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Janjanbureh, The Gambia
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Fula scars Janjanbureh  The Gambia

Fula scars

We were interested in getting Fula scars or peanut ash tattoos while we were upriver, since we knew we were in the region that a lot of Peace Corps volunteers go to in order to get them. A few guys told us, oh yeah, there’s a woman in town who does that, we can take you. All of a sudden, something we thought we wouldn’t get the chance to do became reality. We ventured into a random compound where we found the woman who would do our Fula scars. “This is all happening really fast,” I thought to myself, but I knew that if I actually had time to think all of this over, I would probably wimp out. No, I wanted to get the tattoos, because I knew it would be a great way to remember this trip to Janjanbureh and the entirety of my time here in the Gambia. We walked into the corner shop, bought a pack of five new razors, and brought them to the woman who proceeded to cut the three lines into the five of us getting the scars. The process was surprisingly quick and not that painful. She cut the lines, wiped away the blood and applied the ash, all within a minute or two. Five months previously, I never would have expected to get a tattoo, let alone one cut into me with a razor and filled with ash. But it's amazing how travel can change you, or at least make you realize what new things you actually want to do once faced with the possibility.