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Relationships in Gambia
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Introduction:
In Gambia male & female relationships are mostly  initiated by men. This is done either directly or indirectly using a third party. Usually people start dating in their teens, although in the rural areas courting can begin earlier than that.

People date and go out more or less freely with each other in the urban area, while in the rural areas things are much more controlled because the community is very small. Young people dating do not physically express their love in public except at parties or when they are amongst people their own age.


As a woman, don't be surprised if a man comes and tells you he loves you; that is how it is done. If a man approaches a woman then no matter how long the conversation the words 'nobb' or 'sop' may come up. The word actually means "like" but very often they are mistranslated by local people who think it means "I love you", but actually it means "I like you". Gambian men who approach you will rarely take a 'no' for a 'no'. They'll try at least two more times before giving up. To make your life easier, do not take it personally when men insist so much. Gambian women, even when they are very interested, will always start by declining your amorous advances both to test the pretender's determination, and to show that they are not an easy prey.

However, other relationships may be platonic; this may be co-workers, neighbours etc, who are friends and may visit each other quite often, although this sometimes may result in a physical relationship. Sexual matters are discussed among peers of the same sex group.

Gambian men are very friendly with women, and while you will be eager to meet new people and make friends, be aware that Gambian women may interpret your reactions toward male solicitation in a way that you never intended. If you find that you are overwhelmed with unwanted male attention, try to use humour to diffuse the situation or to exit it without incurring bad feelings. Humour is used in many situations in Gambia, and it can be a very effective tool to communicate difficult messages without insulting people.


Contraceptives are is  used among some young girls to prevent pregnancy, but again it is used more in the urban than rural areas due to illiteracy, poverty and lack of accessibility.


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