of over seven different tribes, our journey will begin at the source of the river, where it trickles out of the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea, on into hippo-abundant Niokolo Koba National Park, Senegal, and finally into The Republic of the Gambia. We will collect – through multiple medias – visual/written/audio – stories documenting the lives and cultures of the indigenous people, who live and work along the course of the river.

And, again, we can’t thank everyone else enough, who have donated so far – both funding and product. You are all making this expedition possible and, for that, we are humbled by your support, help and generosity. We’re extremely excited that you are on-board the journey with us – metaphorically-speaking, that is. Our canoes aren’t that big!

Florio - The Gambia, West Africa

This could be your name/website on the banner! Florio – Karantabah, The Gambia, West Africa – Image © Helen Jones-Florio 2009

If you would like to have a limited edition 2012 expedition print, signed by Jason Florio and have a banner with your name/website – on it, taken whilst we are on the journey in West Africa, check out this ‘How to Donate link‘ We also have a ‘Wish List’ of products that we need.

Thank you, merci beaucoup, abaraka baci, jerrejeff (just four of the languages we’ll come across whilst on our journey)!

Love & Respect

The Florios xxx

Florio photographs the village chief – the Alkalo – of Khalaji village, The Gambia, West Africa

Lamin Jammeh - village chief of Khalaji village, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Portrait of Lamin Jammeh – village chief of Khalaji village, The Gambia, West Africa – award-winning image © Jason Florio

On our last expedition in 2009, ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’, when we walked completely around the small West African country of The Gambia, an important part of our journey was to document the people who we met along the way. We did this through photography and writing a blog

It wasn’t until we got on the ground, in Gambia, and talked with two of our local Gambian expedition team mates, Janneh and Samba, that we came up the idea of Florio photographing the village chiefs – known locally as Alkalos. But, in order to do this, we had to follow local protocol. There is a longstanding, inspiring, tradition in The Gambia called ‘Silafando’ – a Mandinka word which translates as ‘a gift to you on behalf of my journey’. It meant that whenever we entered a village, the first thing we would have to do was to introduce ourselves to the chief and then offer the ‘Silafando’ – a gift of kola nuts. This a great sign of respect to the chief, his elders and the Gambian culture. Once the chief accepted the ‘Silafando’ it signified that we were welcomed and allowed to camp in the village – either in the chief’s compound, if it was spacious enough, or somewhere else, preferably in a shady spot (beneath a the large leafy neem tree, for example). It also meant that we were in the village as guests of the chief – under his protection – and traditionally, in turn, the villagers treat any travelers with respect; as we respected them too.

The team camp under the trees in Khalaji village, The Gambia

The ‘Short Walk’ team camp in the shade of the trees in Khalaji village, The Gambia, West Africa – Image © Jason Florio

I’d sometimes film some of the photo shoots – ‘Wobbly Productions’ (for obvious reasons!). Here is a link to Youtube and Florio photographing Lamin Jammeh - the village chief of Khalaji. See how many kids there are? This was indicative of almost all of the villages we stayed in…we’d be constantly surrounded, and every move watched, by dozens of curious, boisterous, vociferous children!

After the shoot, chief Lamin Jammeh got down to the business of sweeping the ground, around our camp site, with us – his ever-present cigarette dangling from his mouth – to make sure that we “the toubabs are comfortable in their home for the night”. How cool is he.

The chief, Lamin Jammeh, cleans up! Khalajo village, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

On our next journey, the River Gambia Expedition, 2012, we hope to make a similar project, collecting – through multiple medias: visual/written/audio – stories documenting the lives and cultures of the indigenous people, who live and work along the course of the course of the River Gambia.- one of Africa’s last free-flowing, major rivers Starting in the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea, on into hippo-abundant Niokolo Koba National Park, Senegal, and finally into The Republic of the Gambia – following the same course as the early gold and slave traders had done century’s ago – to the 10km wide mouth of the river, where it opens into the Atlantic Ocean, after over a 1000km journey.

*Jump on board and enjoy the journey with us.

As always, thanks for stopping by

The Florios

*You can follow us on the blog by simply adding your email address (see ‘Follow us…please’ highlighted on the right hand side of this page), you will then receive an email asking you to verify your **subscription. You’ll then receive any new updates we post. It takes two minutes :)

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Please click on the image below to watch Jason Florio as he explains how you can own one of his fine art photography prints, from a series of images he will take whilst on the River Gambia Expedition 2012: