Meet Helen Jones-Florio and Jason Florio, a British born, New York based, husband and wife team. Jason is an award-winning photographer, and Helen is a photography producer. They met in the Gambian bush over 15 years ago.
We’re constantly keeping our eye’s open for that ‘ideal spot’ to build a house there (The Gambia)…one day… Helen Jones-Florio
Jason and Helen have worked together on photo assignments all over the world – in Mexico, DR Congo, Kenya, West Africa, and the USA. In 2009, they made the first recorded circumnavigation of The Gambia, West Africa, by foot – A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’ – with two donkeys and a cart, to carry camera and camping gear. Jason produced what became an award-winning series of portraits of village chiefs (excerpt below), Helen is in the final stages of finishing a book about the expedition.
Despite their love of travelling further afield (mainly areas of conflict: Somalia, Burma, Afghanistan, in Jason’s case – during his 14 years as a photojournalist/writer), their mutual attraction to West Africa is deep-rooted. Now they are planning their second expedition in this part of the world: ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source-sea African odyssey’. Helen and Jason aim to have their oars in the water by early October 2012 and Safari will be sharing their stories and updates with you.
Photos © Jason Florio, www.floriophoto.com
River Gambia is one of the last remaining, large, free-flowing rivers in Africa. Travelling by canoe and foot through the homelands of over seven different tribes, their journey will begin at the source of the river, where it trickles out of the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea, on into hippo-infested Niokolo Koba National Park, Senegal, and finally into The Republic of the Gambia – following the same course as the early gold and slave traders had done century’s ago – to the 10km wide mouth of the river, where it opens into the Atlantic Ocean after a 1000km journey.
Jason, Helen, and their team, will collect visual/written/audio stories – through multiple medias – documenting the lives and cultures of the indigenous people, who live and work along the course of the River Gambia. Using traditional protocol, relevant to each country, they will approach village chiefs to ask permission to stay in his/her village. They will travel with two local Gambian river men for the entire journey, along with hiring local guides in Guinea and Senegal.
Find out more about The River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source-sea African odyssey
The Journey: 1 river. 2 borders. 3 countries – Guinea-Senegal-The Gambia, West Africa
Oars in the water: early October 2012
Estimated journey time: 8-10 weeks
Modes of transport: Canoes, hiking, donkeys.