Aija Bley

Taxi boys


Book info:
Title: "Taxi boys"
No. of pages: 19
Size: 20x21cm
Edition size: 10
Printing: digital
Paper: 250g matt + 1,5mm
Binding: glued

I arrived to Gambia when the tourism season has come to its very end. I stay in an empty hotel with a view to coloured fishermen’s boats and blackened, vacant garage, where a bunch of young men await the customers. Hey, boss, lady - taxi! I dislike to be addressed like that  - meaning a white female with money. I am an artist, not here for leisure, not being paid for taking the photos either. If honestly, this concerns only me, so I refuse to take a taxi and stubbornly carry on my walk on a sunburnt, overheated road. But this is Gambia – the smiling coast. To smile is like a duty here, a tourism brand, as well as a habit. 

So I walk along and smile at all the taxi drivers, who stop by, say hello and offer me a ride for a “local” price. After a week mostly all of them have gathered that I am not getting a ride to anywhere, but the stopping by along my walk from the hotel to the beach has become some sort of a ritual for us. After two weeks I already know them all. As requested, they do not call me “boss lady” anymore, are very friendly, some of them even offer to marry me. Come the evening, they treat me with ataya – a very sweet and strong tea, smoke weed and play reggae on their mobile phones. It is the same Morgan Haritage track over and over again - “Africa I’m coming”. On the very last evening they arrange a farewell party for me on the beach and I take pictures of them all.  

Oooh yey yea yeey
Ooooooh yeee
I'm coming home baby just hold on

Oooh yey yeah yeeey
Ooh yeah
I'm coming home (yeah)
There was a time when all I wanted to do
Was the only things that mattered to me (yeeah)
But when a man and a woman build their home
A man's gotta do what his family needs him to do