The Gambia: Transcriptions of interviews

It’s very interesting to relisten the interviews for transcriptions, but it takes a lot of time. In my room, there is no fan working or any air condition, so it gets really hot in the daytime. I don’t have a proper working space or comfortable chair to use where I am living, and it often happens that I am without electricity for a while. However, this being a temporary issue and not something I will have to cope with at home in my everyday life, so I will get by and manage. When I am sitting here in my room or outside writing and reading, the other tenants in the compound often stop by to have a talk and socialize. It feels very nice and heartwarming. Like today, I was told by one of the young girls in the house, that if I had problems or was feeling sick, she could recommend me to see a Marabout. This is a kind of medicine woman that can spell your future and also give some good advice. When I asked the girl why she believes so strongly in this, she replied that it was obvious, because this woman can read it in your hand and she throws a bunch of herbs on the ground to see a certain pattern.

The darkness arrives very suddenly in the evening. It is so dark and no streetlights at all outside. I always bring my flashlight because there are many holes in the ground and street dogs are lying everywhere. The cars are in a very bad condition, some even broken without windows or doors. At times you have to jump quickly a side as they are passing by very fast. You see old lorries from the 60’s and wagons pulled by donkeys, crowded pick-ups and at rare occasions some brave bike riders. Poor kids come running with plastic bags between the cars to sell their goods to the taxi drivers. It looks very dangerous. It’s not unusual to see goats or cows crossing the road. The drivers have great skills to manage this kind of traffic and how to avoid getting stuck in the sand. They are often very patient and try to help each other if one gets stuck.

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