Friday, September 5, 2008

Ode to Benachin & Other Poems

[The following are the result of a competition organized at an unnamed high school in the Gambia where students were asked to write "poetic tributes" to their favorite Gambian foods, during the Ramadan period. There were over 100 entries - the best (as agreed by the judging panel of teachers) are displayed below].

Note: Though it may seem this way to certain accusing minds, I did not personally write these just because I am hungry and missed Gambian food. I'd never do that.

Domoda, the best dish in Sukuta

[by Abdou Sarr]

Domoda, the best dish in Sukuta,
My mother cooks you every Ajuma
You are the best food in the whole world
Your degeh is thick and your rice hot
I like you with diw-tirr put on top

I wonder who invented you
But whoever it was we are grateful to
Domoda, the best dish in Sukuta,
How happy I am every Ajuma
To go home from school and find you there.

I do Like my Dakhin

[by Serign Korka Jallow]

Some there are
Who quite Prefer
Mbahal with kobo bu laka
But I can say
With great confidence:
I do like my Dakhin.

Then there are those
Who'd trade their nose
For Chuyi Yaapa with Macaroni
But I can say
Without any hesitation:
I do like my Dakhin.

I know people
Who'd never be seen
With anything but Benachin
But I can say
Even woken from sleep:
I much prefer my Dakhin.

Ode to Benachin

[by Sambulai Forster]

Oh thou red dish of the Wolof tribe
Known in other countries as the Jollof rice
Oh thou that brings succor to my hungry days
And doth educate me in the Ancient gastric ways

Benachin Benachin how I love thee
As the bumblebee loves sweetest honey
I do proclaim: the very best food of Heaven
Would not taste half as good as you even

Benachin + Bissab = Happiness

[by Penda Mbye]

Benachin plus Bissab is equals to Happiness
Oh yes I know this formula to be true
Even though our Math teacher Mr Jarju
Never taught this, my friend, to me and you

Benachin is equals to Happiness Over Bissab
Using simple algebra you can prove this
And if you add a glass of Wonjo
Then, my friend, you will be in true bliss

And if you add dahaar to the equation
And a little bit of maggi sauce and some limong
And you eat the whole thing whilst it's steaming
You'll feel so euphoric you will dance and sing a song.


  1. Lol. Got some good laughs.. but really how hungry are you ? I mean what kind of person writes poems for food ? And how come there aint none about Plassas ?

    Oh how I love Plassas
    Life without it is like Ataya with no Kass
    Yes it's true I love Gatorade
    But I love more, the Plassas that Fatima makes

  2. oh one of the biggest things i miss from The Gambia is the food... mmmmmmmmmmmmmm Domoda!!!

    And Bissab! Oh how I miss it!

  3. Anonymous: is that you Jobe? :-)

    deano: ah yes, domoda...

  4. Ok, is that a pen name or is it just by sheer coincidence that "Panda Mbye" wrote about benachin and bissap?

  5. nothing is sheer coincidence ;-)

  6. Mr Jarju lol, Jarju most see this. Amran you most be missing Gambian food, take heart son. lol

  7. Lol this poems are funny, must have been written by really hungry people.