Becoming a Bojang

20 06 2011

When we first arrived here, our Gambian contact Alpha took us for a drink at one of his old favourite places to stop at. It was a bit overwhelming then when he told our pale-white Canadian faces that they make a mean cow foot there. Now, having morphed into the everyday Gambian I am, we decided it was time to get adventurous and try this local delicacy.

Bon Appetit!

The Skin

The Bone

As you can see, the cow foot came with a potato and soup… which was just about all that was there to eat…according to me, at least. It was more of cow ankle than cow foot; there was a thin layer of meat surrounding the bone and then a nice thick piece of skin outside that. I’m pretty sure that we were supposed to eat the skin, but after trying a few bites, I decided that leaving it half eaten on the plate would be more polite than returning the whole meal on the table. All in all, the soup and potato were great!… As for the foot itself, it’ll take some getting used to.

 Yena, being the networker she is, bumped into an architect from the UK who is working on a project with a company called Earthworks. The company specializes in making structures (mainly dome shaped) out of earth blocks; which are blocks made out of a mixture of local clays, sands and cement. We went to visit one of their sites where they are currently building a theatre with a dome spanning 16m and we got to see how the process works. To make a long story short, they offered us an opportunity to build a 5m spanning dome building in order to test the structural characteristics of the design and to test variations of the earth block mix. After seeing their work at the site, it seems like something we might be interested in doing on the side. Just a simple Lego build… right?

The Dome

 Yesterday we moved out of our luxurious lodge in the city of Fajara and into individual family compounds on the outskirts in a village called Yundum. We were lucky enough to find three neighbouring compounds, so I am still only a stones throw away from both Yena and Dan. With this move, we say goodbye to internet, generators, gas stoves and toilets and say hello to an empty cement room, a pit latrine, bucket showers and eating with a Gambian family (pics comin soon!) The Bojang family greeted me with open arms and despite the fact that the family speaks Mandinka, the weaker of my two recently acquired Gambian tongues; we were able to get acquainted quite quickly. When the eldest daughter (whose name I have already forgotten… ughh) said to me “Hey boy!… Ito doo” meaning, of course “Hey boy! What’s your name” and I responded swifty, as this is one of the few phrases I’m familiar with; “Lamin Sonko”, she replied “Lamin…?”, getting the hint, I then countered with “Oops, Lamin Bojang”. I’m home, mind you I’m still 7,000 km away from home home… but this will do for now.

Thanks for reading,


Ps. If you are traveling to Africa any time soon, I suggest stocking up on travelers cheques. No matter how many times you’ve clarified with your bank that your cards will work over here… chances are they won’t. What would I do without Western Union…




7 responses

20 06 2011

iezzi you rascal!
keep up the good work brotha

20 06 2011

Its about time you start to rough it!!!! ‘Good thing you had a beer to wash down the “foot” with!

21 06 2011

I can’t figure out how to comment on Dan’s blog. It is a good read though and I love the pics of the new accommodations. John continues to scare me with what he is putting in his mouth…..aside from the beer. Looking forward to seeing your new abode. I hope your washroom is nicer than Dan’s.

22 06 2011
Jeff Day

Sounds like fun Mr Bojangos, I can”t be bothered with my little T-bone after seeing your yummy cows foot ! Cheers JT, now start doing a little work !

25 06 2011

Nice digs! Do you share this or is the whole apartment yours? Do you do #1,#2 and possibly #3 in that hole?
Where’s the kitchen?

30 06 2011
John Iezzi

the whole place in mine… im not sure what #3 is, but all bathroom activities are done in the pit. There is no kitchen, the family cooks the meals in their house and i either join them there or they bring it to me.

27 06 2011

Looks delicious john, ill take it to go please

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