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I hope I'm the right Scott Jorgensen that you are looking for.  

The professions and identities of some of my more illustrious namesakes include Scott Jorgensen the flyweight UFC fighter, Scott Jorgensen the podiatrist, and, more locally, there are two other Scott Jorgensen individuals in the Greater San Francisco Bay Aea, according to LinkedIN.

Well, if you read that whole paragraph, I bet that you know by now whether or not I am the Scott Jorgensen that you are looking for.

About the Gambia (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Republic of The Gambia, commonly known as The Gambia, or Gambia, is a country in Western Africa. The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, bordered to the north, east, and south by Senegal, with a small coast on the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

Its borders roughly correspond to the path of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the country's centre and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its size is almost 10,500 km² with an estimated population of 1,700,000.

On 18 February 1965, The Gambia was granted independence from the United Kingdom and joined The Commonwealth. Banjul is The Gambia's capital, but the largest conurbation is Serekunda.

The Gambia shares historical roots with many other west African nations in the slave trade, which was key to the maintenance of a colony on the Gambia river, first by the Portuguese and later by the British. Since gaining independence in 1965, the Gambia has enjoyed relative stability, with the exception of a brief period of military rule in 1994.

An agriculturally rich country, its economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. About a third of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Some things I like in Gambia

I'm going to let the photos do most of the talking here.

The veggie vendors on the road outside of the market in Farafenni.  I like all the little piles.

This is the initial entrance to the market.  On a busy day you need to seriously push to make it through.

This man is one of the Kola Nut sellers.  He makes people happy all day everyday....except for that day when he announced price increases on the kola nuts...

PC Gambia at the West African International Softball Tournament in Dakar.  I'm in a blue headscarf here.  We are very strong.

Preharvest pigeon peas in my backyard.  Agave sisalana in pots on the floor.  Home sweet home.

My plant baby, my moringa tree, age 9 or 10 months.  Now it is making fruit!  And then i am going to eat it!

My post harvest pigeon pea trees.  Look!  I found basil underneath them.  I had missed walking that little section of path for like 3 months.

This is Omar's Lunch Shack.  The man makes a mean domada and loves Peace Corps Volunteers.  I try to visit him every time I come to the urban area.  I currently owe this guy 10 dalasi.

Carlos sitting on the stoop.  He's grown out of being a little ball of fluff, but is still pretty cute.  He knows how to turn on the charm when he smells cooking fish.

Vacation in Dakar includes legit chicken fajitas.  Legit chicken fajitas.  Vacation!

Dakar is wonderfully covered in spray paint.  I kept driving by this one, lambasting myself for never coming back on foot, until i just had to snap whatever i could get.  Banjul doesn't have this...

Homegrown in Wallalan. All the mangoes are flowering right now in the country.  It's gorgeous and fragrant here.  When seen from far away...they look smokeable.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oh, no title

Today is the close of January 19, 2012.  I have now been in the Gambia for over a year (our plane touched down on January 6, 2012), and given the way that time flies here, I will soon have been a year at site, actually doing Peace Corps Volunteer work, come March.

In this last week I traveled to Dakar, Senegal with about 30 Gambia volunteers to compete in the yearly West African International Softball Tournament (WAIST).  PC Gambia had two teams competing in the Social League and i played on the B team.  In this tournament were teams from local high schools, a number of teams from Peace Corps Senegal, a marines team, university staff teams and U.S. Embassy staff teams.  There were 20 teams in our social league.

I took time to enjoy my vacation.  It was the first time that I had ever been outside of the Gambia since coming here a year ago.  I strolled around the shoreline, a mall, took lots of cabs, ate as much ice cream as I could at a legendary spot called N'Ice Cream, drank sometimes in excess, and played softball.  This was a vacation after all.  It was very nice to have the anonymity of a city person again.  I felt like a strange tourist because I was also a peace corps volunteer and could almost comprehend enough to have conversations with people in Wollof.  I met a few Fula cab drivers of food sellers, but the majority of people spoke French and Wollof.  It was nice to have that anonymity, that ability to garble out where i wanted to go in a cab, settle on a price, and then enjoy the ride in silence.  In upcountry Gambia where i spend most of my time, I don't have that option.

What I liked about this trip is that it feels good to come back to Gambia.  This familiar ground along a river feels like home.  I haven't yet set foot in my hut (I will travel back tomorrow) but I like to think that this enjoyment and appreciation for coming home will  last for a little while.