‘Living amazing people out there. Maybe they don’t have money but they have gorgeous heart. They are so much welcome people we never see before.’
We decided last minute to go to Guinea Bissau. In the beginning we wanted to go Valera. They said it really nice place. We stayed 4-5 days in Casamace region, Senegal. They are similar. Therefore We ride directly to capital city, Bissau. After search a little we wanted to go Bolama but we couldn’t find that much info to where we can stay and what we can do. We took our camping stuff and some food with us. We leaved motorcycle in Bissau. We wanted to use local transportation and see more things.
We went to port of Bissau to some info about Bolama canoe. You have to option to go Bolama. First option; they have direct canoe to the island on Tuesday and turn back on Friday. We paid 5.000 CFA for it both of us. Other option is go to Enxude by ferry and than take a truck to Sao Joao. After that take a little canoe to Bolama.
We went to the canoe Tuesday morning. One soldier and another man came. He started to read our names and the soldier gave us life jacket and made sure tied. Most Local people don’t know how they can swim. If it is so wave people can drop down to the sea and die. After a big accident they started to do that.
They carry everything in the canoe that is so big and so deep. All stuff and people go in but most people sit around the canoe. 3 hours journey and to WC. They were selling some drinks and cookies. They were talking, laughing, eating and helping each other and also trying to talk with us. They can speak Portuguese and I can speak a little Spanish. Of course, they were so curios because we were the only tourists in the canoe. J When I was talking with Ferry to what we will do there one person started to English who name is Sana. We were surprise. He said that He went to Spain 16 years ago and couldn’t come back again to visit his family until now. After told a while He invited us to his village.
We arrived to Bolama but we didn’t sure that we should go with him or look a place. When we looked around we figure out very fast that not easy to find a spot to wild camping or a hotel stay in. At the same time we know some kind of guesthouse They have. If we ask we could find it. At this moment Sana came next to us and said that lets go! Ok, Lets go, we can camp next to village and if we don’t like we can turn back. When we were walking together he was showing us old Portuguese houses and explain what they were. He was also talking almost every body on the road.
When we arrived to the village He explain something about us who we are and why we want to see Bolama. (They were so much welcome. I just want to give a tip: we are calling it a village but they are big family. Grandmother and father went there made a house. After that their kids got married and most of them stayed there and have family. Therefore in the village everybody knows each other. They are brother, sister, cousin, brother-law…etc. Most village stories is same in West Africa. ) They were talking each other where we can stay. We said that we have our tent with us So, we can open the tent anywhere. They really got upset for that. Sana’s middle brother who is a Portuguese teacher, He said please stayed with us. They gave a room and room key.
Everybody was coming to the home to say hello and welcome to their village. We asked to WC where we can go. Nobody wanted to talk. We already know that African toilets so, we needed only privacy. They said sorry and show a place, which is around close, and they have a hole in the ground. We just smile and said thank you. We saw their face was already getting relaxed.
They decided cut a chicken for us to dinner for welcome. We already so much appreciate what were doing. Just we can eat what they will eat. But no way! This is for guest and we are guests. They cooked it and put all of them in our room. What was going on? Sana said that all for guests just to say welcome. We wanted to eat together how they are eating everyday. Finally, They were agreeing with us. Sat to the ground with your hand. It was amazing feeling to do that.
Next day morning, we woke up 5 am to see fisherman coming home, Sana’s brother include with all fresh fish.
Sana introduced us them. After that they wanted to give us some fish to welcome. They are unbelievable friendly people. We waited them to see how they collect fishnet.
We started to walk back to the village. First we went to see cashew. We never had seen before. They showed us cashew fruits and how we can eat it.
Also when we went to village they cooked cashew for us. Normally, I don’t like cashew but I understood fresh one is so nice. 🙂
We were so tired. So, we wanted to get rest. We didn’t close to door If they need something They can take easily. I suppose that we faint in the bed. We didn’t hear any noise when we were sleeping. When we woke up we saw a lot of food on the table. Almost how many house they have in the village they cooked something for us. I tried to keep tears on my eyes. They don’t have money but they have a heart, which you never compare with money or something else. All was fish and rice. But it didn’t important. What they were doing it was incredible. How could we eat all? We said Sana to wanted to share everybody. He said first we needed to eat a little from each pan after that we could share because all food came for to say welcome.
Afternoon we walked around the island a little more. Went to some markets. We wanted to buy something for house. You can’t be surprise the answer: No! If we need something they can buy or cook for us. Ok, can we buy something for kids? We like the answer: Yes! We bought a lot of cookies, candies and gave to Sana. We didn’t want to call kids in front of us and give it. Sana distributed kids in the village. We didn’t know that he said from us because kids came to us and said thank you.
The weather was so hot. Therefore in the afternoon chill out time for them. Ferry went with the man to sit under the big mango trees.
I went to a house with woman. Good thing is body language works very well. 🙂
In the village, only one house has television and generator. It was a football match on the TV. A lot of people came to the house to watch.
Also people were coming in the night to charge their phone. All kids were playing in front of the house because they have light only here.
We stayed there two nights. When we were leaving we were thinking totally different about life and culture. It was amazing to know that we have people like that in the world somewhere. They walked with us until begin of the village and said bye to us.
It was Thursday. So, we didn’t have direct canoe to Bissau. We wanted to take long road to see more things around. We went to the port of Bolama and waited a little canoe to pass Sao Joao. If the canoe has enough people they can leave at the same time. We paid 700 CFA to two. We asked how we could go to Enxude. They told us that a truck is coming to pick up people soon. We wait 10 minutes and the truck show up. Which is 1.000 CFA each. In the beginning it was ok because less people. We need to go 30 kilometers which is almost 2,5 hours. The road was really bad and they have a lot of little village or houses on the road. They wanted to get on the truck because only one truck was going to Enxude to catch the boat for Bissau. The truck could take maximum 20 people but almost 30 people and some of them were trying to stand. Also has a lot of stuff. It was so hard journey for us. But it was amazing experience to see people behavior. The truck was full and more people wanted to go on. They were helping each other to carry stuff or kids. Who was standing they were trying to give more space for them and keeping their hand to didn’t fall down.
We arrived to Enxude 15 minutes earlier than the ferry. Actually, we were thinking that other canoe was coming like Bolama canoe. It wasn’t. It is a big ferry which you can carry your motorcycle as well. Unfortunately, you can’t do that because the tide is too much. Sea level is so low in Bissau and Ferry arriving or living next to other ferry. Therefore you need to carry your motorcycle ferry to ferry in Bissau. One way ticket is 1.500 CFA for a person.
After all day trip, we turned back to Bissau. We were so tired. We just took 5 minutes canoe, 30 kilometers truck journey and 2 hours ferry. 🙂 We got rest in Bissau one day more and than leaved from Bissau to Guinea Conakry. And we choose a road, which is a big challenge.