Visiting Barra with Maja & Tanja

On Sunday morning we visited Barra again, poor village of very friendly people, where we are always welcomed with open arms. We arranged to set off at 8 o’clock am. A Slovenian friend came with another friend and we went together to Banjul, the capital of The Gambia. There was not enough space in the car for all, so Tanja and Awa sat in the back of the car. That is something usual in The Gambia. We always go together also in a taxi, no matter how many of us!

When we arrived to Banjul, the ferry just departed. We didn’t feel like waiting, so Ursa suggested to cross the river with local boats. The sun was already then quite strong, so we really wanted to be on the other side soon.
Unfortunately we were the only people who wanted to go with boats, so the prices were very high – even ten times higher than usually. Instead of 150 dalasis they wanted 1500 dalasis. We kindly rejected their offer and went back to the place, where people wait for the ferry. On the way we passed a local market, where people sell all sorts of fruits, bread, clothes etc. Then Musa bought tickets for the ferry, it was 15 dalasis per person (approx. 0,30 €). Before we entered we had to give them our names and address, in case something would happen.

We had to wait one hour for the ferry to come. Before all the people managed to go off the ferry, two local riots started a fight. Even the police had to interfere! After that we could slowly start to go on a ferry. Women with babies, food and other stuff (also on their heads), men with trailers, goats, chicken, donkeys, bikes, motorcycles and cars are something casual here. The road from Barra is leading also to Senegal, that’s why it’s even more crowded.

We were driving already ten minutes when we started to turn around and going back. We were all confused. Then we realised we had to go back to the shore because we forgot one passenger, who had his car on the ferry. Everybody was laughing at the whole situation. After all this circus we finally managed to continue our trip.

After 20 minutes we came to Barra. The exit leads through the local market, where we could buy mango, clothes, shoes, peanuts etc. Soon we came to the home of the Faal family. We sat outside, drank their famous tea attaya and talked.
Then we went around the village, where all the kids were screaming their usual ”toubab, toubab”, which means ”the white man”. The village is very poor, kids dressed in old and dirty clothes, garbage all around. When we came to the river, we saw a lot of little crabs, mangroves and baobab trees, which are one of the most famous trees in all Africa.

It was a very hot day but we accepted their offer to climb on a coconut palm for us. It was amazing to watch a young man climbing quite fast approximately 20 meters high. Then he threw down some coconuts and we could drink a fresh coconut juice and eat them. They were delicious!
Back at the Faal family we ate their local meal called Domoda (rice and chicken with peanut sauce). It was a little spicy but very good. After the meal we had a rest for a bit and than we continued our trip.

When we came to the port and bought tickets we found out that the next ferry arrives in about an hour. We decided to sit down in the middle of the local market and wait for the ferry in the shade. It was interesting as the children were playing around and one young lady was cutting the onions in her hands. After an hour and a half the last ferry for Banjul has finally arrived.

This time the ferry was even more crowded than on our way to Barra so we couldn’t move around. Crowded like the sardines in the can we were heading to the capital of The Gambia. The sea was rough and the waves were high. They were hitting against the ferry and sprinkling the passengers. We were all laughing because now we weren’t just crowded but wet too.

We were all really exhausted and overwhelmed when we finally arrived to Banjul. We sat in our jeep and continued our way. Driving back home we saw a beautiful sunset, which are famous for Africa. That was the end of another unforgettable day in Africa.