Verdeans: Merchant migrants

The Portuguese discovered Cape Verde in 1456 and brought slaves from adjacent West Africa to work on Portuguese plantations. As a result, many Cape Verdeans are “mulattoes”, having biracial origins. The Spanish word “mulato,” which, in turn, originates from the word “mula,” or mule—the offspring of a horse and a donkey. What’s new about History, the derogatory terms they used and may I add some still use today.

It was easy for me to feature an image of a beautiful Cape Verdian woman with her beautiful big smile and her bright lipstick, but there is so much more to her beauty, she works everyday serving tourists that come into her shop and only gets paid a wage if they buy the extra liqueur she markets as apart of her stock. Many women in Cape Verde are working women, usually providing for the family to survive.

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“Please I can’t feed my child tonight help me it has been a tough day for me” cries this Senegalese woman selling little trinkets she made and pleads desperately, and the genuine heartfelt need for her to make money for her child is apparent. Sadly desisted by this tactic of selling, many westerners, although awkward find it easy to walk away or ignore such a plea.

Merchants from neighboring African countries come to sell their merchandise and many are marketing on the growing tourist industry in Boa Vista. This endless cycle of merchants and migrants that come and reshape the culture and landscape are all apart of the ever changing economy. We move where money moves, equally it was exciting to see a culture before the money hungry settlers (mostly Westerners) congest this beautifully vacant island.

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“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…” – Prince Caspian.

C.S Lewis was right there, the small changes make a big difference in the end and my hope for Boa Vista, is that they will not loose sight of what a big difference there little island is making through its people.

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