38/365 My father - big catch

Big catch for the fisherman. The boat trip was great, but I tired quickly of the fishing. All anyone got were these tiny fishes, and most were so small they just had to be released again. Call me difficult, but though I rather enjoy fishing with a purpose (like catching today’s dinner), I don’t particularly enjoy torturing fish just for fun.

I love this picture, though.


37/365 - The husband and a python

My father wanted to go to Gunjur and our driver, Sera (probably the best driver in The Gambia, if you’re ever going get in touch and I’ll give you his phone number), insisted on stopping off at the Gambian Reptile Farm (not that he had to insist much, “Would you like to see some reptiles?” “Yes, please!”).

The farm is run by a “mad dutchman”, and entrance is free for Gambians, and as good as free for tourists, though we pay for the upkeep apparently. Most Gambians are afraid of all reptiles and can’t tell the harmless ones from the dangerous ones. This is a problem in several ways, partly it means the poor reptiles are killed in droves, quite uneccessarily, but another consequence is that local “medicine men” can exploit people’s ignorance. Their website – www.gambianreptiles.bizhosting.com/ – will tell you more if you’re interested.

We were shown round by a young chap named Bakary Camara, who was very informative. The other people in our group were from one of the Baltic states and seemed to be as wary of snakes as the average Gambian. I’m sure they must have thought us all hopping mad. We were fawning over the snakes – as you do – telling them (in Norwegian, but I imagine the tone of voice was expressive enough) what pretty things they were. And when, at the end, we were allowed to hold two pythons, we were falling over each other to get at them.

But I mean, look at it? Isn’t it just the most gorgeous thing? (The Husband is good looking, too, obviously, but you don’t need to admire him too much, in fact, it’s better if you don’t, he’s taken.)


36/365 - At the batik factory

We’ve got a good system going with the haggling, I think. I pick out the stuff I want, ask “How much?”, the salesperson replies and I hand over to the husband. I HATE haggling (especially when the prices are so ridiculously low in the first place, and I know how much more the money is woth to them). He revels in it. I should have filmed the woman’s reaction to his first counteroffer, btw, though I realise it’s all part of the game, she seriously looked like he’d asked for her oldest son as a hostage or something.

When they were done and we’d paid up, I picked out one of the pictures in the background with a babywearing woman and paid what the lady first asked for it. I’m quite sure they made good money on us in any case.


35/365 - Feeding the animals

We visited Abuko. It turns out I’ve gotten Abuko and Tendaba mixed up in my head, which meant I spent half the day trying to get my memories sorted into the correct heaps.

One of the other visitors was more of a bird-fanatic than us, he had a lens the size of a small truck attached to his camera, with a camouflage cover. He and his guide caught up with us as we were watching a bird, and he asked “Anything good?” which I though a supremely stupid question. “Good” according to who? And how am I supposed what you think is “good”, I’ve never seen this bird before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not common as dirt. Well, at least he could tell me it was a robin chaff, which was useful, though as he said “It’s only a robin chaff”, I assume it wasn’t “good”.

Still and all, I had a good time. Birds aplenty (though probably mostly common as dirt) and the monkeys were charming (and hungry, or greedy, it can be hard to tell which).


34/365 - Our house

My father, trying to look over the wall at what was once out house. We couldn’t find it at first. Not only was the wall white when we lived there, it also only came up to that line at about waist-height. Luckily, some security gueards further down the street remembered the egg-man, which enabled my mother to identify the house.

When we’d see all we could see peeping through the gate and stretching to glimpse over the walls, and gone only a few meters, the people who live there now arrived home. I wonder what they would have thought had they turned the corner just a tad earlier…


33/365 - Fishing boats coming in at Bakau

We arrived in Bakau, checked in to the hotel and went for a walk. The fishing harbour has been built since we were last there, and naturally my father wanted to see it.

Oh so familiar, but also so very foreign, sounds, sights and above all smells. Being back is surreal beyond belief.


32/365 - Take me in your suitcase?

The one bad thing about this trip is leaving the lass behind. She’s not helping. If I wasn’t pretty sure she has no idea what “mum and dad are going away for a week and you’re staying with grandma” actually means, I’d say she was giving us a hint.

(Saying that, taking her along was never an option. When the main expert on tropical diseases in Norway says he’d never take a toddler – or a child under five – to a country in the tropical region, I figure he knows what he’s talking about. Not to mention the vaccinations, the 8-hour flight and the fact that someone would then have to watch her every evening instead of us all going out to eat. The only option was not going. And she will have a great time, her grandmother’s taking the week off, so she’ll probably be thoroughly spoilt – in a good way – by the time we come back. But we will miss her.)


31/365 - Building houses

The lass hasn’t shown much of an interest in “hiding” under things before, but suddenly did today, so I found a sheet and improvised a “house”. Great success. I guess I better get around to sewing that playtent I meant to make her.


30/365 - This is an example of a scarlet fever rash

This is an example of a scarlet fever rash. Though we only had it confimed Saturday. The lass does not have textbook illness progression (does anyone?), so I thought I’d not the progression here in case you, dear internets,  find this by googling scarlet fever.

Wednesday: Daycare call me and tell me I need to pick the lass up as she’s running a fever. She get progressively warmer throughout the morning and is at 39,6 degrees celcius by mid-afternoon, I hold off on the painkillers, though, as she doesn’t seem to be particularly uncomfortable, just tired and cuddly. By bedtime the fever is down to around 38, so I put her to bed and she sleeps soundly. I check later – just before going to bed myself – and her temperature seems normal.

Thursday: Husband’s day off, so he keeps her at home. We never actually measure her temperature, as she seems fine and not particularly warm.

Friday: When the husband changes her in the morning, she has a rash, so they stay at home. She’s not showing any other symptoms of being ill, though, until the evening when she absolutely refuses to go to bed, seemingly complaining of a sore throat, and her temperature is up to just over 38 again. I put her in our bed and stay beside her until she falls asleep. I call the hospital helpline and describe the symptoms. The lady on the other end says it may well be just the usual fever-followed-by-rash children’s desease, but that it might just be scarlet fever, and since that is easily determined with a test and treatable, she asks us to bring the lass in the next morning.

Saturday: So we head to the emergency room, feeling somewhat sheepish, as the lass now seems perfectly healthy, apart from a rather faint rash. We’re supposed to leave her at her grandmother’s tomorrow and leave for a week in The Gambia, had we not been going away I think we would have waited to see our GP on Monday instead.  The lady at the desk seems to think we are waisting their time. The doctor is more understanding, but he performs the test more as a “just in case”, he does not seem to think it will confirm anything. Almost to my relief (hey, I’m not just a hysterical mother hen) the test turns up a positive result. It is scarlet fever.

Now the rash, the possible sore throat and the fever are pretty textbook, except the rash was covering her shoulders, chest and back and her groin, hardly touching her face. The textbook also says the tongue may have a whitish coating at the start of the desease, changing to a bright red with a “strawberry” appearance later. Neither of these were apparent enough to be remarked.

Wikipedia also says: “For whatever reason, toddlers rarely contract scarlet fever.” Clearly, “rarely” does not equate to “never”.