And introduction to culture and family in The Gambia

Before i describe my daily life I have to give a cultural introduction to The Gambia.

The Gambia is a predominantly Muslim country (approx 95%) withe the remaining 5% being mainly Catholic Christian’s, and less than 1% of the traditional animist religions and others. That being said The Gambia is a very tolerant country and there are no divisions in the practice of Islam here, i.e. no Sunnis  or Shi’ites. Seriously, life is peaceful here. During Christmas  you would think the whole country was Christian and during Ramadan you’d think everyone was Muslim because of the respect people give each other s beliefs.
In Islam it is permissible for a man to have up to four wives but only if – he can provide for them and the children that will come and he can treat them fairly and some other guidelines that o can’t remember right now-  whether or not men keep that in mind when they marry is something  to be asked but those are the guidelines under the religion.

I don’t know about anywhere else but the Gambia families live in compounds with each wife (if their are multiple) lives in a room with her children and the husband has his own room. These compunds aren’t limited to immediate family members either. In my family my dad Yaya Sanneh and his only wife Nyako Manjing live in a room but his brothers and their wives live in the compound as well.

Don’t freak out because my host parents are old so their seven children are grown and have moved away to the Kombo Metro area. Most of them are teachers from what I hear. My uncles Dimbaa (4wives) and Sainey (3 wives) have around 13 children each and most of them are adults as well. That leaves only around 10 children in the compund.

To sum this up because my family is waaaay larger than because of extended relations (I’m someone’s mom btw because of the way family systems work here and I’ll explain below), this I’ll say that there are around 20 people currently living in my compund

*How family is  structured*

-Mother’s sisters are your mothers as well
This makes their children your siblings
-Your mother’s brothers are your uncles.
This makes their children your cousins
-Your father’s brothers are your fathers too.
Their children are your siblings
-Your father’s sisters are your aunts.
Their children are your cousins.

And to add to the confusion
-your mom/dad s age-mates are your parents as well
-the same goes for your grandparents.

There s so much that I probably forgot so feel free to ask questions


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