I promised myself to speak about the people we met in Boavista, because we found really valuable persons during our stay.I have beautiful memories of the people we met, which are always a fundamental part of a travel. I always thought that the others could enrich us, our point of view, our values. People from Boavista nowadays are about 14.000: so, you can see that is not really much populated. They have a motto: “No stress”: this is the answer of the locals when you may have any kind of problem: in Caboverde life flow smoothly, peacefully, without laborious rhythm. They’re used to many hitches, for example regarding transports, impassable streets, shops provisionally closed. I must say that in Boavista there’s no hospital, only a doctor on call and an only pharmacy in Sal Rei.
In Boavista everyone knows everybody else well, and often they help each other in the small things of everyday; they share happily food, music, car lifts, and so on. On Sunday there are small groups along the harbour in Sal Rei playing ouril, their typical game: the name cames probably from the tree whose seeds are used to play. Basically it consists in moving continuosly the seeds anticlockwise in the bowls curved in the wooden panel, until one player wins the seeds of the other. (when there is a certain number of seeds in the same bowl)
Life, even with some deprivation on all that daily sort of things, seems a matter of simplicity: they always smile, and children are always playing around in the streets. Children are just beautiful: the little girls, especially, have always the hair gathered in coloured tiny braids, and they wear gaudy clothes – like the colours of some home facades. They were curious about us, and our belongings. It’s difficult not to try to keep contact with them, and also to help them, in someway.
And the elders, with their skin consumed by the sun, the deep wrinkles on their face, and so expressive gazes. These wise old men which went out from their home after lunch, to see us passing by, taking photos, speaking a strange language. They are grateful for what they have, and they share it with dignity: they don’t need all the useless things that continuously surround us. Aware or not about their belongings, they miss nothing because “they do with what they’ve got”.
Right now i’m thinking at one of our guides, Eliseo, which is born and grew up in Boavista, and have a numerous family: one day, returning together by car at our hotel, we asked him if he had never thought of going anywhere else, to see other places in the world. He answered to us: ” Yeah, i thought about it, and some years ago I met a girl who proposed to me to go with her in Italy. But, afterall, I love my country and the people who live here. I know everyone here, and I think that Boavista is a beautiful place to stay, we have the duty to preserve our island. I never had any doubts about wanting to stay: it’s the rest of the world that comes to visit us.”
And Eliseo is right: many people who visit Boavista once, go back in the years, or they end up settling. We met also some italians, which opened commercial activities – restaurants, excursions, ecc…- and a couple of them will get citizenship soon, because they’re in Boavista from more than 10-15 years, working for the community and to safeguard turtles and rare animals. They’re just integrated in society.
“People who travel without meeting the others, are not traveling, they’re just moving.” (Alexandra David-Néel)