My Cape Verdian "adventure" started long before the actual trip to the island of Santiago, but as the flight was getting nearer so was my anxiety, particularly because of the overweight, which I eventually managed to evenly distribute between Noëlle and my own bags, having therefore (with a little help from a friend, I must confess) been able to take it all with no apparent problems.
We reached Praia at around two in the morning and to our surprise went through customs with no difficulties. We checked in at Residencial Santa Maria, gone three o'clock in the morning and were given a rather special bedroom with Nho Antony Denti d'Oro (a well known musician), whose image overlooked our double bed. I felt honoured to be in such company, even if it wouldn't last but for a few hours once we were expecting the bus provided by the Mayor of Calheta de São Miguel to drive us there very early in the morning.
As we were waiting for the transport the following morning I noticed the Hotel administration had changed quite a few of the entrance hall paintings, having added a tapestry representing the "batuko" dance.
We ended up having to hire a taxi to take us to Calheta due to a misunderstanding regarding our arrival. We were lucky to have found a taxi that risked taking us and such a huge amount of baggage though, otherwise we wouldn't have made it in time for the children o Calheta's Carnival parade.
Mafalda Duarte, being the head teacher of the local school held the children till we arrived, so we were able to follow the parade right from its beginning. The theme was around the children's human rights - from being entitled to medical assistance (the children in nurse-like apparel) to food (children dressed up in red and green, as well as yeallow and green depicting vegetables and fruit and culture (the ones dressed up in traditional costumes).
Among the young children participating in the parade I tried to locate some of the ones I know and was taking presents to, such as Ismael, Herber, Adilson, Edeson, Aniza, Leidina, Elizandro, Lara and Joel. They seemed very proud of what they were doing and I was really impressed by their parade and dancing skills.
Aniza (left) and Herber (right).
Ismael and Jamilson (left). Jamilson (right).
Leidina (last on the right )
Joel (second on the right).
Edeson (first on the left).
Elizandro (left) and Herber (right).
As the parading groups made it onto the main road heading towards Veneza village (to further come back, which would take around two hours), Noëlle and I decided we had seen enough and got back to the pension, we had left the luggage at, so as to check-in and start unpacking the presents for the children and have them organised by gender and age groups ready for the afternoon distribution.
We were very impressed with what we saw and the work which must have undoubtedly been carried out behind the scenes prior to te actual parading stage.