Late in the Gambian nighttime, one man and his apprentice are hard at work to make sure their town will be happy when the sun rises. They are kneading tapalapa, the quintessential West African baguette, typically made with a range of grains.
Amadou Jallow, owner of One Loaf bakery in Serrekunda, near the Gambian capital of Banjul, describes the hard work to keep his passion alive while facing growing commodity and labour costs.
“We are less into the profit, so that we can keep our apprentices with something. But the project is mainly to help young people, to develop skills and also to concern the community making affordable bread for them as we know the strikes [baker’s strikes which have taken place to increase prices despite the Gambian government opposing increases of basic commodity prices] is too much in the Gambia.” Jallow, the tapalapa baker and founder of ‘One Loaf’ bakery said.
A few months ago, after he stopped studying to be a nurse, Amadou opened his own bakery, with the idea of attracting other young people to the trade and training them- men and women.
Suleyman Cham, is an apprentice baker with him.
“Unfortunately, many youths, they have a bad perspective about the bakery because they thought that baking is for people who are droup-outs in the school. But the time I was introduced to baking by my brother Amadou, I tried to understand that baking is science, definitely a bio-science.” Cham says.
Many people in his community of Bundung, a district of greater Banjul, are already interested in Amadou’s project, which may inspire new vocations in the future.