Today’s shout out goes to NUUN, UK – ‘You’re Always Active, Your Water Should Be Too’

NUUN H Sila Kounda_MG_3135 copy

NUUN – The River Gambia, Sila Kounda, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio

March 26, 2013 – Today’s shout out goes to NUUN, UK – ‘You’re Always Active, Your Water Should Be Too’

‘Nuun is leading the way in portable hydration with three drink options to keep you refreshed all day, everyday. All three are ideal to help keep you hydrated and to make the most of the water you drink’ – Nuun

BIG thanks to Sarah, Ella and all at Nuun for the hydration tablets and water bottles, for the River Gambia Expedition. They supplied us with three tasty flovours: tri-berry (my favourite), lemon & lime and lime tea, which helped to keep us hydrated throughout our journey – whether we’re trekking in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea or canoeing down the River Gambia in Senegal and The Gambia.

Thanks for your support, NUUN!


More ‘shout outs’ to come, for everyone who backed us with product


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)

Welcome onboard – Pehr Karlsson of Organo Gold

We want to welcome Pehr Karlsson of Organo Gold who has jumped on board as a very generous fiscal sponsor. I met Pehr in May in the beautiful Swedish village of Jät while I was shooting a story on Mid-Summer for the New York Times. I needed to file an image for a Newsweek cover – very urgently and did not expect to find even a slow connection in this sleepy farming village. Pehr said I could use the wifi at his farm house – it is to this day the fastest internet connection I have ever used – the huge file needed for the Newsweek cover blasted down the wire in nano-seconds. Pehr saved the day ! Pehr is a distributor for Organo Gold and travels the globe in the process. Organo Gold produces a line health products including coffee, tea and hot chocolate with ‘Ganoderma’ – a fungus that has been tested for potential therapeutic benefits including :

Check out Organo Gold line Pehr’s contact info is there – I am sure he would be happy to hear from you !

Thank you for stopping by – Florio x

Click on image to support our KS page-Deadline 15th Oct. 2012

Award-winning photographer, Jason Florio: Gallery of limited edition fine art photography prints (B/W & Color) – in exchange for donations to West Africa river expedition

‘Boys playing on boat’ Gambia River, Tendaba, The Gambia, West Africa . Image Jason Florio (B/W)

‘Indian Bride with Henna’ – Jodhpur, India. Image © Jason Florio (B/W)

‘Painted Face’ Gambian girl’s face decorated for ‘coming of age’ ceremony, The Gambia, West Africa. Image © Jason Florio

‘Angkor Wat 2′ – Cambodia. Image © Jason Florio (B/W)

‘Angkor Wat 1′ – Cambodia. Image © Jason Florio

‘Angkor Wat 3′ – Cambodia. Image © Jason Florio (Angkor Wat Images: 1,2,3 – available as a triptych)

More images from award-winning photographer Jason Florio – available from the Black & White Collection

‘Fuchsia Turban’ Ranakpur, India. Image © Jason Florio

‘Sky Over Texas’. Image © Jason Florio

‘On the playa’ Cuba. Image © Jason Florio

‘Sardhu Walking in the Holy City of Pushkar’ India. Image © Jason Florio

‘Pushkar – Sadhu’. Image © Jason Florio

‘Caravan, England’. Image © Jason Florio

More images from award-winning photographer – available from the Colour Collection

The Fundraising 2012 Black & White & Colour Gallery

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

From Guinea-Senegal-The Republic of The Gambia, West Africa

1 River. 2 Borders. 3 Countries.

All of the above limited edition fine art prints, and more (please see website galleries), by Jason Florio are available in ‘An Exchange’: donations from $100/£65, and over, to the River Gambia Expedition will be eligible for a print of their choice. And, once the expedition is over, we will have another gallery of exclusive prints for you to choose from – from a series which Jason will take whilst on the journey – as in the example below of ‘Herouna with his white horse’ (from our 2009 ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush expedition):

For full details, please visit the ‘An Exchange’ page. And, to see why we are doing this, please click here

