We left early this morning, we did not even have time to have breakfast properly. Yaya was parked outside waiting for us…probabaly he slept in his own car, same as he does every night a month at the time. I took some extra bread and cheese for him so that he could have some food for the
journey. I gave him two small loaf of bread and he saved them for later on!We then left our hotel towards Banjul main harbour.
Yaya was driving steady but I am afraid the car stopped along the way. He then opened the bonnet and fixed the engine. After our first stop we reached the main harbour surrounded by masses of people pushing and queuing for the next slow boat to other side of the Gambia river which many people use as a route to Senegal. The heat was starting to get pretty serious. We waited in the “lounge” for 20 minutes and then we started boarding. We managed to find a spot on the boat’s upper deck, we could see land on the other side…we would have reached land only fifty minutes later.
The boat trip was an experience in itself, slow and hot and while the it was moving across the river a couple of mechanics were fixing the engines and welding on one side of the boat. People were carrying all sort of stuff from chickens to sheep, dead and alive. On the other side Yaya got a good deal with one of the taxi drivers specialised in taking tourist to St James Island. We did few stops and we visited few villages along the way picking up our “guide” to the island.
We reached the small village of Juffureh on the shore of the river Gambia where the main slavery hub developed to a strong hold during the slavery years and where, it said that Kunta Kinte was imprisoned.
We then took a small boat to the island…it is now a derelict island with bits of buildings falling off getting submerged slowly by the river. The place and room we visited were really moving especially the room which was not bigger than a fifty square feet and where more than sixty slaves at the time were kept. There was no escape from the island, 600 years ago the river was infested with crocodiles so swimming ashore wasnt an option.
We walked around the tiny island for about thirty minutes and then we made our way back. We were really pleased we went to see it but made us very sad, the locals kept saying:” It does not bother us it was 500 years ago!”.