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Test your Skills of Traditional Domestic Work

My Magazine 2023/05
5 min
When you are in the Gambia, you can spend a day with a Gambian family and experience the life of local women in The Gambia.

In the morning, a ride will pick you up at the meeting point in Senegambia, and then drives you to Tanji. Tanji is a town in the Gambia with over 14 000 residents as per the 2013 population census. It is usually referred to as the fishing village because it is one of the main fishing centres of The Gambia. About 60% to 70 % of the people in Tanji work at the fishing centre as fishermen, fishmongers, fish processors, etc. The fishing town provides employment opportunities for many people living there or from other parts of the country.

After reaching Tanji, you will continue your drive off the main road to the small village called Lamsarr, which is 4 km away from Tanji fishing centre. Mandinka is the most spoken language in this area.

You will spend a day with a Gambian family in Lamsarr and learn how to do household chores the Gambian way. Local wrappers, called “rapa” will be given to you to wear since they are the most comfortable piece of clothing to do the household chores because they allow free movement.

By the end of your day, you will try and know how women get water from wells and street taps instead of home taps and how they carry pots on their heads to bring the water home. You will try out washing the dishes in pots. You will also wash clothes by hand or by using the ˝Banku˝ or the hand. You will cook Gambian dishes outside the kitchen with local cooking utensils. You will be ironing clothes with local iron, without electricity. You will be able to try out gardening with simple farming tools in a small family garden. In the end, you will enjoy a delicious local meal; you will help to prepare. But not at the table; you will eat on a local mat with your hand and with the rest of the family members and visitors.

house chores family visit in Tanji

Food sharing is a norm in The Gambia that was passed on by many generations. It brings unity and a strong connection between family members. The family members will eat from the same bowl sharing the meat and other available vegetables with others. When there is only one piece of meat in the bowl, the host or the elder in the group tears it into smaller pieces to ensure everyone gets a bite. This brings about the art of sharing between people.

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