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.

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“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

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

 

Welcome on board ComAfrique-InteliZon Initiative: ‘Light Up a Village’ with solar-charged lights

ComAfrique InteliZon - solar powered lights © Helen Jones-Florio

During our ‘enforced’ stay here in The Gambia, West Africa – whilst waiting for our delayed/lost shipment of expedition gear to arrive – we’ve serendipitously met some inspirational people who we wouldn’t perhaps otherwise have connected with if we’d already left for the River Gambia Expedition when we were supposed to (3 weeks ago!).

One of those people, Miriam Gyamfi, came to Sandele recently on a yoga retreat, with her dog, Hero, in tow and some amazing solar-charged LED (light emitting diode) lights and torches.

A SUSTAINABLE Solar Lighting Project. Light up a Village using your Corporate Responsibility – An Initiative devised by ComAfrique – with LIghts from InteliZon and supported by partners like TATA Africa (Senegal) and Western India Cashew Company. Bringing Light to Africa – An Entrepreneurial initiative from India – in Partnership with Africa

About: ‘The ComAfrique InteliZon Initiative was founded in 2009 with the aim to realize green, decentralized and low cost lighting in rural areas of Africa. The eradication of the use of candles and kerosene lanterns which are costly and dangerous was one of the main targets from the first day on.

Knowing a great solar product, the ‘ZonLights’ from India, it was obvious for the founder of the Initiative, Mr Ram Mohan that this product needed to be introduced to the African market.’

After a truly inspiring and enlightening (excuse the pun) meeting with CEO and founder of the Initiative, Ram Mohan, Miriam and the other two team members, Famara and Rakib, Florio and I very gratefully walked away with a number of lights, torches and solar panels, for the River Gambia Expedition.

‘Not having ZonLights people would be dependent on buying a daily candle to secure basic lighting. The price for a daily candle is on average about US$0,20 in most parts of West Africa. Using one candle per night most households spend at least US$6 per month or US$73 per year on basic and dangerous illumination.

Using ZonLights villagers do not have to invest into candles anymore. Instead they subscribe to a contract: In the moment of receiving a ZonLight they commit to pay a daily fee of US$0.05 for the usage of the light. Over six years (the life span of a ZonLight) this means that every light collects about US$110 (a daily candle would cost about US$438 in six years). This means that using ZonLights every villager saves about 75% of the money that he would otherwise have invested into candles. But not only that: The steady contribution of US$0.05 goes into a ZonLight fund which collects about $7,500 in six years assuming 70 subscribers.’ …please read more here

Image courtesy ComAfrique InteliZon website

The Initiative’s long-term plan is to light up more and more African villages and beyond, with the help of individual, NGO’s and corporate sponsors – just $2,500 will supply a village with 50-70 Zonlights – for homes, schools, medical centres, police stations, mosques and churches.

There is so much more to this exciting Initiative to be found on the ComAfrique InteliZon website. So, please take a few minutes to check out what these guys are doing – and spread the word. We’ll definitely be shouting about it and we’re especially looking forward to using the products.

Thanks Ram, Miriam and the ComAfrique team for sponsoring us with what will be much needed light on our River Gambia Expedition – we’ll be lighting up our campsite soon enough, with the Zonlights, once the expedition begins next week in Guinea…photos to come soon!

The Florios (H & Flo)

8 and a bit days to go on Kickstarter – and just a hare’s breath away from reaching our target!

Click on image to pledge our KS page-and to see rewards. Deadline 15th Oct. 2012.

 

River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source to sea African odyssey

 

Update 2nd Oct: 76% funded on Kickstarter for The River Gambia Expedition!

Kunta Kinteh Island (formally James Island), on the River Gambia, The Gambia, West Africa – image © Jason Florio 2009

Click on image to go to our KS page

Date: Oct 2, 2012
34 Backers
$2,686 pledged of $3,500 goal
12 days to go!

Thanks so much to everyone, for support, pledges, words of encouragement, and faith in what we aiming to do..it’s all of this, and more, which helps us to move forward.

Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio (‘The Florios’) x

‘River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’

Meet the Team

Kickstarter Update-28th Oct: Thanks for all the pledges – we’re over halfway to our target!

© Jason Florio – ‘Ismaila on his white horse, Jumpex’

We can’t thank everyone enough for helping us to get this far – and in such a short space of time – by pledging on our Kickstarter campaign. Amazing!

We are so close to getting on the River Gambia Expedition proper now – down to West Africa to start our documentary photography journey…and bringing back some beautiful images, road stories and interviews.