(*Please note: only donations over $100/£65 will be eligible for the prints)
The more you donate, the bigger the print size will be – please see the following chart for donation amounts ans sizes:

Jason Florio’s Limited Edition, Signed, Prints – in exchange for donations of $100 / £65 +:

Donation Amounts: Print Sizes

$100 USD/ £65 GBP & over – you will get a 8″ x 10″ (gallery price – retails @ $175 / £115)

$250 USD / £160 GBP & over - you will get a 11″ x 14″

(gallery price – retails @ $500 / £325)

$600 USD / £400 GBP & over you will get a 16″ x 20″

(gallery price – retails @ $1,200/ £750)

$900 USD / £600 GBP & over you will get 24″ x 36″

(gallery price – retails @ $1,500 / £970)

$1,500 USD / £970 GBP & over you will get 30″ x 40″

(gallery – normal retail @ $2,500 / £1,700)

‘Herouna and his horse’ The Gambia, West Africa
From the award-winning series of portraits ‘Silafando’- Gambia Expedition 2009. Image © Jason Florio

You don’t have $100/£65 + to spare? That’s all good too…because every penny and cent will help us. OK, it won’t get you one of Jason’s prints but every single person who donates, even with $25 USD/£16 GBP, will have their name, and your company website (if you have one) linked, added to the blogroll list of thanks and all on our other social media sites (such as Twitter & FB).

PLUS, PLUS, PLUS each and every donor, regardless of whether its $25/£16 or $1500/£970, will get the following:

Your 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 when we’re down in West Africa!

One of the expedition team will hold up the banner and a photograph 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 be posted 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).

Something that looks like this: this could be your name/company name on this banner

Image © Helen Jones-Florio: Jason Florio – Karantaba, on the River Gambia, The Gambia – 2009

To donate to the River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey, please go to PayPal (or, if you already have a PayPal account, you can simply click on the PayPal icon right here, to go directly to their website):

1. Sign into your account Or sign up – if you aren’t registered for PayPal you need to register an email address and password – it takes 2 minutes. You will then receive an email from PayPal asking you to confirm your account

2. Once logged in – from ‘my account’ page go to ’send money’ tab on the left of the top tool bar

3. Enter ‘who to’ – the expedition email address – :

4. Enter Amount: scroll down for relevant currency

5. Choose ‘personal’ tab then ‘gift’ then ‘continue’

6. Check amount and then press ’send money’ tab

And that’s it! It takes but a few minutes. All additional, or unused, funds raised over our target amount will be donated to our partner charity – please email for more information on the charity we support.

Thanks a million to those who have very generously donated so far. We are one step further, towards getting those paddles in the River Gambia!

For any questions and queries please email Helen Jones-Florio:

Feel free to sign up for the blog if you would like to receive updates on the expedition (see right hand column ‘Follow us…please’)

Welcome on board and we look forward to bringing you more expedition news again soon!

The Florio’s (Helen & Flo)

Expedition Co-Leaders

If you want a quick ‘whats-it-all-about and how-can-I-help?’ – watch expedition photographer and co-leader: Jason Florio, on Vimeo:

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: 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

The Florios’ Canoe Training – for our West Africa River Gambia Expedition

She’s ready to roll…into the Wey Navigation, Surrey – ’811 16.5′ Ally Folding Canoe’ by Bergans of Norway. Image © Jason Florio

Sunday 9th September 2012:

Betwixt all the full-on River Gambia Expedition pre-planning we also have to squeeze in some time on the water, with our ’811 16.5′ Ally Canoe’ (one of two that we need – we are still working on the funding to get the 2nd ‘An Exchange’). However, this also happens to be the fun part too – something we really do enjoy. Which is rather a good thing, considering we may well be paddling for over 1000km when we get down to West Africa!

