Today we have a second guest post from Rhiannon Lewis. Rhiannon is living in The Gambia for 3 months and is guest blogging her experiences with us. You can see her first post here.
The Gambia is an ex British crown colony, which gained independence in February 1965, a mere 47 years ago. Therefore it seems logical that there will be similarities between Gambia and Britain seeing as in reality it is not that long since the country gained it’s independence, as well as the fact it was the first and last British colony in west Africa, so it was influenced by Britain for longer than other west African countries.
Since my time in Gambia I have noticed there are similarities between Gambia and Britain and the Gambians and the British people. One of the strangest being the fact Gambian people drink as much tea as the British, another similarity is the Gambian people have the same sense of humour as the British do, they joke around, tease each other and use sarcasm in the same way British people would with each other. The similarity in humour and the fact Gambia’s national language is English makes it extremely easy to get on with its people, seeing as you can joke around with them and have a laugh the same way you would between British friends and family. Gambian laws are extremely similar to the laws of the UK and many of them have actually been adopted from British policies, most recently the fact Gambia is introducing a vat tax on products. Football is a major part of life for many British and Gambian people, especially men, Manchester United being the team most supported in The Gambia. Anytime there has been a football match on during my time in Gambia, especially the matches of the European Cup, any bar which was showing the match would be filled with eager Gambians hoping their team would win, much like you would find in pubs and bars within the UK during these games.
However despite the similarities of these two countries and their people there are also differences. In The Gambia the people have a love for music and dance like many British people, however in the UK if you go to a club or bar you are most likely to see women dancing, where as in the Gambia it is the men who dance. Anywhere there is music playing you will see the Gambian men dancing or singing, music is their passion and it can be seen through the happiness it brings them when they are listening to it. Shopping is an everyday aspect of life in Britain and The Gambia however the way people shop differs tremendously. In Britain food and beverages as well as a number of other products are bought from supermarkets, then clothes are bought from department stores. In Gambia the people mainly shop in markets such as Albert Market in Banjul or Serrukunda Market. These markets are filled with hundreds of small stores where you can find everything from shoes and clothing to make up and accessories, kitchen and home appliances and food. The markets are divided into a number of sections where the shops of the same kind will be located, for example sections such as wood and crafts, fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, fabric, electrical appliances and tailoring section. When buying clothes in Gambia although you can find stores or sections of the markets which sell western clothing most of the clothes are tailor made. The men and ladies will go to the fabric stores and buy their desired fabric and amount they require, then go to a tailor where they will describe the item they would like, which will then be made specifically for them and their measurements.
These are only a fraction of the similarities and differences between the Gambia and Britain, during the rest of my time in the country I am sure I will come across many other similarities and differences.