Landing in Cape Verde

Since I arrived in Cape Verde, the experience has turned out to be more than what I ever imagined. It began in 2008, December 15th to the 20th.

On that first week all my class schedule was rearranged by the university’s administration, so I could teach 10 hours to each of the three classes.

Plans out the window, I did my best to keep the same amount of energy through each day and each class. It was not as easy as I thought it would be. In the meantime I built a blog from scratch and a wiki to keep in touch with the students.

Quick as this week was, I was back home to spend Christmas and new year with my family.

So you can imagine that I did not have time to visit much of the city. Even though I only had classes in the morning and late afternoon, in between I focused on preparing classes, preparing a few bits and pieces of my masters degree and overall keeping my spirits up.

It’s hard to work and study at the same time. I know that and I tried my best to make sure the students where aware and that the class was motivating enough.

My perspective tells me it was a good week and I believe the students agree. If they don’t, I would be more than happy to know why so I can work harder! (Yes, I know some of you are reading the blog…).

But like I said, it was a fast week. Since returning on the 6th of January, the whole experience changed. Probably because I had more time to assimilate what is going on.

I have been here for two full weeks now, and I felt lost during the first half. And the interesting thing is that I did not know how lost I was until I found focus again.

Take a moment to think about your daily routines: going to work, reading emails, talking on the phone. Now add going shopping, making dinner, doing laundry and everything else that you do without thinking how to.

Now Imagine you did not know how to do any of those things. That’s how I felt.

Origami, Beramar Grill in Cape VerdeI have been living in a hotel, and during the first few days I had to eat at restaurants because I did not know where to find groceries or even pre-cooked food. Roaming charges are high so it wasn’t easy to call home to ease the lingering pain of homesickness (“Saudade” the Portuguese will say). The same goes for internet access.

There are a few cibercafés and in the city square you can find free wifi. But I don’t feel comfortable carrying my laptop everywhere. One of the things I noticed several ads in bus stations telling me I could acquire wireless access to the web over the 3G network. What the ads did not tell me was that I would also have to pay 500 Euros for 500 Mb.

It was only when I met Carla, a friend of a friend, that I began to see Cape Verde and learn my way around. And through her I met several other Portuguese who are in Cape Verde to give their contribution in building the country and the infrastructures it needs.

In the time I have been here I have learned to appreciate little things that in the end make all the difference.

  • Trust and how hard it is to build it;
  • Relationships as part of the added value one can bring to an organisation;
  • Cultural differences and how sharing the same language does not equal sharing parallel Cultures;

If you ever find yourself in a country where you will spend a few weeks or months, take my advice and find a guide. Someone who knows your culture and can help you overcome the small obstacles of day to day life. I just hope you find someone like Carla.

5 thoughts on “Landing in Cape Verde”

  1. Ciao Bruno,

    you have my total support and solidarity. I felt and I am still feeling the same as you when you talk about saudade and homesickness. As foreigners who moved in a foreigner place, it is always the same, when you leave behind the places you were born, the certainties you had, you friends and family, it is normal to be lost.

    Luckily you found Carla and now things will be getting better, I know that. I hope I found someone like Claudia, too, so it would be easier to adapt to a place where I do not belong.

    Take care and break a leg for your adventure!

    Marco

  2. Hi teacher,
    I wish you luck , and, if you need any help you can count on me, even though I am not in my best moment of life, but better days will come.
    As you referred we are at the beginning so, it´s a lit bit hard to deal with. I think that´s the problem. It´s not not lack of interest. I guarantee you.
    Hopeful from now on things will be better. I believe that working together we will get there.

    Regards

    Your student

  3. Hello Bruno.
    I am looking for all the info I can get about Cabo Verde, jobs and life style and found your blog.
    I am also a teacher , living in England, but looking for a sunnier place.
    If you can help me, I would be very grateful.
    I can't find much about jobs, salaries, etc.
    Thanks and good luck in your new life.
    I left Portugal 16 years ago, I know how you feel.
    But it gets better;)

    xx

    1. Hello Dear Bruno,

      How I understand you my Dear Colleague! You have been there some days only! It is normal this kind of feelings, particulary when the expectations are higly than the reality around us and when we have no specific local friendship support.

      Now, I think you can better evaluate my suffering feelings during the course on the last year.

      «Saudade»homesickness is normal when we leave behind us our country, and a routine day based on social life, work, specially, family which is our main support.

      Any way, I think that was an interesting life experience and a good adventure for you. I beleive that you will be landing at Cape Verde for many times in the future. The students of the 1st course on PR and the Public University of Cape Verde (Uni-CV) welcome you with the «morabeza crioula». I have no doubt that you will find more and more Carlas to make you feel better during you stay in Cape Verde.

      I hope that you have much appreciate some traditional food as «cachupa», «caldo de peixe» or only the special «pexi di terra» at the Beira-mar Grill…

      Is not necessary to tell you how much pleasure I’ll be to wellcome you on you next mission at Praia and I assure you that the «saudades» of your day life in Lisbon will be much less.

      Once, again, Congratulations for the good work you have done in Cape Verde and for the interesting blog. Good luck in your professional life!

      Best Regards

      Arlinda

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