The Gambia at a glance

Here’s a little overview of my second favorite country in the world! 😉

gambia-map

Location: The Gambia is located in West Africa. The country is bordered by Senegal on all sides except for its short Atlantic coastline.

Size: 11 300km2 (The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa!)

Population: 1.9 million

Capital: Banjul (population: 32 000)

Official Language: English

Local Languages: Wolof, Mandinka, Jola and Fula (which are also African tribes)

Religion: 90% Muslim, 10% Christian

Currency: Dalasis (1$ Canadian = 30 Dalasis)

Climate: Tropical with two seasons: Dry (November to May) and Rainy (June to October)

National Motto: Progress, Peace and Prosperity

Local dish: Benachin (one pot dish made with spicy risotto, meat/fish and vegetables, usually shared within a group), Domoda (stew made with peanut sauce), Superkanja (spicy fish soup) and Tapalapa for breakfast (fresh baguette served with black-eyed beans paste, eggs or chocolate spread).

Local drink: Baobab (my all-time favorite!), Wanjo (made with hibiscus flowers) and Ginger juice. Everyday you can also see locals (mostly men) sitting and chatting while preparing a green tea called attaya, which is full of caffeine and sugar (the brewing process takes about an hour).

Interesting facts

-The Gambia’s economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and especially tourism (it’s a beautiful traveling destination my friends!).

-Almost 600 bird species have been recorded in The Gambia. It is a very popular destination for bird-watching.

-The River Gambia, the nation’s namesake, flows across the country, separating the country in two; the South Bank (where I ran the Love4Gambia run) and the North Bank (which is not very populated).

– Babies are named on the 7th day following their birth. The parents organise a ‘Naming Ceremony’ where every family members and friends are invited for a day-long celebration. The name of the baby is revealed during the day.

-A few days ago, the President Yahya Jammeh, who has been in power for 19 years now (!), has banned female genital mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia, saying it is not required in Islam. According to Unicef, 3/4 of women in the mostly Muslim countries have had the procedure. One more step towards gender quality for The Gambia!

-Friday is most important day of the week in the Muslim religion (similar to our Sunday). Everyone dresses with their finest and most colorful clothes. It is beautiful to watch! At 2pm, the whole city becomes quiet. All shops, restaurants and public services are closed for the Friday Prayer Service. Most of the men and some women will go to the Mosque, but wherever they are, every Muslim is praying at that specific time. All you can hear is the Islamic prayers sang by the Muezzin from the loudspeakers of the Mosque…

-The last Saturday of every month (from 9am to 1pm) is a public programme called Operation Clean the Nation designed to keep streets and public areas free of litter and organic waste. All public services are closed for the morning and citizens are invited to clean their private compound and/or neighbourhood… but unfortunately for some it is simply a pretext to take a morning off work or to sleep in!

-Even with the major Ebola outbreak in Western Africa, The Gambia has no confirmed case of the virus. Thanks to all the prevention programs across the country (including the NSGA)! #EbolaFreeGambia

-The Muslim men are allowed to have up to four wives…

 

2 thoughts on “The Gambia at a glance

  1. Pingback: The Gambia at a glance | peter singhatey

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