Just touch

by Marabi S. Hydara

Above (Issue I/2019)


In some places they are believed to bring good luck: crocodiles. Illustration: DeAgostini/ Getty Images

In Gambia, crocodiles are considered lucky charms. The predators are to be found in the various tributaries of the Gambia river and three large crocodile basins, man-made pools which have long been considered sacred places. People from all walks of life visit them to ask for the crocodile's blessing for their daily lives. The most famous crocodile pool is located in Bakau, about 15 kilometres from the capital Banjul. In the “Kachikally Crocodile Pool”, which is fed by a brook, about eighty crocodiles cavort, including some of the rare white crocodiles. Women who are infertile come to the reptiles to ask for a child. When the women are ritualistically washed with the water of the pools, their wish for children is allegedly heard. For this reason many Gambian boys and girls are named Kachikally. The crocodiles in the Kachikally basin, which is overgrown with water hyacinths, look very friendly. Tourists and locals touch them and pose for photographs with them without feeling afraid.

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