If one thing is clear to me, is that Sisaltina Ie has not gone unnoticed. It was a pleasure to AFRICAHUGS to meet her, live in the same house and share with her and her family in Bubaque Island, declared to be interest of biosphere reserved together with other Islands in Bissau.
Those Islands are fully covered by unspoiled beaches, surrounded by delightful environment, all kind of tropical trees and fruits, fresh fish from all kind of sizes and shapes. Then, Cisaltina and her family kindly open their doors of her house.
From here I want to give her an hommage, I would build a sculpture if I could. At the top of my lungs, I would love that African human story to reach every corner of this planet. From every single politician in the international spheres, to Christine Lagarde, to Banki Moon, to those technocrates and lobbies that insist and live from the African charity in United Nations….This woman represents the best example of strength, wisdom, courage, peaceful management and overcoming. On the other side, wild activity, serious and attentive looking when needed, Sisaltina, from the most noticeable humbleness, works hard to give food to 15 members of her family.
We arrived the July 16th 2016 to her place. It was the rainy season. Bubaque and the other islands- Rubani, Angorman, Formosa, Galinhas, Orango Grande, Suga, Carabela…up to 82 if we count small islands—, astonish the visitor due their beauty nature, the amount of palm trees, coconut trees, cashew nuts trees and their pristine and exotic beaches.
Although it rained almost everyday, life had to go on. Children and adults acquired perfect adaptability to the season. Here nature guided their processes, nature determined their changes, nature managed their times. Other than in the West, in Bubaque takes respect of nature, indulge her in every gesture, in every action. While rain did not stop falling down with intensity, its habitants make the most of it. Fully cover buckets to have shower, washing plates and cups, their house, the veranda and many other things.
Sitting in a corner, I pay attention to the activity. Buckets going and coming, kids having shower below the water, like small waterfalls, coming from the roof in the veranda, and I ask myself why we, the West, the ones monopolizing the truth, the ones preaching future and paradigmas in those places, the ones sadly perpetuating the minority of age in Africa, why we do not stop for a while and think about environment, nature and its disastrous management. Recently I heard on TV France that, according to the way of life of USA and Australia, we would need more than 4 planets to keep living. Then, they are the ones giving example when moreover they do not even care.
For all, Africa is a real school itself. The one that the West have already lost many years ago.
Going back to our heroine, Cisaltina Ie, have been struggling against her destiny, her difficulties, her limits, based on the most terrible political and international decisions. Nevertheless, she has been able, saving money like ants, to buy 3 canoes plus one under construction. Besides, she has two water motors plus one more she is thinking to acquire the second week of September. She plans to go to Senegal to buy it. Then, she will pay it step by step.
With only 38 years old, Cisaltina has been able to build her own house in Bubaque Island.
Since I am in Africa, I have met many women, all of them full of energy, strength, courage…for their work and responsibilities. Cisaltina has been the one that most surprised me. She struggles every day in order to have a place in this fishing world of men. What is more, she has several fishermen and canoe captains under her position. She gives them work and pays them their salary.
Since she was a kid, her father took her for fishing the whole day. Sometimes that was in very hard climate conditions. According to her, that was the best school for her future.
In Bubaque, many teenagers and adults go to watch soap operas. They pay entrance fee 50 xfa. Sisaltina knows that going there and watch this implies that your mind will be full of birds, due to the low level of all soap operas. They are like a hobby and do not have any interest at all. She gets angry with her beloved ones go to watch it. They listen to her carefully. She has very clear ideas. Ianiqui and Ianica, her two kids with Lino Sumacre, her current husband, will become doctors. I am more than sure that she will do everything possible to achieve it.
When Sisaltina comes home from port where she works, she has a look at all the domestic animals she owns. Goats, cows and pigs are part of her animal « zoo » she has build next to her house. One of those heavy rainy days, she finds out that one goat has been missing. The 4 kids at home, Ianiqui, the son of Lino with his former wife and two nephews, together with her smallest sister and other family did not notice and also did not pay attention to their responsibilities. Cisaltina becomes angry and tells all the kids, under that heavy unceasing tropical rain, to go and look for the goat. Of course Cisaltina goes with them, and because of experience, She is the one that finds it nearby a field at her home.
We live also with her husband Lino. he has been working 25 years in different hotels and restaurants around the Bubaque and Rubani’s Islands. He has always worked for westerners. Because we, the western world are the ones owning the options to build hotels. Because it is light years away from Bubaque’s people to build one or manage one. Every hotel in the islands are owned by westerners or few senegalese. Never owned by locals. That upset me. One more time, the savage capitalism and vomiting market laws, unfair and inhuman benefit the most one small part of society and throws to the edge the other part.
Lino is full of hope and strength. With her few savings from those years, he has built the structure of what he would like to be a hall for conferences, meetings…Next to this hall, he thought about to have a bar and an internet cafe. Obviously, he lacks financial support. He knows that is not easy, that he fights against a barbaric malicious system, that profits the West, the ones, paradoxically, owning the wealth. Government does give any help and international action is focussed almost totally on charity, because this feeds not that much African people but the « pornocrats » of charity that get paid thousands of dollars sitting in their lazy high-backed chair in Paris and New York or minor ones in Madrid and similar cities.
And AFRICAHUGS keeps showing you examples of African people more than able to manage what they propose, with magnificent ideas, development initiatives for their neighborhood, village, city and country. And again those projects and requests are leaving behind, ostracized by the authorities, by the United Nations, by the OMS, by Europe, Bill Gates or Bono. And I ask to myself, Are they really interested in developing Africa?