Gambian Life in a little village called Jorem

Gambian family life in the village of Jorem, The Gambia

Gambian family in the village of Jorem

In April 2010 I was a guest of the Best Man at one of my client’s wedding in The Gambia.  These pictures were taken on my second visit to The Gambia in April 2012 when I again visited the Gambian Groom’s family in their village.

Muslim families often live together like this and having two wives, as the grandfather has here,  is a common practice. They lead a very simple life, full of love and huge daily struggles.  They have to grew their own food, which consists almost entirely of rice and peanut curry. I bought them a fishing net on my first visit, but that didn’t last long so had to be replaced again on this trip too, and no doubt will again have fallen apart by now.

The river supplies them with salt too which is painstakingly collected as dry slabs of salt encrusted sand, then when enough has been gathered up is piled into baskets and carried on their heads across the hot sand to their house a couple of kilometres away.  It is subsequently washed and boiled to release the pure salt.


Gambian people and places

encrusted salt by the river in the Gambia


dried salt by the river bed in The Gambia

Dried salt by the river bed in The Gambia

Life in the Gambia

Gambian boys and a dog enjoying the river

Gambian children

Peaceful existence as the children take time out to play in the river

Every grain of rice is winnowed by hand then pounded with a stick similar to a baseball bat. I have videoed that so will find the clips and add them here later.

Gambian girl pounding the uncooked rice to remove the inner husk

Fatou pounding rice at their family home in the village of Jorem in the Gambia.



traditional crafts and food preparation in The Gambia

Gambian girl pounding home grown rice in the village where she lives with her grandparents

Cute Gambian child drinking water

Child drinking water from a black and yellow striped plastic kettle

There is no tap water, so water has to be drawn from underground, either by simple buckets from traditional wells,  which are lowered down on rope, or knotted rags and a rusty old petrol can full of holes – or via foreign-aid-funded pumps.

pumps at the end of the village of Jorem in The Gambia

These pumps are used by certain families, one end of the village, but the family in this post still rely on traditional wells with buckets lowered and pulled up by hand


Beautiful Gambian lady by her house in the village of Jorem.

Gambian grandmother dressed in a beautiful tie dyed flowing robe. She is chewing on a toothbrush-stick, commonly used for oral hygiene throughout the whole of The Gambia


There was no mains electricity when I went to this village the first time, though good-meaning Germans had funded a few solar panels on the roof of their house, but these were insufficient to power more than a few light bulbs, so the old CRT television sat forlorn, unable to be powered up,  in one corner of the room.  On my last visit, however, the government was in the process of bringing electricity all down this main highway,  which was often just a dirt road, so am hopeful it may have been installed by now.


Gambian children drinking water in the village of Jorem

Gambian children, sitting on the ground, drinking water from a plastic cup

The children sleep on beds, looking like bunk beds, but without the top being a bed, arranged in rows within one room, covered with tattered mosquito nets that would certainly not keep them safe from the dangers of Malaria. (I’ll add pics of this later as are on an older hard drive.) The kitchen when I was last there was unable to be used as the roof was falling in and the whole construction in serious danger of collapsing.   They were only built from mud, shaped into bricks, which are dried in the sun, but the rainy season causes many problems, as you can imagine.


3 Responses to “Gambian Life in a little village called Jorem”

  1. Denise Says:

    Love it, great to see more of your wonderful work!xx

  2. Paula Says:

    Lovely photos Elaine and how nice that you took the time to write about these lovely people (some of them our Gambian family) and how they live their lives. It is a far cry from the life we know where we have everything and more often than not take it all for granted. I especially like the pictures of Fatou, she is growing up fast.

  3. Elaine Says:

    Thanks Denise and Paula. Am looking forward to going back there again too, as now have two weddings booked for April 2015. xx Elaine

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