giovedì 9 febbraio 2012

Ilha de Canhabaque

Canhabaque was the island we visited as our first excursion, no doubt it confirmed that unless you can spend a lot of money in fast private boats 'we could NOT), you have to rely on unreliable, cheap public pirogue transport which means long delays in the best cases and no exact timetable. That can be another great African feature;"take it easy and slow because there is no need and no point in rushing". We waited more than 3 hours for the pirogue coming with the right tide then slowly we approached to the big Canhabaque island, we left some passengers to the first beach just to discover later on that the first engine was gulping and suffering until it definitively "died". The crew then put the second engine but when they realized that it could expire in the same way suggested that we return to the second beach, we jumped down in a waist level seawater and brought slowly our backpacks in a marvellous crimson sunset sandy beach, just like a few lucky alives after a shipwreck.
But the adventure had just started, in fact we had to walk in Canhabaque forest under our tiny headlamps and under the great moonlight, for more than 1 hour. Finally we got to Ndiema village where Esteve, on his wheelchair, welcomed us and the food we brought him, prepared clean accommodations for us and for our english and French buddies and gave the rice and the canned mackerels (so disappointed that they do so little  fishing and agriculture here, the result is a potbely in almost all the younger kids, a bad nutrition result). We put our fleabags in small; dark, tented rooms provided with hardstraw mattress and a hole on the clay walls that let the fire heat enter in the rooms. As soon as we refreshed with a typical African shower made of water buckets, and just outside some small strange straw cages for the hens that I later discovered were the "fenced cages" that prevented the poor animals to be swallowed by one of the many pytons of this island.
As soon as we settled to have a chat with Esteve, one of the few portuguese speakers of Canhabaque, we had been surrounded, folded, invaded, pressed, merged, absorbed by a huge crowd of beautiful kids whose main goal was to have a look at the newcomers "brancos", to have a stroke, to touch their strange hair, to keep their hands, to show them their school, their lovely forest "disco", their natural coal process, their hability in forest rat hunting, their bitter-taste cola fruit harvest method. No privacy was left there and one of the english guy suffered it to the death, probably it was not easy at all to do everysingle gesture with all these wild children, but I do loved them. Some girls were even wearing their traditional tree bark miniskirts only and Esteve, half joking and half serious, offered us to arrange a wedding with one of the local girls...for me he suggested a sweety 4 yers old child, well at least I still have some more years of "celibataire3 travels ehehehe 

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