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Read Around the World: The Gambia


August saw us heading off for reading adventures in The Gambia so what did we discover?

Here are some fun facts about The Gambia from this website:

  • It’s the smallest country in mainland Africa, making it even smaller than Yorkshire.
  • The Gambia’s economy relies heavily on tourism, but the second biggest cash crop is groundnuts.
  • The Gambia is home to nine different tribes. The largest of these tribes is the Mandinka, along with the Fula and Wolof, all of whom live together harmoniously.
  • The country is undoubtedly a birdwatcher’s paradise with 540 species to be discovered in the forests and by its banks.
  • During elections, Gambians vote using marbles
  • There is a sacred crocodile pool in Bakau
  • It’s named after the River Gambia, one of West Africa’s major rivers
  • The Gambia has 50 miles of coastline

I chose to visit The Gambia via Reading the Ceiling by Dayo Forster a popular choice among our other readers as it was one of the few books we could find available in English.

Reading the Ceiling tells the story of 18 year old Ayodele who has decided that now she has become a woman the only thing holding her back is her virginity in order to rid herself of this pesky problem she makes a shortlist of men who can potentially help her the book then explores what happens when she has sex for the first time with each man on her list. While some of the stories contain crossovers for the most part a different man means a different outcome.

I enjoyed the glimpses into the culture of The Gambia the mix of Christian and Muslim culture; the idea of girls as wives and mothers; caring for the elderly; the feeling of community; the insight into the education and ambition of young women; the traditional rituals surrounding death and the food. I loved the descriptions of the food and wish the author had included recipes.

Other readers visited The Gambia in the following ways:

Currey on Litsy attempted and bailed on Gambia by Pa Nderry M’Bai

Did you join us on our visit to The Gambia? Let us know how you chose to visit.

For September we will be visiting Luxembourg will you be joining us? How do you intend to visit?



3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Currey #

    I also read The Sun Will Soon Shine by Sally Singhateh, which although not a wonderfully written book did give me a glimpse into life in Gambia and at least was written by a woman from Gambia.
    As to Luxembourg, I have not been able to find anything except a pop book called ExPats…anyone else find anything?


    August 30, 2020
  2. Adding this to my tbr, it sounds like such an interesting way to explore an idea like that!


    August 31, 2020
  3. Although reading more books in 2020 by African writers, will give this one a miss. You would think, living in South Africa as I do, that it would be easy to source African writers but au contraire! Bookstores offer very few, and in RSA mostly political or corruption expose type books , neither of which I wish to read.


    August 31, 2020

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