Thanks hardly seems a big enough word but…

THANK YOU!

Jason & Helen (The Florios) x

‘River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source to sea African odyssey‘ Expedition Leaders

There is still time to get on board with your pledges for our Kickstarter campaign – check out the rewards you can get too, in exchange for your pledges.

16 days to go!! Please click on the image to view details

 

 

 

The above B&W image and the following image were taken whilst we were driving around the rural areas of The Gambia, West Africa, to the ‘Coming of Age’ (male and female circumcision) ceremonies in 2008. From Florio’s award-winning series of portraits: ‘Makasutu – mecca in the forest’.

© Jason Florio – ‘Painted Face’ Young Gambian girl, dressed for female circumcision ceremony

 

 

Crewsaver Buoyancy Aids in the River Gambia Expedition House! BIG thanks…the team are buoyed to the max!!

Crewsaver ‘Kasmira’ Image © Jason Florio

BIG thanks to Crewsaver for the delivery of buoyancy aids for the River Gambia Expedition – the team will be buoyed up with the Kasmira, Chromis and Kite

More photos coming soon…once we are out and about on the river on the Ally Canoe!

Thanks for your support. Please continue to stop by for updates.

The Florios (Helen & Flo)

To find out how you can get involved – and get one of our award-winning photographer, Jason Florio, and expedition co-leaders limited edition fine art prints, check him out on Vimeo, below, and check out the website gallery for the prints available so far in the B/W & Colour Collections by Florio. More prints will be available from the expedition itself…from images that Florio will take whilst we are on the journey.

click on image to view

 

 

 

Outdoor gear anyone? Our equipment ‘Wish List’ is getting shorter (thanks to all our fantastic gear sponsors!), for the River Gambia Expedition. BUT…we still need a few more items

‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea Africa odyssey’ team thanks all our product sponsors, backers and collaborators for all their unprecedented support and product donations. We are extremely grateful and thankful – you are all helping us make this cultural documentary expedition happen.

Overboard-The leaders in waterproof bags and cases. Image of Helen © Jason Florio

Alas, we still have a number of items that we’d really appreciate some help with – whether through total product sponsorship or expedition discount from suppliers and manufacturers. All sponsors will receive full coverage, in all our social media outlets (here on the blog, FB, Twitter, Tumblr, Website), along with mentions in press interviews, wherever/whenever we can get a plug in there. And, our multi award-winning photographer, and expedition co-leader, Jason Florio, (FRGS: Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society) will get great shots for all of our product sponsors of their donated gear, in use – whilst we are the on the river and trekking in the bush, down in West Africa – to use for their own marketing purposes.

NEWS FLASH-SEPTEMBER 2012: Florio receives ‘Honorable Mention’ in the prestigious International Photography Awards 2012. In 2010 he came First Place in the ‘People/Fine Art Category’ for his portraits of Gambian village chiefs and elders, which he took whilst on our 2009 expedition: ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’

See recent press, for the River Gambia Expedition 2012 here

SteriPEN™ - Sidewinder UV Water Filter. Image © Jason Florio

We have some great product sponsors and backers on board so far (and more in the pipeline – update on that shortly) – including:Goal Zero, Mountain Boot Company, SteriPEN™ , Yellowbrick™ , Peliproducts UK™ , Teva™, Overboard™ , DPxGear™ , The Gambia Experience™ , Tamarack Outdoors™
Opencast Software

Outside Magazine – Adventure Lab/Expedition Watch: ‘The River Gambia, From Source to Sea’ Check it out – award-winning photographer and expedition co-leader, Jason Florio, manages to get a plug for our sponsors and backers in his interviews about the River Gambia Expedition 2012

Publications which we contribute to include: Backpacker Magazine, Outside Magazine, AFAR Magazine, The Independent, Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), Men’s Journal, Let’s Be Wild Magazine, Travel Africa Magazine (‘Summer 2012′ edition featured 8 pages of Jason Florio’s Gambian chiefs and elders from our 2009 expedition), Adventure Travel Magazine

Here’s what we are wishing for – ‘Our Wish List’:

1 x 16-17ft folding canoes (Ally or PakBoat or equivalent) – our single biggest expense. We have one already but need one more for our two West African team mates, Abdou and Ibu.

The ’811 16.5′ Ally Folding Canoe by Bergan’s of Norway. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

UPDATE-SEPT: 4 x Buoyancy Aids/Life Jackets – Crewsaver on board!

