Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Easter celebrations

Easter in the Gambia is a much bigger celebration than in the UK, although it is a Muslim country. On Good Friday it's traditional to make 'nanimburo', a special drink made from milk, sugar, condensed milk, baobab powder, dried fruit and chopped apples and bananas. Apples are a real delicacy here, as they have to be imported, so people don't have them very often. The drink is delicious, and everyone makes as much as possible so it can be shared with family and friends. We gave some out to our neighbours, and Numo cycled to Lamin's mum in Marakissa to take some to her. When people visited, they often brought their own nanimburo in plastic bags, so we got through quite a lot over the weekend!

Because we have no fridge or freezer here, we had to buy the chicken for Easter lunch on the day. Again, chicken is a real treat, and we planned to have a BBQ and salad, as well as cooking some of the chicken with sauce. It gets very hot in Brikama, so we wanted to get there early, so we left just after 7:00 am. We drove to Gunjur, and then waited for the gelli-gelli to Brikama, which took a while as the police have started to impound vehicles where the road tax isn't paid. Officially everyone is supposed to renew their road tax on January 1st, but in practice we have to wait for an official announcement on the radio, and then most people leave it until the police start impounding vehicles (at the end of March!). Quite a lot of gelli-gelli drivers were keeping their vehicles off the road until they could afford to get them taxed, so transport was very limited.

However, eventually we got to Brikama, and whizzed around the market as quickly as possible (not easy, as it was very crowded), and got everything we needed in record time. By 9:30am we were already heading home. Once we got back, Saffie and Rose (Lamin's sister), got to work preparing the chicken, which Lamin then barbecued.

All the ingredients for a perfect salad
Saffie and Rose preparing the chicken

Lamin in charge of the BBQ!

The children enjoying drawing and colouring.

Neighbours and friends came to visit, including Yusufa who kept us all supplied with green tea, and Lamin's brother Sulieman brought palm wine.

Relaxing in the shade.

Our next-door neighbour 

Yusufa brewing ataya (green tea)

My own personal cup of palm wine.

Lamin with his brothers.

Pouring the palm wine!

We had the most delicious lunch of salad and chicken. There were so many of us we had to have several bowls, and the children even had their own.

Saffie and Rose serving out Easter lunch.

What a beautiful salad (and it tasted great too!)

The men eating lunch.

And not forgetting the children...
Even the chickens had their share!

And after lunch we relaxed in the shade and chatted (and some had a quick snooze!). We were visited by a British woman, a paediatric nurse, who has just arrived in the Gambia to work at the local clinic. Lamin has rigged up the CD player to run from a solar panel, so we had music to entertain us.

Saffie, taking a rare and well-earned rest!

And Rose settling down for a snooze.

Music was supplied by the CD player..

Linked to a solar panel.

Later, after dinner (more chicken and salad), we went down into Kartong, which is a border village by the river a few miles down the road.  There we had a few drinks at a friend's bar, and then went on to a dance in the church hall, where we were entertained local dancers and musicians.

All in all, it was a lovely relaxing day, when we were able to see lots of friends and family and celebrate together.