A River Runs Through It

LAURENT EMMANUEL

STANDOFF: A Gambian ferry employee watches as a ship leaves for Senegal on the River Gambia

As the sun slides behind a verdant neem tree and the scorching heat of the late afternoon eases a few degrees, the last ferry pulls away from the bank of the River Gambia. Normally, the rusting blue barge would be packed with people and vehicles, while the road that runs up to the river would teem with taxis and trucks, traders shouting for business and farmers herding cows and donkeys. But this afternoon, the Gambian port of Farafenni is a ghost town. Bereft of customers, traders are closing their shops, pulling down corrugated shutters and tugging on the padlocks to make...

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