St. Mary's River to the Gambian River, Under the Same Sun

1

I don’t really think that the sole purpose of studying abroad is to necessarily compare two cultures and go home with a new understanding of another, but rather to find your place between both of those cultures, within the world. I think it’s about understanding yourself, your beliefs, and your gifts, and figuring out how you can best apply or even change those to be a better person for the world.

Rooftop reflections: the smell of burning sugar. The burning of chemicals into my pores. The pouring of thoughts from my head to my heart and back again in agreement with the tea flowing from kettle to glass. This place is not easy to digest. physically and well, you know the rest. Or maybe you don’t, but one day you might and it might be when you find yourself letting people into your life you never thought to give a chance. Or when you meet people who are giving chances to people they don’t even really know. Or when you hear that unexpected and unfamiliar voice say— creativity. It’s the most important thing. It helps us to see the world differently, to solve problems, to find solutions, and to find the true nature of humans. See the world from a rooftop, at two a.m., in a country not quite our own, but had become a part of us if even for that second.

A lot of times I think that I have caught myself finding comfort in knowing that I will only be here for ___ more days to hide from the fact that the living conditions and amount of poverty here hurt too much to really take on. Everyone here is so complacent with their lifestyles, very much unlike America, whether it’s the smell of sewage and endless garbage roasting in the heat on the streets or the people sitting around their compounds on empty yellow, plastic, vegetable oil cans eating unripe fruit taking care of their babies, or health clinics with long waits and less than sanitary conditions. Even though a majority of the citizens are living in poverty, Gambians have a way of always being positive about things, whether you are running two hours late, or you have been cooking a meal all day, Gambians don’t really show that they are suffering.

“Suffering in silence” is the Gambian way, I once heard. It’s one thing to acknowledge it, but it’s another to truly understand and change your way of living and interacting based on such realizations. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the sound of lizards scurrying on the roof. Or the subtle pecks of bugs making contact with my skin. Or the way a child will want to hold your hand before they even know your name. Or the way the earth burns for what it wants and what it needs. Or the way it sucks it out of you too. Or the amount of sweat my body is capable of secreting. Or the way it feels to find teeth and bones of a creature long gone, preserved in the dirt to be dug. Or the way the sound of some people’s voices fit perfectly into that hole you’ve dug yourself. Or the way the stars look like glitter whenever you’re secluded from the city. And how much that makes me feel so small and so tall simultaneously. But I can take nothing for granted and find comfort in knowing that I am here on this earth for___ more days, but right now, I’m alive (“fingertips trembling, though they may be”).

written by egyptianring on 2010-08-19 in #world #locations #study-abroad #west-africa #senegal #personal-story #summer-2010 #gambia

One Comment

  1. tveden
    tveden ·

    Great shots, really sharp. What cam/film did you use?

More Interesting Articles

  • Taking Back Tipsters: Go Wild With These Film Destroying Tips!

    written by chooolss on 2014-10-05 in #gear #tipster
    Taking Back Tipsters: Go Wild With These Film Destroying Tips!

    Fancy yourself a very adventurous lomographer? Well, better prepare those acids, bleaches, fire, and almost everything you could think of applying on your emulsions and take on these extreme film destroying tips! Remember to be careful, though!

    1
  • Changing Seasons: Durham in Autumn

    written by odio-et-amo on 2014-09-10 in #lifestyle
    Changing Seasons: Durham in Autumn

    Durham is a beautiful but tiny university city in the north of England famous for its amazing cathedral, which is one of Britain's best loved buildings. When I was studying at the university, I loved to go for crisp, autumnal walks around the cathedral and the river, kicking the leaves and basking in the golden glow of the season. The Lomography Redscale film perfectly captures the beauty of this time of year.

