Si-Kunda is a village located 200km from the coast and tourist areas. There is just one road up country from the coast on the south side of the river, most of it unmade as far as Soma, which is the nearest town to Si-Kunda.
To reach the village which is several miles from Soma, you travel across some mudflats and then along a track through the undergrowth.
You do not actually see the village until you are almost there. During the rainy season it can become difficult travelling there as the land floods, or at the very least becomes extremely muddy.
The village comprises of many ‘compounds’ each occupied by a family and their extended families. The men can have up to four wives so usually have many children. A compound is a collection of a few huts, either round with a thatched roof, or rectangular with a corrugated iron roof. The cooking is communal, the women sharing the cooking in a large pot on an open fire.
In the village the diet is mainly rice, coos, groundnuts, maize, and sometimes some pumpkin, onion, bitter tomato and spices – red pepper usually.These are all grown in fields surrounding the village or bought from the local markets. Sometimes some dried fish (bonga fish) may be added.
There are no modern amenities in the village, and water has to be collected from the wells.
There is not a large variety of animal wildlife in the area, mainly some very large lizards, monkeys and snakes, but there is a wonderful variety of birds and butterflies.
Although life is very hard, the people are very friendly. Nothing is too much trouble, and although they have very little they will share what they have. Wherever you walk there is always someone to greet you and make you feel welcome.
There is a kindergarten in the village at which children of up to the age of about seven years attend, coming from the village itself and surrounding areas. Then if their families can afford it the children go on to Toniataba Lower Basic School in the next village.
The village has a very keen football team, and they always have a match when we visit which is a great social event.
About The Gambia
The Gambia is situated on the West coast of Africa, bordering the North Atlantic ocean and Senegal. It is one of the smallest countries in Africa, being at its widest just 30 miles, and 400 miles in length. A narrow mostly flat strip of land on either side of the River Gambia which runs the whole length of the country. There are about 25 miles of sandy beaches along its’ coastline, and is six hours flying time from London, to the one and only airport, Yundum Airport near the capital of Banjul.