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Africa’s Smallest Country

Africa’s Smallest Country

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Africa’s Smallest Country

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  1. Africa’s Smallest Country By MIRANDA PAUL, Children’s Author • The Gambia

  2. Where is The Gambia? • In WEST Africa, surrounded by Senegal except for one side that touches the Atlantic Ocean • It’s nickname is the “Smiling Coast” because it looks like the river is smiling where it touches the sea.

  3. What is the weather like? • HOT and SUNNY • Sometimes, it can get very windy. It is just below the Sahara Desert. • There are only two seasons: WET and DRY. It rains in summer (June-Sept), but doesn’t rain much or at all during the other months of the year. • It does not snow in the Gambia. This tree may look dead. It is not. The baobab tree loses its leaves to conserve energy.

  4. What do people eat and drink? • Domoda - peanut butter sauce over rice • Benachin - spicy red rice with fish or chicken • Tapalapa - long, fresh-baked bread - like a baguette • Wonjo juice - a red drink that looks like Kool-Aid, made from hibiscus plants. Sometimes, when a freezer is available, they make plastic-bag popsicles.

  5. What do kids do for fun? • Soccer (called football) is one of the favorite sports. • Boys sometimes get more time to play than girls. Unfortunately, most girls are given more chores than boys. But I know women who are working to change that!

  6. What is school like? • Most schools have tables, not desks. There are often no windows, just openings in the walls for light and air. • Many schools are crowded, so children go for half days. • Everyone wears a uniform. • They have recess, too. • Long walk to school or take a public van. • Very few books, sometimes not allowed to check out books. • All-school assemblies are outside - and kids have to stand in the sun.

  7. What is their money like? • Dalasis • $1 = about 30 GMD • Has Charley the Crocodile on it • Very colorful • What we call “cents” are called “bututs”

  8. Who is Charley? • Gambia is home to many crocodiles. Charley is a legendary one that lives in a crocodile pit called Kachikaly. • I once wrote a poem and read it while sitting in Charley’s pit! Watch me read it!

  9. What is the language? • English is the language of school and business. • Wolof and Mandinka are two of many languages spoken at home, in the market, and sometimes on TV or in churches. • Everyone also greets in Arabic, and many people pray in Arabic. • Many Gambian children and teens speak 3, 4, 5 or more languages! English = Hello / How are you? Wolof = Nanga Def? Mandinka = A ben yaadi? Arabic: Salaam Alekium

  10. Other cool facts: • Most Gambian parents don’t reveal their new babies’ names until the babies are 7 days old. Then, they throw a BIG party called a Naming Ceremony. • More than 500 bird species have been sighted in The Gambia. Many migrate to the river during the wet season. • Other animals in Gambia include monkeys, hippos, and monitor lizards.

  11. Other Gambian things: • Djembe drums & dancing! • Wooden carvings and masks • Jujus - like good luck charms • Silver/mixed metals • Beads • Bright fabrics and clothing

  12. More photos!

  13. Ways you can help: • Read more books about other countries, especially African countries • Raise money for Books for Africa or other charities • Learn another language • Host an exchange student • Reduce the amount of plastic you use and food you waste

  14. The Book! One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia Available Feb. 1, 2015 in all major bookstores and online sites Student recycling idea contest coming this spring! Watch for updates.