Helen takes the bow – The Wey Navigation, Surrey © Jason Florio

We got up early yesterday, packed up sandwiches, fruit and a flask of coffee, strapped our 16.5′ canoe onto the top of the truck, and set off for the Wey Navigation – our main practice playground (when we’re not hanging out with the Surrey Canoe Club gang, or it’s trainers, on the River Thames). We headed for Pyrford Lock to get the Ally into the water – opposite one of our favourite watering holes on the Wey, The Anchor.

‘Keradorong’ on the Wey Navigation

As we paddled along, we had one of those wonderful, serendipitous, moments when we spotted the name of the above long boat. Although the spelling is different (and surely has a totally different meaning), there is a word in the West African Mandinka language, ‘Kaira dorong’ – meaning ‘I am in peace/peace be with you’ – and this is the what we both thought, instantly, in seeing the word, painted on the side of the boat. It then got us musing over what we should call our canoes. Perhaps one of them should be ‘Kaira dorong’…

Florio. Post-Portage. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

Click of the Fujifilm XP GPS (thanks Fulifilm for the support!) to get our co-ordinates © Jason Florio

There was a fair amount of traffic on the Wey yesterday – the weather was glorious so how could there fail to be – but, most of the time, we still felt as if we had the river blissfully to ourselves.

Bridges and Reflections – The Wey Navigation, Surrey. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

We had to portage the canoe through a number of locks, en route – including one where we had to dodge the traffic, across a very busy main road, with the 16.5′ canoe propped on our shoulders!

However, we came to one lock just as a long boat was waiting to pass through. So, instead of portaging, this time we went through with the long boat – hanging onto the the side of it as the water level dropped. Our first lock (see ‘Wobbly Productions’ footage following)

Helen – waiting for the next long boat to come through – this time we’re doing the lock! Image © Jason Florio

click on image to watch

According to our GPS (thanks to Fujifilm for the XP GPS Digital Camera), we’ve made 9km’s – paddling from Pyrford Lock and its time for a coffee break and to catch up with whats going on in the rest of the world. A lazy hour, lounging in the sunshine, reading the Sunday papers, before heading back towards where we set off a few hours earlier.

Time for a coffee break and to read the Sunday papers. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

And we were joined by a curious little, four-legged, miniature something or other (more interested in our sandwiches then us, if the truth be known). If we cut a puppy-dog head-sized hole in the side of our Overboard Waist Pack, we’d could make a fortune back home in Greenwich Village, NYC – selling these as doggy carrying bags!

A perfect fit for H’s Overboard Waist Pack! Image © Helen Jones-Florio

Serenity and the Wey Navigation, Surrey. Image © Jason Florio

Time to head home and get in a little product placement whilst we are at it. Big thanks to Overboard – ‘the leaders in waterproof bags and cases’ for their very generous support for the River Gambia Expedition. We are now totally stocked up on waterproof bags for the journey.

H models her Overboard Waist Pack. Image © Jason Florio

A perfect end to a perfect day. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

A grand day was had…indeed. Cheers!

The Florios

To find out how you can support the River Gambia Expedition and get one of Jason Florio’s limited edition fine art prints in ‘An Exchange’, click on the image below:

Click image to view

BIG Love, Respect and Thanks for the Support and Messages – to everyone who has jumped on board ‘An Exchange’ – for fine art prints

The River Gambia 2012 – Rolling Blog of Thanks

You are all making this expedition possible with your donations and, for that, we are immensely humbled by your support and unprecedented generosity.

We’re very happy that you are on-board with us and we look forward to sharing the journey, via the blog, on the build up to the River Gambia Expedition 2012 proper – i.e. when we actually get the paddles into the river – and onwards. Your support will help us to be able to document – through multiple medias: visual/written/audio – the lives of the indigenous people who live and work on the course of one of Africa’s last big, free-flowing, rivers; over 1000km’s – from 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 and the Atlantic Ocean – the rivers end.

You can watch, and learn, as Jason Florio 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:

Limited edition 2012 expedition prints – coming to all those who have donated $100/£65 and over (once we return from the river). And, we could be holding up a banner, with your name/website on it, on this very island, below, in The Gambia, West Africa, soon!

