Through the gate, I glanced at species of plants I had never seen before obstructed by the canopies of small tents erected in preparation for Childrenâ€™s Day.
This was during the first two days I spend in Cape Verde Africa. The climate is exceptionally dry here and the region has been riddled by bouts of drought and, historically, famine as well. Today, the region has been transformed into a center of trade and tourism attracting visitors from Portugal and France. The Republic of Cape Verde is part of an archipelago of ten islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Western Africa.The originally uninhabited volcanic islands were colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century and played a crucial role in the Atlantic Slave Trade. This video shows excerpts of the diverse ecosystems that can be found on the island.
The paths were paved in dry earth. As you walk, your feet kick the small stones raising a cloud of dust. Through the dust, you can see pyramidal forms… a skate park. One child rushed with his roller blades up the nearest incline only to lose momentum and land spread-eagled midway in his journey. Later, near the center of the market we observed small restaurants situated within a single rectangular room constructed of wood. Others were in boxcars. We sat down at one of the plastic tables obnoxiously boasting the namebrand of Coca-Cola. Alain ordered some beverages. Then, we began to draw taking notice of the assorted electronics, vestiges of I phones, and bundles of wires that hung from the wooden shack adjacent to us. A group of men that Alain initially believed to be from Senegal informed us that they were actually Nigerian. They asked for portraits after discovering that we were art students. As we drew, a massive group of women and children began to gather round. You could hear exclamations of “ooo,” and ‘bien,’ ‘bom,’ within the rapid out flux of Portuguese and expressive hand gestures. A toddler stood transfixed for Allison, lifting his shirt to expose his belly that curved outward as if to emphasize his rotund belly button. As she drew, he watched intently with a toothy grin struggling to see the sketchbook above just above his eye level.