Catching-up With Old Friends and Cooking Fish Benechin

Nyodema and The Gambia:

Catching-up With Old Friends and Cooking Fish Benechin


After another lovely breakfast we spent the morning swimming and relaxing by the pool.

In the afternoon we catch a taxi to visit some old friends – musicians from Guinea now living in The Gambia. This year they have found it particularly hard to find work and Moussa has had a bad bout of malaria so although I am disappointed to see where they are living at the moment I am very pleased to see that Moussa is on the mend. Sekou too is looking well (despite having leprosy and TB earlier in the year). I hand over the presents from friends in England including clothes, medicine and money to buy a bicycle.

They play and sing for us and we join in when we recognise a song we know. Shelagh sees if she can remember a tune Sekou taught her last January on the balafon and I’m impressed to see that she can still play it.

Heading back to our hotel that evening it’s particularly hard to reconcile the contrast between the luxury of Ngala Lodge with the poverty our friends are living in.

That evening kora player Bajaly is playing at the hotel and I'm thrilled to get the chance to interview him.



I'm up early Monday morning as I'm going on a cooking course. 10 of us visit the market at Tanji with our hostess, Ida, to pick up the ingredients for fish benechin then it's back to Ida's to prepare the feast!

Once everything is bubbling away in the pot we learn how to play the traditional game of wuri.

Lunch is served on rugs in a shady part of Ida's courtyard and we all tuck in to this really delicious spicy fish dish served with rice.

I'll be writing posts on both Bajaly and fish benechin, amongst other things, over the next few weeks.


Travel diary shared by Kathryn