African Links

Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Kujabi on their recent marriage.  Following a three week delay, Mikael finally tied the knot on Sunday 31st July.  In Africa, the bride’s family have the power over the date they will allow their daughters to marry.  The original date of 17th July was postponed as the bride’s family didn’t feel that the day favoured them.  This went on for a further two weeks and only added to the anticipation and nervousness, being only natural, for Mikael.

We are hoping that very soon we will be hearing the news of the patter of tiny feet, so watch this space.

In the meantime, temperatures are slowly starting to climb with an average maximum of 31°C. Humidity remains high with short showers interspersing the sunshine and the sea water is beautifully warm. During the past couple of months, whilst its been the rainy season the villagers have been actively cleaning the streets to ensure the removal of waste that litter the environment, and ensuring that children stay indoors when it is raining. During the rainy period, there are fewer calories around (these are known as the Hungry Months) but, thanks to the rain, there are a lot more leafy green vegetables to eat.

As the dry season is now approaching the Gambia people will have plenty of couscous and rice to eat, and these grains form the major part of their diet.

There are many taboos and superstitions in Gambia, here are a few we’ve picked out:-

  • If a person dreams of raw fish or a snake, it is a sure sign of pregnancy
  • It is taboo to sell items like soap, needles and charcoal at night and it is also forbidden to whistle after dark as all these things bring bad luck
  • Gambians living in rural areas regard owls with superstitious dread, believing they are transformed local wizards and witches.
    Mikael is preparing to leave the village over the course of the next few weeks to go back into the tourist areas and all being well he can start up the juice bar business again.  His wife, Mariama will stay in the village and look after his Mother and Mikael’s younger siblings.  Even though this is the time that Mikael can make some money, it still is not enough to both feed, clothe and keep a roof over his and his family’s heads.  Mikael has to rent a room in the tourist resorts, which don’t come cheap, as well as buying essentials like rice for him and his family.
Mikael and his Wife
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