The Gambia’s Nuts



When I was looking for land in the Gambia, I found a plot for sale that was full of cashew trees. I decided to keep on looking, because I wanted to build and didn’t want to cut trees. I did discover some things about cashews: one cashew fruit grows just one cashew in the little kidney-shaped pod underneath, see the picture below. Might explain why they’re much more expensive than many other nuts, for example groundnuts, also a Gambian product. Salted, packed in little bags, they are sold as snacks just about everywhere. What I didn’t know, is that you can eat the fruit too. It’s soft and smells and tastes a little perfumed.  And: the pulp is also being used to make cashew liquor. I didn’t have a taste yet, but I’m planning to…




Wildlife in the Gambia

Riddle: what do insects have to do with an iron ? 

There aren’t many dangerous animals in the Gambia: crocodiles (in the river), hyena’s (in the bush), hippo’s, some snakes (also in the bush and most of them not poisonous)  and that’s it. You’re much more likely to suffer from worms, for example, and insects like mosquitoes that spread malaria. And then, there’s the mango fly. A mango fly (picture not mine) plants eggs in sand and even in the seams of your laundry hanging out to dry. This way, little worms can enter your skin, grow there, while eating your flesh, and when they’re fully grown they crawl out. Altogether that’s a really painful experience. I’ve seen pets and people suffer from it.  That’s a reason why Gambians always iron everything, even their jeans. I promise never to make fun of it again… Want to have a horror? Google “mango fly” and you’ll find some really grewsome movie clips. ..

Nature’s taking over

My land is really fertile, as it shows:

Take a look 3 pictures below: that one I took some 8 weeks ago… The season’s really changed. Time to clear the land from weeds, before they take over the whole house. And my fruit trees.. I’ve even got a “strangler vine” wrapping itself around a tree here. It’s a parasite, although it looks beautiful and might even look symbiotic with the tree. It will slowly, but charmingly, suck the tree dry, though. If you remove it from this one, it will easily find another tree. Time to get it out! To the roots this time..


View from the top

On top of the power problem, there’s a computer virus going around in the Gambia: something that makes shortcuts out of folders, so you can’t open them, although everything is still inside. I lost all my Star Trek series   on a hard disc that way once.. It’s just cruel! My contact in the Gambia has tried to send pictures and movie clips for two hours yesterday and nothing came through beacuse of this nasty infection.  
Hope to post something new soon.
In the meantime: I bet these ones are not aware of anything like these petty people problems: they just sit there and overlook everything calmly. Like I wish I could right now….I’m not a bird watcher, but I believe this bird is a southern masked weaver. The other spectator, I believe, is a Gambian version of a squirrel. 

Medicinal Trees

My neighbour Musa, a beekeeper, knows a lot about nature. Walking through the garden, he shows me what grows here and what its nutritional and medicinal values are. This tree (right) is a Dembo Tree. If you cut the bark and cook it in some water, it is a cure for diarrhea, as he told me. I am also very fortunate to have a Santang Tree (left). It was there all along! Its sap gives “churail”, the best natural incense, to my opinion. It smells wonderfull and is used for special times, mainly in bedrooms…. Anybody know how to spell “churail”, btw? Google says this spelling means “female ghost, spirit, jinn”, a very scary one with red eyes…I wonder if it has anything to do with it?