  • Lomography's Little Lessons: Aperture

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-03-14 in #gear #lifestyle #tipster
    Lomography's Little Lessons: Aperture

    Have you ever wondered why those nerdy camera constructors formulate complicated terms that baffle most normal citizens? Trust me, I know it all too well; Physics was the first subject to go when I had to choose between studying and spending yet another night pursuing youthful adventures. But don't worry — the remedy for all of the gaps in your knowledge is right here: Lomography’s Little Lessons on Photography. Follow this series and in no time you'll catch up on everything your curious mind desires!

  • Shop News

    Lomo Instant Boston

    Lomo Instant Boston

    Here is another way to enjoy analogue experience and capture great memories in an instant! This package includes the best creative lenses for your LomoInstant camera!

  • A Salute to the Masters: The Democratic Eye (A Tribute to William Eggleston)

    written by sirio174 on 2014-04-19 in #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: The Democratic Eye (A Tribute to William Eggleston)

    William Eggleston is one of the most important contemporary master and pioneer of color photography. In this article I write a tribute to his particular democratic way of looking around. For him "Nothing was more important or less important", and everything is worthy of being photographed. Again, he is fond of the dear old film; he said that "I don't think much about the digital world, because I am in the analog world!". Read more after the jump!

  • The Magic Yet To Come: Part 1

    written by Lomography on 2014-09-02 in #news
    The Magic Yet To Come: Part 1

    Here’s a random and rather mysterious tale for you folks. Just the other day, I was at a local bar with a few friends. It was much like any other evening; we were sipping a couple of cocktails, recounting our adventures, falling over ourselves with laughter and half-drunkenly meditating on the meaning of life (a scientist once told me it’s 42 by the way). But then something truly strange happened. Read on to hear my story and please make a comment with your guess at the end!

    31
  • Perfect Panoramas Captured with the Sprocket Rocket Winners

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-03-30 in #world #news #competitions
    Perfect Panoramas Captured with the Sprocket Rocket Winners

    Marvel at these retro panoramas taken with the Sprocket Rocket!

  • Shop News

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • What Art Can Learn from the Banal

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-03-30 in #world #lifestyle
    What Art Can Learn from the Banal

    Stephen Shore introduced to the 70s art world an unadorned image of American life. He captured littered restaurant tables as other photographers would immaculate vistas. For the opening of “American Surfaces”, he even taped unframed snapshots on gallery walls. In these videos, Shore talks about objects that have “no pretention to art” and the things he learned from Andy Warhol.

    1
  • The Geography of an Art Gallery

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-03-30 in #world #lifestyle
    The Geography of an Art Gallery

    What photo goes on which wall? What adjacent prints relay a theme? In this video, Alec Soth gives a lesson on how to arrange a large body of work on exhibit.

  • Photo of the Day by robertofiuza

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-03-30 in #world #news
    Photo of the Day by robertofiuza

    Left your splitzer at home? Make use of your surroundings to create a perfect symmetrical image. Take a cue from our winning Photo of the Day!

    2
  • Shop News

    LCA-120 Film Bundle

    LCA-120 Film Bundle

    Shoot more with LC-A 120 without breaking your budget! The Phoblographer Editor’s Choice Award Winner now comes with a 120 format film at 15% off!

  • Object of My Affection: Subbuteo

    written by sirio174 on 2015-03-30 in #world #lifestyle
    Object of My Affection: Subbuteo

    In my early adolescence, I liked to play table football. For my 12th birthday, my parents gifted me with a wonderful Subbuteo table soccer game set that I had wished for many months! This was my favorite toy until I discovered other interesting hobbies, like ham radio and electronics. So after some years, I gave away this game to other kids. I always remembered this game with pleasure and a hint of nostalgia.

  • Proofbook is our LomoHome of the Day!

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-03-30 in #world #news
    Proofbook is our LomoHome of the Day!

    From everyone here in Lomography, congratulations to proofbook for winning Home of the Day!

    1
  • Wacky Panoramas Shot with the Spinner Motorizer

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-03-30 in #gear #lifestyle
    Wacky Panoramas Shot with the Spinner Motorizer

    Gather all your friends for a fun panoramic portrait with Spinner 360 and Motorizer!