Arriving in Cabo Verde… Again

After my first trip to Cabo Verde, the plan was always to come back for the long haul, so that I have time to set up the project me and my Cabo team had in mind… things didn’t quite go the way I expected them to, but they worked out either way, as right now I’m sitting at a Pão Quente in the middle of Praia writing this story.

What got me here was my drive to make things happen. After my Cabo team left for Cabo Verde without me in December, I was looking at ways in which we could finance our project abroad… my plan was to go there with more than just my own money invested. In January I contacted one of the organizers of the Agro-Tourism program we joined in October. I asked for sources of finance but instead got offered a job with an agricultural project happening just outside of Praia. I sent my CV and left the connection cold for a month…

During this time, I started looking at other jobs more because my horeca work wasn’t getting the amount of hours I needed and I wanted some stability… I started flirting with the idea of getting a part-time office job somewhere. Through craving a change in my life, I gave a shot at reconnecting again with the Agro-Tourism program coordinator and received a reply soon after, giving me the details of the contact person for the job directly. I didn’t hesitate to call and had a good first talk over the phone. It already felt like this could be a great opportunity. We arranged a meeting the week after where I would visit the Dutch side of the Capeverdian/Dutch joint-venture in Aalsmeer.

My first meeting went well. They said they were looking for someone who had a Dutch mentality and could help communicate and coordinate the running of the greenhouse. My past experiences with Permaculture complimented with my BSc in International Business Administration seemed to be the kind of skill set they were looking for in a candidate. They seemed impressed by the fact that I attended university and that I chose to dive into agriculture as my field of interest out of a business background. During the first talk, I was told I could potentially be flying by the end of March…

The job itself also perfectly complimented what I wanted to achieve with the project I have with my Cabo team. They had infrastructure we could use, the same target market and other skills and connections that would prove useful. I was stoked on the match between me and the company. If I could get myself financed on the ground in Cabo Verde, we’d already be off to a good start.

After the second interview in Rotterdam, things seemed to be starting to solidify more. I was shown pictures of the greenhouse and schematics of the systems used. Even though I have minimal technical expertise, reading a manual and listening to instructions from HQ would get me a long way. I’m pretty decent at building IKEA furniture and constructing LEGO systems anyway. Same thing but bigger I figure. After this, I was told I could be flying be the end of next week… that escalated quickly.

Throughout this time, I didn’t communicate my progress with my Cabo team. Once I did, it came as a bit of a shock because it came out of an unexpected corner. I had to work at reestablishing trust and communicating my actions better. I made an independent executive decision and even though I felt like I made the right choice, it would’ve been better to include my partner earlier on. Anyway you look at it though, getting someone else to finance my stay here is a definite win factor.

With a lot of questions about the how and what of my job in Cabo Verde, I scheduled another appointment in Aalsmeer… I also ended up signing a contract in this meeting and driving up and down to Rotterdam to collect stuff I’d want to send over with a container. Everything happened with a flow.

On my way to Rotterdam I had a moment of excitement in the car where I couldn’t quite believe how this was all happening so smoothly and that I was actually getting a huge step closer to my goal in Cabo Verde. I tend to even out my excitement however, as I want to keep a cool head so I can make clear and conscious decisions.

In Rotterdam, I had to figure out what I was going to take with me then and there. I started collecting some items I thought would be useful and too bulky for airplane transport. Mostly things that would give me some of the comforts of home, such as books, sporting stuff and kitchen items. I worked on the assumption that everything is scarce in Cabo Verde so I’d rather bring too much than too little.

Filling up about 5 boxes, I eventually made my way back to Aalsmeer with the car they gave me to collect my things. That weekend I made another trip to add some more items to shipment before the container left on monday.

My contract would start on April 1st so anytime before that would be a good time to get me in Praia. They missed the initial date I was supposed to fly (25th of March) but I was glad, because it gave me time to tie up some loose ends in Holland. I felt like everything happened fast, but not too fast. It just happened fast enough.

I was able to find potential renters for my room, have my sister come visit, register in the town I was born in and empty my room all in the last week. I didn’t allow myself to feel stress through any of it, and if I did, I’d just take 5 and carry on later. “No Stress, Cabo Verde” is right.

Entering this new chapter felt like the natural thing to do. Even though I had moments of excitement, I felt pretty normal throughout… like I couldn’t have seen it going any other way. I was going go get here sooner or later and I guess the universe helped aspire to make it sooner rather than later.

I will blog about my flight and first day later because I’m kind of wrecked now… met a contact from the last time I was here and basically got a guide for my stay. Kind of felt like Anthony Bourdain. But like I said, will blog about it later. Will try to keep it posted.


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