Find out why we are doing this: ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’ and how to donate ‘An Exchange: donations for fine art prints from the ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012′ by award-winning photographer, Jason Florio

Love, Respect & BIG, HUGE Thanks!

The Florios (Jason & Helen) x

Kunta Kinteh Island (formally James Island), The Gambia, West Africa

Patty & Tim Mack - New Orleans (Captain Patricia Mack – a 9/11 hero. Please click on her name to find out how Florio photographed her during the madness of that fateful day)

Robert ‘Rob’ Jones – Fort Myers, Florida, USA Robert ‘Rob’ Jones – Fort Myers, Florida, USA “Here’s a little help…I will be following your adventure. Be safe doing the good work. Your friend, Bob”

The Cohen’sYaffa, Nachem et al – our Greenwich Village ‘family’, NYC & Israel

Ted SonnierHouston, Texas, USA

Ryan HeffernanPhotographer – Santa Fe & San Francisco, USA “It looks like an incredible journey. Hope it all falls into place.”

Ellen Hunter Mai - Somalia Report – Orange County, California, USA “I’m so excited for you both and quite proud! I wish all the best for a safe and productive expedition”

Somalia Report

Monica Pozzi – global – photography “Following you on all channels and very jealous of your expedition despite the mosquitos. 24 bites simultaneously my record. Take me with you and you won’t get bitten! They always love me wherever I go!”

apozzibility logo

Christy NielsenWashington State, USA – 4th Wall Relief, Burma

Thelma & Sandy Youngson, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK

David Willems - Photographer – New York, USA. “Thanks for the inspiring promise of the expedition’s results; can’t wait to see the photos! I wish I could be there and hopefully I’ll be brave enough to make such an endeavor myself one day”

Gabriella NissenPhotographer – Houston, Texas, USA. “You are welcome for the donation. I hope you both have a successful expedition”

Krista Dills – Atlanta, Georgia, USA “Good luck you two! Be Safe! Can’t wait to read the stories and see the pictures.”

Josh DickPhotographer- Brooklyn, NY, USA“Good luck guys. Safe travels and enjoy. I look forward to following your progress and seeing the work.”

Michael Mut & The LOVE YOURSELF Project – Brooklyn, NYC, USA

Love Yourself Project Logo

Suzy PetersHampstead Village, London, UK. “Can I come?!”

Amanda Hewitt - Woolacombe, N Devon, UK

Karen Russo & CocoGreenwich Village, NYC, USA. “Best wishes on your journey! Can’t wait to see your photographs and read your writing!”

Julie Grahame – aCurator - Brooklyn, NY, USA. “You guys rock!”


Thomas Donley – Photographer - New York, NY, USA. “I wish you and your entire team, very well. Here’s to great adventures!!! I look forward to the updates…Enjoy! Enjoy Enjoy!”

Elizabeth FroemkeNew York, NY, USA ” I’m so excited about the expedition! Such an awesome idea. Will be checking in regularly and wish you both the most wonderful trip!”

Claire & Glenn PottQueensland, AustraliaSounds like you will be having an amazing journey. We look forward to reading all your updates (before, during and after!). Good luck Jason and Helen. Sending lots of Aussie love and well wishes!”

David and Lucie Coke (and Mnr Albert!) – Sloatsburg, NY, USA “To get you on your way you hairy bikers!”

Doris Perez Torres – USA

Rosalind Harris & Stella’s School Sponsorship Scheme- Cheltenham, Gloucester, UK/The Gambia – ‘Best of luck for your amazing adventure!

Jonathan Fine,Freed Pictures, & Diane Blain Fine Photography – New York, USA & The Gambia, West Africa‘Good luck on the incredible journey’

Kristen Wendt – New York, NY, USA ‘Your expeditions are so inspiring and I so enjoy hearing your stories…safe travels to you both. I can’t wait to read more as you guys begin your trip!’

