Friday, 31 August 2007

New Life In Africa

You maybe wondering what happened with our life in Portugal after our business venture of 3 years was terminated ...

Life was calm & quiet for a month until hubby got another proposal for work.( He was´nt keen on embarking on board ships again )This was a different venture, proposal to managed an import/export business of an acquiantance here in lisbon.To our mind,the offer looks promising, a new venture in Africa!!!

The job offer is for us to be relocated in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, and start work as soon as possible. Salary offer was not as good as hubby usually receive when he embarks on board a ship but a fully furnished house w/ electricity & water bill is also provided.This time, money did´nt matter so much. To our mind,new country, new venture,we´ll give it a try!

Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa and one of the smallest nation in continental Africa.Formerly the Portuguese colony of Portuguese Guinea and upon independence in 1973 the name of the capital Bissau was added to its name to prevent confusion between itself & the Republic of Guinea.

Hubby went to Guinea-Bissau in June 1994, I have to stay behind again to organize things at home as there will be no one to take care of it this time,water, electricity,telephone & gas bills,i have to request our cleaning lady to do it for us.

After a month I followed hubby in Bissau, he was still living in a nice small hotel in the city.A week later, we already found a place to live, a duplex bungalow in the middle of the "tabangca´s"(native house of the locals) as there were no house available where most "white" population lives. I say white because its how the locals call us ,even little kids would greet us & call us "branco" (white). I find it strange & at the same time funny how this segration of people colors started.

My first encounter of the "estivadores"...young locals working for the company that load & unload the sacks of rice from the ship to the trucks & from the truck loads to the warehouse, from the warehouse again to deliver truckloads.
They were at the service truck on their way to the warehouse to pick up hubby, for me not to be left alone in the hotel i went with hubby..The locals when they saw me jokingly made their remarks that I understood...They said,O "velho" (old man)has a young wife!!Hubby just answered them "Im only 4 yrs older than my wife, if she looks younger than her age its not her fault, so behave & show respect,ok?" That kept them quiet.. They were like little kids being reprimanded by their dad.

The warehouse is situated in the middle of the many ricefield in the area. It was rainy season at the time, we were bouncing up & down on our seats while passing a rough rugged road full of big holes along the way, pleasant perfume of the ricefield fill our nostrils, i saw one woman with a wide handy net fishing in the ricefield.A beautiful early morning sight for me!I always like the perfume of the ricefield early in the morning, made me wish i was in my hometown where we also plant rice in our farm.

I spent the day in the warehouse helping hubby with paper works. On our way back to the hotel after dropping the workers in one place near the "Banding"market. We got into a road where we did´nt know there was an electoral campaign from one favorite candidate opposing the current President.The big wide asphalted road was occupied by people who suports their favorite candidate,singing,dancing while moving towards our transport.Hubby was driving a Mitsubishi Canter..suddenly the people were all around us, some were at the window side,others jump into the back of the car, although they were not doing anything violent except to manifest their joy, seing hundreds or more people sourounding the truck made us both nervous until somebody called their attention and left us to go on our way..

That was my first experience in Africa, on my first day.....

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