Oct 12, 2015 5:00 PM (GMT+1:00)
Our first day off in 3 weeks and we have found a garden oasis full of playful iridescent humming birds in a boutique hotel around the corner from our new home in Brufut.
I have left Isa, our maid and ‘wife’ of the Gambian owner, cleaning out the filthy kitchen cupboards and washing everything in the kitchen drawers. Hopefully, Lamin Jobe, her ‘husband’, once married to an alcoholic English expat (now deceased) will turn up with the promised dongles (for Internet) and fix the ceiling fan switch so I can cook without sweat pouring into my eyes in the infernal heat.
GMT (which is the local time) means Gambia Maybe Time and we experienced that in spades yesterday with Good Market, the first farmers market in The Gambia. Chris and I made the market happen from a standing start (comatose would be more accurate), in one week.
The market was due to start at noon, by which time there were two stalls set up: a Dutch woman running a Norwegian NGO and a 21 year old local egg entrepreneur, about whom I could write much – so impressive. Another Dutch woman who has a highly successful business making beauty products from local ingredients rocked up at 12.30, followed by a traditional healer with medicinal herbs. A fascinating man, from whom Chris has purchased all sorts of green things to make infusions for complaints ranging from high blood pressure to impotence! The women from the National Association of Food Producers allegedly ‘got lost’ and arrived at 2pm. 8 stall holders failed to show, only one of whom made any form of apology: the commonplace and totally irritating ‘unavoidable circumstances’.
Most attendees were the ‘organising committee’ who had organised bugger all, but who turned out as the the media were in force and they could have their moment on TV. The chair put the press briefing in the middle of the market buying area stopping anyone from getting to a stall for over an hour whilst he puffed and huffed for the cameras. I was invited to take part and probably yawned to camera for most of the briefing. At least I was able to say ‘thank you’ to the stall holders who had trusted me and come.
I conducted some research amongst the few consumers, mainly white expats, who were looking for organic fresh fruit and veg. Organic certification does not exist here and it is hard to find farmers who are not using globally banned pesticides. Sadly, the chair of the organising committee had stopped me approaching recommended fresh fruit and veg suppliers saying it is too early in the growing season: which is total bollocks. This morning he phoned, knowing it is our one day off, asking me who I had been recommended as he thinks we need some fresh fruit and veg stalls! This is the man whom I laid into a week ago for doing absolutely nothing with the Swedish funding he had received in April this year for this farmers market and other activities.
The Gambians turned out in force for the (free) Good Market entertainment: due to start at 4pm, actual start time 5.30pm…the performers all had to to be fed (free) before they would start. And this despite the menu being priced for Gambians with a selection of 4 tasty local dishes for £1. The expats who ate could not believe the pricing.
Ah well, we will learn – and get it better sorted for next Sunday hopefully.
We are going bird watching later today – organised for 2.30 GMT, let’s see what time we start!