In the end, it’s always about the people
São Tomé is a paradisiac African island. With its own vibe arises passion and hate! On what concerns to my feelings, theisland took my heart away.
It’s not yet one of those popular destinations among backpackers, and before I traveled a lot of people tried to convince me that going as an adventurer and not a tourist would be impossible. I didn’t care! As much as possible, we decided to live and travel as a local.
A week after arriving, I moved to a new town, and for my surprise, I could see the ocean from my bed, but there was no beach.
The scenario was: no car, nothing to do, no places to go, no beach around, except for one 3km away in which we were told we had to pay 15€ each to get in.
Trying to figure out what to do, we found a sort of a grocery store, asked for beers, bread, and sat at a corner. When I asked about the payed beach, Bakero, the owner, told me that there was a free way of gettingin. “There is another path, for the fisherman and their people.” I felt butterflies in my stomach, but he declared, “You won’t make it, you don’t know the way.”
I suggested we would be able to find it, when he had an idea: “I’m closing the shop and taking you to the beach!”
We tried to refuse, but he was determined. I was busy with my thoughts, “Why?”, when my boyfriend explained me that the guy was driving each one of us at a time, in his motorcycle.
Got it? He closed his shop to take perfect strangers to the beach, and he had to do the way three times!
Although we had only a small pack of old cookies for an entire day with us that fact that we were at a magnificent beach, right in the middle of this amazing planet, driven by a local, through unknown roads, made us feel so blesses. It was way beyond anything we could ever dream of.
We chose a shadow, avoiding the vudu masks, went a couple of times to the water and started playing cards. Soon six kids joined the game. Until today we don’t know exactly how to play their game, but no one seemed to care.
For our astonishment, Bakero was back. He bought us mangos since he knew we didn’t have much to eat. It’s hard to express how I still feel every time I think about that day, I’ll be forever grateful to this man.
By the end of the day, when we walked back, we stopped at his shop. Nothing can ever really pay what this stranger did to us. For that, he is no longer a stranger, he is part of that large family that we gain if we open our hearts to the world.