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Popular actress, Belinda Effah, shares her experience with JOY MARCUS about her trip to The Gambia

What country did you visit recently?

I visited The Gambia last year and the experience was awesome because we went to shoot a documentary.

What did you love about the country?

I love the fact that it is a very small country; you can actually go around it in 30 minutes. The country is ‘touristic’ and very warm. I made sure I explored every nook and cranny of the country with my team and we ate lots of food. I noticed that their water is very clean and you can literally see your face in it, like a mirror. I wonder why we cannot have such water in Nigeria. The experience was refreshing and fun. I enjoyed every bit of it.

Did you eat their local dishes?   

Yes, I did and I was quite impressed. I ate couscous because it is very common there. I learnt that the origin of jollof rice is The Gambia but their jollof rice does not come anywhere close to ours. As a matter of fact, I think they need to relearn how to cook jollof rice from us because their jollof rice was tasteless. It may have originated there but they do not know how to cook it. We travelled during sallah; so, there was a lot of food but I was always hungry because their food was tasteless.


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What are some of the fond memories you have about the country?

I was surprised that they eat like we do in Nigeria. For instance, after cooking, they put the food in a tray for everybody to eat. Their environment was welcoming and I saw lots of tourists. I also noticed that young Gambian men stood on the streets looking for older women. It seemed to be a normal thing there. I was amazed when I saw them and I just kept staring. I think The Gambia is one of the countries with the highest population of mulattos because of the tourists that visit the place.

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What did you observe about their culture?

It is a predominantly Muslim country. We travelled during the sallah period and I could feel the celebration in the air.

Would you like to go back there?

Yes, I would like to go there again for tourism because the country is very safe. You will see a lot of white people on the streets at any time of the day just taking a walk. I had so much fun the last time because aside from the Gambian experience, I was also entertained by one of my colleagues. As of the time we travelled, he just received an award; so, he was feeling like a star. Then, he started covering his face with a towel because he said everybody was staring at him. To the rest of us, it was so funny because we didn’t see anybody looking at him. So, one day, he covered his face with a towel from the hotel that was not to be taken out and one of the hotel attendants asked him to return it. He was so embarrassed that he started shouting, saying didn’t they know who he was. That was the highlight of the trip.  I laughed my heart out.

Now Read This:  Gambian-born Sumareh Scores Twice in Debut for Malaysia’s National Team

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What would you say to someone who wants to travel to The Gambia?

I will tell the person to have fun. Make sure you go to the waterside and relax; it is very refreshing. They have very beautiful hotels on a budget, meaning there is something for everybody. Just make sure you have fun and enjoy yourself.

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