Gambia – A Visit To Brikama Market

A morning trip to the huge Brikama Market in Gambia turned into a major event. As word spread around the market that I had a camera that could print the photos then and there – I became surrounded – at times it was three or four deep.

Mums wanting photos of their beautiful babies, vegetable sellers, stall-holders in the fish market, street kids – all grabbing my arm and saying “me next, me next”. I was, of course, delighted to help and was handing out little Polaroid prints as fast I could take and print them. It was all good-humored and fun – apart from the odd bumster trying to extract payment – but the stall-holders soon saw them off.

It was only when I ran out of paper and there was no sign of my guide Mamadi that I got worried that I might not get out of the middle of the scrum in one piece. Happily, Manadi turned up and got me out before I had to explain to the disappointed mums that I run out of paper!

happy stall holders Birkama Market
portrait at Birkama Market
man pushing vegetables on a wheelbarrow to market
mother and baby Birkama Market
child portrait photo
fishmonger Birkama Market
Birkama Market shopper
stall holder Birkama Market
mum and child at the market
Gambian in baseball cap
young shopper
man having a coffee
colourful shoppers

I learnt two things that day – (1) buy a Zink printer if you want great travel portraits and (2) never take one into a busy market without a local guide to get you out of the scrum!

Social Wellness Walks

Thank you Mamadi – you’re a life saver.

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  1. I’m from Alberta Canada and a young man from Brikama has befriended me on facebook. He is only 19 and does seem to be a genuine person from what I can tell. I’ve asked him many questions to which i received the correct answers. he is very eager to talk to me but seems limited by what he calls the internet owner. He says he only gets an hour of internet time. I presume that his ultimate purpose is to ask for financial help, although he hasn’t yet.. I would not be entirely opposed to this (not that I have much to give) but I wonder if it’s a good idea. It would be nice to speak to someone in the know about this sort of situation. someone perhaps with a first hand knowledge of the Gambian situation.

  2. Hey Tom,

    I love the photos! When I travel to Gambia, I will make sure to bring enough Polaroids with me, awesome to see how they love it!
    Gambia is indeed such an inspiring country. A friend of mine has just been there recently, and he could not stop talking about its people and their kindness! It made me wanna travel there right away, unfortunately I can’t do it now.

    But now after reading your post, I will check flights right away!!


  3. PurpleTravelKate says:

    I love these pictures, so vibrant, the colours and everything. Looks like a fantastic trip!

  4. Luxury Travels says:

    Amazing article, really well written. Thank you for sharing your experience as well as taking so fantastic portrait shots. It really give you a feel for the market.

  5. Angela Pointon says:

    They are wonderful pictures and reflections Tom. My mother’s day gift last year was a polaroid…..I love it!

  6. Vineeta Yashswi says:

    Amazing portrait… I love the way you described your experience…

  7. Katherine Belarmino - Travel the World says:

    What beautiful pictures. And such a fantastic idea to bring a polaroid! I’m sure they all loved being able to take those pictures home.

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