compound in Gambia means a collection of accommodations
round a centrally situated main residence, occupied
by members of the same family, or related by blood
or marriage within a joint fence. A compound usually
comes into being because someone settles to live on
his own, for example as a result of the existence
of farmland. He buys, gets or inherits a piece of
land and builds a fence around it.
In the course of time a small house comes into being
that is rebuild into a larger house later. Children
who get married settle within the same fence, build
a house fixed to it, or build their own house somewhere
else on the terrain.
The responsibility for the maintaining family co-operation
and communal co-operation is with the head of the
household who is usually the oldest male. The smaller
parts of a compound are referred to as sinkiro and
Like the one you will be inhabiting, compounds are
the main style of housing in The Gambia. Compounds
generally consist of a wall or fence enclosing several
buildings that face an outdoor communal area used
for sitting, eating, doing laundry, playing, saying
prayers, and every other activity taking place outside.
Immediate families, such as a wife and her children,
often occupy individual buildings or parts of a building
with separate entrances, with the larger extended
family sharing the compound as a whole. Sometimes
rooms or entire compounds are rented out to a small
or newly formed family.