Sari Goodfriend – Photographer – New York, NY, USA

Maggie Soladay -Photographer- New York, NY, USA ‘I was thinking.. whats stopping me. I own too many shoes and no Florios. So done. Can’t wait to see what you two come back with. Sounds so wonderful, and tough, and mysterious, and important. Sincerely Maggie’ + check out Salaam Garage Local

Dimiter Kenarov - Photographer – Istanbul, Turkey ‘Good luck!’

Peter FahrniForward Thinking MuseumNYC, USA

David CicconeTrunk MagazineNYC, USA

Grant CliffordBookMeQuick.comLondon, UK

Jane Coxwell – Chef & Author – New York, USA

Richard Glynn © ‘Wideyed’ - Photography collective - Darlington, UK, Good luck with the rest of the fundraising! A small donation from a fellow photographer”

Devin Friedman & Danielle Pergament – Jounalists – Brooklyn, NY, USA

Ross Morganstein – New York, USA – Good luck guys!

Fiona Cullinan - Journalist – Birmingham, UK“Sounds like a wonderful expedition! Great to see you making it happen, despite the collapse in media budgets! Looking forward to seeing the reports and your new fine art photography collection (from the expedition)”

Imke Oster & Benick Oster – New York, USA - ‘So excited about your trip and experience – I will be sitting in my office vicariously living through you – be careful!’

Linda Levit – New York, USA

Oskar LandiPhotographer – Brooklyn, NY, USA

Michel Delsol – Photographer - NYC, USA - ‘Bon Voyage! Wishing you all the best on your adventures’

Andy NeedhamUNHCRNairobi, Kenya, East Africa.Hi Jason, Helen, stay clear of the crocs! Keep away from things with sharp teeth! All the best, Andy’

Rabart – Bath, UK

Penelope Hartnell – New York, NY, USA

Giorgio Sgobbi – Rome, Italy

Noreen MeehanCrystal Palace, London, UK

Austyn StevensNew York, NY, USA

Matthew Fishbane - Journalist -New York, NY, USA -‘Goodspeed, kids! Now get out there and kick some butt!’

Raymond Jarrell - DJ – New York, NY, USA

Karl and Janna LeBlanc – Rockledge, Florida, USA

Jean-Philippe Minart – Film Maker – (Jawa) - Paris, France ‘We did not took the pirogue (through Niokolo Koba) and made our trip by the road. So bring back the images ! I’m dying to see them ! appreciated’

Susan Levin - Art Director/Producer & Bruce Levin - Photography Management Agency - New York City, NY, USA‘We’ll be following you every step of the way!
All our love. Be safe, enjoy, and holler if you want company!

Stéphanie Carron – Documentary Producer – Paris, France

George and AnnaLee Pauls – Photoduplication Coordinator, Rare Books and Special Collections Princeton University – New Jersey, USA ‘Dear Jason and Helen, This is exciting! I hope that the Mungo Park map from Princeton might get to play some role in your expedition. I wish you the best of luck on the journey and look forward to following your progress!

Annie & Ken Godin – Montreal, Canada – ‘Hi guys! Ken and Annie from Montreal (friends of David and Lucie… :) ) wish you both all the best on this amazing journey. We are looking forward to seeing all these fabulous (we are sure they will be) photographs! Hope we can catch a drink at the Ear Inn next time we’re in NY! :) Bon voyage! Annie and Ken XXX’

Scott Overholser – Photographer – New York, NY, USA

Robert Goldstein – Photographer – Camden, London, UK‘All The Best’-Robert

Teru Kuwayama - Photographer – New York City, NY, USA

Keith Devisser and Partners – Accountants – New York City, NY, USA

Michael Mallinson – Toronto, Canada

P.S. We’ll be updating this as and when. Please let us have any links – i.e. to websites, blogs, FB, Twitter – that you wish to link you name with.

