A few meters ahead, the dense woods barely cut by the stubbornly denominated “principal road”, opens in an immense clearing of life and lives. Old, less old, youngs and children stroll for all the area. My eyes still adapting to the sudden change of landscape, fixated on an enormous house, omnipresent to the all surrounded space. By the architectonic lines noticeably colonial and the central positioning to all the space – habitual in all the boondocks plantations of S. Tomé – rapidly identifiable as the old Administration House of the plantation. First the thought crosses my mind that perhaps the misfortune of a fire has taken it’s dignity of other times. Then, I understand it’s unusual appearance is just consequence of the extreme and profound degradation accumulated during the last 40 years.
My shock accentuates when I notice, regardless the degradating conditions, the total insecurity of the structure and the complete failure of habitability conditions, that giganteus colonial house is still a crowded space, shelter to many families and the center of the lives of the ones insisting on making it their home.
I’m brought to reality by a voice by my side whispering to me that “in the premises the scenery is even worse”. It’s hard to believe, but this time I don’t question no more the veracity of that statement; I limit myself to shake my head in a contained disapproval of what my eyes are witnessing. Presented with such human and physical degradation, I interiorize countless times the fated questions: what happen that was so grave this past four decades that contributed to such soulless degradation able to take over these people? What events have contributed to socially and economically isolate these communities on the lands of S. Tomé & Principe? Why did, contrary to the Cape-Verdeans emigrations to other latitudes, these, to the archipelago of the equator, have such miserable outcome?
in Heirs of the Slavery