Wednesday, September 21, 2005

News from West Africa

There was a fascinating story today on the BBC ( Senegal is upset with Gambia as Gambia has raised the cost of ferry crossings across the Gambia River. The Gambians also harassed a group of Senegalese soldiers who were shopping in Banjul while waiting for a ferry boat.

A geography refresher: Gambia covers both sides of the river crossing the middle of Senegal. It is truly a relic of the European colonial era. The British wanted the port of Banjul and the river. The French wanted Dakar and the rest of the territory.

Gambia survives largely because of its geographic position and ability to control a big part of Senegal's transportation infrastructure. It is ironic that the people are ethnically identical. The Senegalese and Gambians speak the same native languages. The only difference is one has a French style government and the other a British style government.

I really hope that the two countries don't go to war or experience a long period of disagreement. They almost merged back in the 90's. That really is the best logical outcome. I lived two years in Senegal, in Thies and really got to appreciate the country. I also did a short (three week) consultancy in Gambia, studying the fuelwood economy. These two countries, a single people artificially split in tow, really need to work this one out.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Close-up of a dried ear of corn. It doesn't take long for the squirrels to drag this away. Taken with teh zoom settings. Posted by Picasa

Yes, Elmo Posted by Picasa

Frankie contemplating the world Posted by Picasa

Frankie relaxing on the terrace Posted by Picasa

Sunday night

I've been tempted by this blogging thing for weeks. I finally decided to go throught with it. Mostly I wanted a place to show pictures to friends and to post random ideas. After all, everyone seems to be doing it.