Archive: the Muslim celebration of Tobaski, The Gambia, West Africa

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‘Dinner’ – goat getting fattened up for the ritual slaughter, Kartong village, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

We’re researching our archives for our forthcoming book about the River Gambia Expedition and came across this, from a blog post early on into the journey – in fact, it was taken not long after we arrived in West Africa, pre-planning for the expedition.
It was taken during on the day of the annual Muslim celebration, Tobaski (or Eid al Adha)- a huge celebration, whereby thousands of goats, sheep (and cows, if the family/community can afford it) are ritually slaughtered.

For an update about the journey (as of today) please check out our blog post here

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

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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.

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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.

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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 an 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

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

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

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The River Gambia Expedition team-Fouta Djallon Highlands

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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Vignette: life on the River Gambia Expedition

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

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

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

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

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

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Bonto, River Gambia, The Gambia © Jason Florio

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

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Night hawkers, Gouloumbou, Senegal © Jason Florio

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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© 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

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

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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.

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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

 

Foto Care, NYC – a successful night! ‘River Gambia’ slideshow and discussion with Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

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Migrant rice field workers, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

We presented a slideshow of images, and discussion, from the River Gambia Expedition last night at Foto Care, in New York, to a packed house – ‘standing room only’ as Foto Care wrote on twitter last night. It was a little daunting to have so many well-respected peers present but we did have the rather wonderful Stella Kramer as moderator. She really kept things moving along. Huge thanks to her for keeping us from rambling on…and on!

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‘The Flos in full flow’ – Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio – Foto Care, NYC. Thanks to Julie Grahame / aCurator for the image!

To see more of the images from Jason Florio’s ‘River Gambia’ series, please visit the website floriophoto.com

More updates on the journey to come very soon

The Florios (H & Flo)

Trunk Magazine receive SPD silver medal award: Jason Florio’s portrait series of Gambian chiefs and elders

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NEWS:

The Society of Publication Designers just awarded Trunk Magazine on three different categories – one of which, we are very proud to say, was a Silver Medal for Jason Florio’s portraits of Gambian village chiefs and elders (‘Silafando‘); which were taken whilst on our 2009 expedition – ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey’

NYC slideshow and discussionTuesday May 14th (tomorrow!) 6.30-8pm – at Foto Care :  Jason Florio, Helen Jones Florio will present a slideshow of images from their most recent expedition – ‘River Gambia Expedition-1000km source-sea African odyssey‘ – with questions from Stella Kramerfurther details can be found here

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

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© 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

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‘The Twins’ (Ally 811 canoes) become ‘The Ally Cat’ – River Gambia, Senegal, West Africa

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‘The Twins’ are in the River Gambia!. Image by Henk Eshuis L-R: Florio, helen, Abdou, Ebou and Yousef – The day we got the canoes into the water in Kedougou, Senegal

‘The Twins’ become ‘The Ally Cat’

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‘The Ally Cat’, River Gambia at Gulumbu, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio

December 27th, 2012 – Njuen-Gulumbu-Genoto, Senegal – Distance paddled to-date: 245.41km

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Florio at work: People we meet along the river bank – fisherman repairing his nets, River Gambia, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

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The cattle come to water and a fisherman repairs his nets on the banks of the River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

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Helen, Ebou & Abdou – passing a potential hippo beach © Jason Florio

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Watching me, watching you, watching me…curious baboons, Senegal © Jason Florio

The conversion of ‘The Twins’ begins – Gulumbu, Senegal

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Florio: “is this going to work?” converting the Ally 811 canoes, Gouloumbou, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

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Ebou fixes the fame work for the sail – Gouloumbou, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

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Test run for ‘The Ally Cat’ – River Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

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Night hawkers – Gouloumbou bus depot, Trans Gambia Highway, Senegal © Jason Florio

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Night hawkers – Gouloumbou bus depot, Trans Gambia Highway,  Senegal © Jason Florio

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Woman silhouetted by the fire, Gouloumbou, Senegal © Jason Florio

And we’re off! Helen films the inaugural voyage of ‘The Ally Cat’

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So far so good! Helen films ‘The Ally Cat’s’ inaugural voyage © Jason Florio

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Pit stop – River Gambia, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio

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Florio records the sights and sounds along the River Gambia, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

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Meeting more people along the way – local ferry man, River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

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Camping in Genoto, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

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The watchman brings us a gift (Silfando) of groundnuts,  Genoto, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

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Next morning – back on the river, Genoto, Senegal © Jason Florio

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The watchman comes to bid us ‘au revoir’ , Genoto, Senegal © Jason Florio

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Florio at work: Ferry boy, River Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

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Ferry boy on the River Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

More river photo stories to come soon…as our River Gambia Expedition continues into 2013

Thanks as always for stopping by

The Florios

Next up: crossing the ‘border’ into The Gambia – without even realising it!

P.S. if you are in NYC next Tuesday 14th May, we are presenting a slideshow of our River Gambia journey at Foto Care. Please click on this link for all the details

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Boy with his pet monkey – River Gambia, West Africa – new images by Jason Florio

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Musa Djallow with his pet Patas red monkey. The mother had been hunted and killed for bush meat and Musa rescued the orphaned baby © Jason Florio

Random photo of the day: Musa Djallow with his pet monkey on the banks of the River Gambia, Fata Kunda, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Please visit the website for more images from Jason Florio’s new series – ‘River Gambia’ – floriophoto.com

Coming up next on the blog – the River Gambia Expedition journey continues…making our two Ally 811 canoes – ‘The Twins’ – into the ‘Ally Cat’

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Helen & Florio – River Gambia, Gambia, West Africa – ‘The Twins’ become the ‘Ally Cat’

We loved using the Ally 811 Canoes – BIG thanks to all at Tamarack Outdoors, UK, for getting us a great deal on them.

 

Photography by Jason Florio: Oyster collectors, River Gambia, The Gambia, West Africa

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Random photo of the day - Female migrants from Guinea Bissau work along the shores of a tributary of River Gambia, in The Gambia, collecting oysters that hang from the mangroves. – Image © Jason Florio

From the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source-sea African odyssey’