Kiang, The Gambia

In the forested region of Kiang in The Gambia, Musukayba prepares the family meal of rice and ground­nut stew. To do so, she must collect fire­wood for fuel, go to the market, pound grains and spices, pull water from the well, build the fire, cook over a three stone fireplace, and wash the dishes. It’s a long, long day.
The Gambia encompasses approximately ten kilometers north and south of “The Gambia River.” The long, narrow shape of this tiny country is the result of 17th century British colonial rule. The story goes that the English, with their powerful navy, could control only as far as their ships’ cannons could fire as they sailed up the river. The Gambia gained independence in 1965, becoming the smallest country on the African continent.
Photo © 2008 Steven Snyderman
Peace Corps Volunteer, The Gambia 2008-2010


Republic of The Gambia
Western Africa

Area 11,295 km2 (RANK 167)

Arable 27.9%

Capital Banjul (436K)

Population 1,840,454 (162/km2)

Literacy 50%

Life expectancy 64 yrs

HIV/AIDS 2.0% (18,000 adults)

In poverty 48%

Military 0.9% of GDP (RANK 138 of 195)

Languages English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars

Religions Muslim 90%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 2%

Gov’t Republic

GDP/capita $1,900

Agriculture rice, millet, sorghum, peanuts, corn, sesame, cassava (manioc), palm kernels; cattle, sheep, goats

Industry processing peanuts, fish, and hides; tourism, beverages, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking, clothing

PCVs 1967-present, current 94, TTD 1,635, education, health, environment

Focus word for 2014 - "Home"

Mandinka: sukono (so-ko-no)
Wolof: kér (kairrr)
Jola: sindar (sin-day)

indigenous design from Nepal

Copyright © Julie Olsen

Map of the world


The Mirror Boy.
Director: Obi Emelonye (2010)

Exchange: Six Faces of the Gambia.
Director: Mathew Welsch (2009)



Our Grandmothers’ Drums
by Mark Hudson, 1991
Book Description
British journalist/critic describes his involvement in local life and rituals during 14 months spent in the Gambian village of Keneba.

Kids' Books

Wild Wings
by Gill Lewis
2011. 287 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1442414464
Ages 8-12