Vimeo – Award-winning photographer Jason Florio talks about the River Gambia Expedition 2012 and ‘An Exchange’ for his fine art prints

To view the above Vimeo footage, please click on the above image. And, to check out the whys and wherefores about our River Gambia Expedition 2012, please click here

OK…now its time for our BIG push on the fundraising front. We’re not going to beat about the bush, or be too proud here (we can’t afford to be, for starters). We’ve raised around 25% of what we need to get this expedition fully off the ground – or to get our paddles in the River Gambia, to begin our ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’. But here’s the skinny on what we still need to raise: $9,000 / £7,500 – by the end of September – as in 2012 September! Crikey!

Firstly though, and very importantly, we’ve been overwhelmed, and humbled, by the response we’ve had so far to our ‘An Exchange’ programme – from friends, family and colleagues alike. Florio’s fine art photography prints, from images he will take on the expedition (for donations of $100/£65 and over), will be winging their way to them once we return from the journey. We’ve also had some incredible product sponsorship, which helps to cut back considerably on what we originally had to raise. We’re extremely grateful for this support too.

Here is an example of one of Florio’s delectable fine art prints that we offered to our donators from our last expedition, ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’ in 2009 – ‘Herouna with his white horse’ which was also one of the favourite images that people chose, from what became an award-winning series of portraits of Gambian chiefs and elders.

Herouna with his white horse, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 2009

Florio and I will be covering our own expenses for the expedition, but what we really need help with are the on-the-ground hard cash expenses needed for operating a project such as this, down in West Africa – which Florio explains rather succinctly on the above Vimeo footage. But, to give you a quick run down, any monies raised will be used to pay our two Gambian team mates, Abdou and Ebou, for 2-3 months (they also both have extended family to support whilst they are on the journey with us); Guinea and Senegal guides/fixers; medical supply kits, emergency get-out contingency plans (which, hopefully we won’t need, but…)…the list goes on. But, to get on the River Gambia, we need your help.

Dusk – Fisherman in the River Gambia © Jason Florio 2009. A rare, much-needed, and blissful, break from our 930km walk around The Gambia.

As mentioned, we’ve have some great product sponsors on board already but… if any of you have any connections with camping gear, hiking boot etc. (please see our full wish list on the ‘An Exchange’ page) manufacturers, we’d be ever so grateful if you would share this post and/or the blog link.

If you don’t have the spare resources to exchange for one of Florio’s a fine art prints, then no problem (however, there is still time to enter the Aug 31st ‘Print Draw’ - donations of $25/£16 gives you the chance to win one of his prints)…we are more than happy to have you on board, following our journey on here, the blog, and our FB page. You can also contribute by spreading the word about the River Gambia Expedition 2012 with your friends. Please. We’d appreciate that very much indeed.

And, for those who wish to become involved in ‘An Exchange’, again, please check out the Vimeo footage and/or click on this link for all the information that you need to donate through Paypal – or, if you’ve gotten this far and have already decided to jump on board with us (thanks for the faith in what we’re planning), simply click on the Paypal icon in the right hand column of this page, which will take you directly to the PayPal website.

With thanks, gratitude and eternal hope!

Helen & Florio (The Florios)

P.S. Just another little taster of the sublime quality of the fine art photography which Florio produces, when he is behind his camera – prints of similar beauty could belong to you, from this forthcoming expedition

Gambian woman waiting for the ferry to cross the River Gambia in Karantaba, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 2009

‘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’ )

The ’811 16.5′ Ally Folding Canoe, made by Bergans of Norway, is out of the box…and the cardboard box continues to have its uses

The Ally is out of the box – as modelled by Florio – Expedition photographer and co-leader. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

And the empty box has it’s uses…as modelled by Jacob. Image © Jason Florio

If you would like to find out how you can help us get the 2nd canoe that we need for our Gambian team mates, Abdou and Ebou, for the ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’ please check out expedition photographer and co-leader, Jason Florio, on Vimeo…he explains all.

Footage of the Ally being assembled coming shortly!

Thanks for popping by.


The Florios

P.S. Thanks again to Tony, Tamarack Outdoors, for facilitating the deal with Bergans of Norway for the canoe.