1 x Toughbook laptop & battery pack – needs to be durable, shock-protected, waterproof

UPDATE-SEPT: 1 x GoalZero™ – solar charging panel and battery – Goal Zero on board!

1 x GoPro HD2 Hero Camera (sponsoring pending)

Satellite Phone (sponsoring pending)

1 x Adventure Medical Kit – i.e. Life Systems ‘Mountain Leader’ – or expedition/adventure-style medical supplies suitable

4 x Gerber or Leatherman multi-tools

1 x Two-man tent + 2 x One-man tent (or 2 x two-man tents)

3 x 2-3 season sleeping bags

UPDATE-SEPT: 1 x Lightweight camping stove – Kelly Kettle onboard!

Ready-made meals – i.e. ‘Expedition Foods’™ or ‘Travel Foods’™

UPDATE SEPT: 2 x Mosquito net hammocks – field testing for ‘Backpacker Magazine’

4 x Mosquito hats

2 x ActionPacker™ Cargo Boxes (or equivalent)

4 x Lightweight rain jackets/ponchos (3 men, 1 woman – sizes on request)

2 x Pairs of hiking boots (for tropical climates for our two West African team mates)

4 x Sets of quick-dry clothing

If anyone can help, in any way, or recommend us to suppliers for any of the above items, we’d greatly appreciate it. Contact: helen.jones@floriophoto.com for full information on product sponsorship.

Please help spread the word.

And, for those who don’t already know…here are the why, where, what’s and who’s

Thanks a million to every single person and company who have supported us – we truly wouldn’t be able to do this expedition without your help.

The Florios (Jason & Helen)

Expedition Team Leaders

Please click on above image to watch Jason Florio on Vimeo, talking about the expedition and ‘An Exchange’ - limited edition fine art prints for donations

Wish List: Expeditions gear and gadgets needed – for the River Gambia Expedition-1000km source to sea African odyssey

‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea Africa odyssey’ team thanks all the product sponsors, backers and collaborators we have on board so far – for their unprecedented support and product donations. We are extremely grateful and thankful.

Alas, we still have a number of items – our ‘Wish List’ – which we’d really appreciate some help with…whether through total product sponsorship or ‘expedition discount’ from suppliers and manufacturers. All our sponsors will receive full coverage on all our media outlets, along with mentions in press interviews (whenever/wherever we can get a plug in there):

Aug 2012 Press:

Outside Magazine – Adventure Lab/Expedition Watch – Interview Jason Florio, award-winning photographer and expedition co-leader, about the forthcoming River Gambia Expedition

Outside Mag: Do you have a main sponsor?
Jason Florio: “We don’t have a main sponsor. It’s more a collaboration. We have some great product backers: SteriPEN, Yellowbrick, Peli UK, OverBoard, DPx Gear, and Gambia Experience…”

Jason Florio, will also get some great on-the-road-and-river shots of all the product we receive, whilst we are the on the expedition – for all our sponsors to use for their own marketing purposes.

Please click here to find out when, where, who and why…

SteriPEN™ Opti Adventurer © Jason Florio

Here’s what we still have yet to check off our ‘Wish List’:

1 x 16-17ft folding canoes – i.e. Ally or PakBoat)

4 x Buoyancy Aids/Life Jackets

1 x Ruggedized Laptop – i.e. Panasonic Toughbook™ laptop CF 52 or 53 Performance Model & battery pack or equivalent – needs to be durable, shock-protected, waterproof

1 x GoPro HD2 Hero Camera (sponsoring pending)

Satellite Phone (sponsoring pending)

1 x Adventure Medical Kit – i.e. Life Systems ‘Mountain Leader’

4 x Gerber or Leatherman multi-tools

1 x Lightweight cooking stove – i.e. Kelly Kettle or BioLite CampStove

2 x Two-man tent or 4 x One-man tent – lightweight

4 x Mild weather sleeping bags – lightweight

Ready-made meals – i.e. ‘Expedition Foods’™ or ‘Travel Foods’™

4 x Mosquito hats

2 x ActionPacker™ Cargo Boxes (or equivalent)

4 x Lightweight rain jackets/ponchos (3 men, 1 woman – sizes on request)

2 x Pairs of hiking boots (for tropical climates – sizes on request)

4 x Sets of quick-dry clothing (sizes on request)

Mosquito repellent and factor 30+ sunblock

Overboard™ – ‘The Leaders in Waterproof Bags & Cases’

If anyone can help, in any way, or recommend us to suppliers – to help us check off the remainder of ‘Wish List’ items – we’d greatly appreciate it. Contact: helen.jones@floriophoto.com for full information on product sponsorship.

