The Gambia Six-logy 1 – The Crocos which don’t bite!


So, on this Sunday afternoon, we move to the Katchikally museum. I’ll tell you more about that later in part 3. Behind the museum is the crocodile village. Scary right!!!

They’re everywhere, not caged! There are almost 100 or more crocodiles in the pool and around the park.

Origin – The crocos are full of mysteries!

It is believed the croco pool was founded in the 1600s. The place was a farm used by the Bonja Nkunda people who were amongst the first settlers of Bakau, The Gambia, where the croco pool is located. History has it that on the farm, then, a jungle, lived a woman who was said to be more than just a human being. She had the crocos – just two, by then. She kept them as pets. Then there was a man close to a big tree at the entrance of the pool (this is before the pool was fenced). This mysterious woman asked the man for help, claiming her daughter had fallen into a well (the pool). Though a stranger, the man accepted to help her. When they arrived the pool, she revealed she had simply wanted to test the man’s kindness. As a reward, she offered him her two pets – Crocodiles! She advised him to keep them well, and also use the pool to help women with fertility issues (watch out for part 2)…… the crocos mated, and today, are close to 100 or more. Generosity pays huh! 😊

The big white croco that smells luck!

The Mandinka have the belief that when the white crocodile comes out every Friday or else, then whoever sees it could make a wish and it’ll come to pass. Well, that’s legend, no doubt. That big white croco could just be an albino crocodile. Our guide tells me there exists one still. Well, whether it be true or not, make sure to say a wish when you visit Katchikally and if you see the white croco. 😊

The woman, and man, and water?

My historian doesn’t tell me more about the woman and the man. But, for the water…. the people here believe it has spiritual powers. The crocos live in it, but also around the gutters in the park. The Bakau people are Mandinka and they believe the pool has a connection with the one in Katon and with the Brikama people also. It is the water in the pool which is used by women in bathing – so they can have children. Believable?

“Thesito” – Your Problem is my problem!

A helping hand always. “In The Gambia we have “Thesito” – your problem is my problem. So, we join hands to solve the problem. When we realised the water was becoming small for the crocos, the community joined hands to dig and extends the size of the pool to contain more water and more crocodiles”, our guide tells me.

The crocos feed on fish, so our guide says they can’t harm humans because they’re not used to meat. A dog once fell into the pool and swam from side to side, unharmed. A man once fell into the pool and was removed unharmed.

Almost human huh!

It is believed the pool here has a link with another one in Katon – “more of a spiritual link because we also believe these animals are spiritually associated. That is why we don’t use their skin for leather; we don’t sell them. Sometimes they die out of sickness, or injury because they do fight. We don’t also accept outside crocos to breed with them”.

And when the crocos die, they are buried!

 

 

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