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Gambian resourcefulness

My Magazine 2022/09
6 min
When it comes to challenging situations, Gambians are very resourceful in bringing temporary or economic solutions during scarcity or inconvenience. You might find some of these hacks useful during your stay in The Gambia or get an interesting insight into the lifestyle of many through it.


Two pin socket

When you travel to The Gambia, you will notice that most places have 3-pin sockets. Instead of buying an adapter to fit your charger, you only need a dry wood that fits in the top hole and plug your 2-pin charger in the other two.



Rice is a staple food in The Gambia, and it is usually prepared in large quantities where a pressure cooker would really come in handy. But there are other kitchen utensils used to steam and cook the rice. The colander is placed on the big cooking pot, and a cloth band is tied around the open spaces between the colander and the pot to ensure steam from the boiling water in the pot can pass through the holes of the colander only and make the process of cooking faster.


Hanging clothes

Many housewives are now adapting to buying pins to clip their clothes on the drying line. Several people still use the old method of hanging clothes to dry. If you don't have a clip, you can simply tie the smaller clothes, which can be blown away with the wind, to the line or hang heavy clothes over small laundry pieces.


Broken Slippers

When running your errands on foot, you might break your flop-flops, a widespread type of footwear in The Gambia. Now, you might be far from home to go back and change shoes. A temporary solution is to find a cloth or rope, make a loop, pass it through the hole of the slipper, and make a knot on the other side, fixing the Y strap to the flat sole. When you are back home, you can use a knife and place it on the fire until it is very hot, then attach the tip of the slipper back using the knife to melt and connect. If you lose the tip of the slipper strap, use a plastic material, cut out a tip, and stick it together using the hot knife. Using this hack, we can wear slippers for longer periods.


Eating with hands

Before spoons came to Africa, people ate with their hands, and until now, many still do. Some describe it as the most satisfying way of enjoying food. To eat with your hands, make use of your fingers. Put the four fingers together and grab a portion of rice, then press it together and take it from the bowl, still keeping your fingers together and eat. You shouldn't eat the whole portion of food in your hands at once. You can take half of the bite and then another half. Some squeeze the rice in their hands to make a ball before eating it.


Automatic closing of the gates

Almost every compound or family home in The Gambia has a fence with a heavy iron gate. People are often coming in and forgetting to close the door behind them. Instead of an automatic door closer, many use a simple hack that provides the same result. Find a heavy thing, e.g. a bottle/gallon full of sand/water or rock and tie it to the fence, dropping it to the middle of the gate on the inside. The weight, in combination with the rope, will automatically close the gate.

This article is sponsored by APS International

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