Please help spread the word: why, where, what and who

Thanks a million

Helen & Florio

P.S. Check out Florio on YouTube, talking about the expedition (click on the image to view the video) – and how individual sponsors can support us, in ‘An Exchange’: exclusive, limited edition, fine art photography prints – from a series of images Florio will take whilst on the journey – for donations.

Please click image to watch the video

31st Aug Deadline: ‘Print Draw’: For just $25/£16 – a chance to win one of Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints

‘Indian Dancer’ The state of Rajasthan © Jason Florio pdf image#5

There is still time to get your name put into the hat before the 31st August deadline for the ‘Print Draw’.

A one-off chance to acquire one of, multi award-winning photographer (and River Gambia Expedition 2012 Co-leader), Jason Florio’s limited edition fine art photography prints for a song!

Angkor Wat, Cambodia © Jason Florio pdf image#4

OK… we don’t exactly expect you to sing us a song – although, any good ones will be greatly received and Vimeo’d! – for as little as $25/£16 we are offering you the chance to win one of a series of 8, 16″x20″ Pre-Expedition 2012 Donation prints 2012 (please click on the link to download the pdf of images) – in exchange for your donation.

Sky Over Texas © Jason Florio – pdf image#7

Here’s how the print draw exchange works:

$25/£16 will get your name put into the hat one time

$100/£65 will get your name put into the hat five times (5 for the price of 4 and a better chance of getting a print!).

The winner will be announced, after the names have been drawn from the hat, on August 31st, 2012 @ 4pm EST/9pm GMT

click on this link: Paypal Instructions – for a step by step guide on how to donate. Or, if you have a paypal account, simply click on the PayPal icon, at the top, in the right hand column of this page.

As an added bonus: the winner will also receive an exclusive 8″x10″ River Gambia Expedition 2012 print, which Jason will take whilst in the journey.

If you don’t want to take a chance then, to guarantee you get a print for your donation, you can always go through the usual donations channels and donate $100/£65 and over (open until 1st October, 2012): ‘An Exchange: donations for fine art prints from the River Gambia Expedition 2012′ Please Note: Anyone who donates $100/£65 and over, before the 31st August, through the usual donations channels, will automatically have their name included in the August 31st ‘print draw’.

‘Caravan, England’ © Jason Florio pdf image#1

Come on, you know it makes sense!

Love, thanks and respect

The Florios x

P.S. FYI: Through the gallery, Florio’s 16×20 fine art photography prints normally retail at $1,200-$1,500/£770-£970

If you want to see how to guarantee you get a print by Jason Florio, in exchange for a donation, please check out Jason on Vimeo (click the image to view):

‘Invest in an expedition, art and travel journalism’ by Fiona Cullinan

‘People like that can be bloody annoying – if they’re not making you green with envy, they’re killing your own stories with their oneupmanship. But it’s fair to say that everyone on that Gambia trip hung on Flo’s tales of adventure.

Five years on and with media budgets slashed, Flo’s freelance travel journalism has, like mine, become increasingly inviable.

But you can’t stop someone with a passion. And, as good reportage costs money, Jason is fundraising for his next expedition in his beloved Gambia by selling fine art prints which he will create along the journey.’ Fiona Cullinan – please check out the rest of her article on her blog ‘Tourist vs Traveller’

It with great thanks to travel writer and journalist, Fiona Cullinan, for not only getting involved in ‘An Exchange’ but also for her blog post on how we are endeavouring to raise funds, in exchange for Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints, for our River Gambia Expedition 2012. She can, especially as a journalist, empathise with how difficult it can be to raise funds for documentary projects.

You can check Florio – our very own multi award-winning photographer and expedition co-leader – out as he talks about what River Gambia Expedition 2012 is all about and how you can get involved – i.e. acquire one of his limited edition fine art photography prints which he will take whilst on the journey (also, check out the ‘Print Draw’ - deadline 31st August – you could win a Florio print for as little as $25/£16!!):

To view the fine art photography we had on offer to donors in our 2009 ‘Exchange’ – for our ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’ expedition – please check this link: ‘Silafando – a gift to you on behalf of my journey’

We hope you too will jump on board!

Thanks again to Fiona. And, thank you all, as always, for taking an interest in the blog and the River Gambia Expedition 2012

The Florios (Helen & Jason ‘Flo’ )