End of May Update

It´s been a bit quiet on the blog. A lot´s been happening in all aspects of life here.

With work, I´ve started taking more responsibility for the project I´m undertaking. Before, it was routinely scheduled when workers would come, and the work was sort of set. Now, I´m in charge of everything, which includes who gets to work, when work is scheduled and what needs to happen. It was actually like this since the beginning, although I´ve only just recently begun to realize it more, because I have been taking care of personnel and cost administration more, and the project has been morphing into a different stage, which requires a lot more of a hands on presence, micromanaging many tasks.

Greenhouse.jpgI´ve got a standard of 11 workers that I´m working with. I know all of them by name and aware of their general personality traits. In my head, I also rank people in terms of military rank to make it clearer for me to understand whom I can give responsibility to do what. There are some who need clear instructions and guidance from their colleagues (Privates), whereas others combine what I say with their own know how of the job or have specific talents or skills (PFCs, Corporals). At the moment, I´m missing a Sergeant although I´m giving specific Corporals extra responsibility, and see them as capable team leaders. The assumption here is that I´m Lieutenant/Platoon Commander but since I´m missing a Sergeant, I´m also taking on this responsibility and divide the squad into 2 or 3, sometimes 4 teams. Today was actually a day where I used the idea of teams much better and had 4 teams of 2-3 people working on specific tasks: 3 were digging a channel for the insect netting, 2 were drilling some new profiles for film security, 2 prepared concrete foundations for the door, and 2 helped me with laying out and setting up the irrigation system. The last two tasks were new so I had to be on point with this to give clear instructions and facilitate progress. I enjoy it 🙂 

I do a lot of observation of group dynamics to see how subgroups solve problems. I´m starting to make more clear cut decisions on who does what as I notice that sometimes, a 2 person job gets done by 4 people, so I split them up, and give them other jobs. Constantly, I also have to look for different projects we can work on when the wind is too much or there are bottlenecks with other projects. I write everything down, from Plan A to Plan Z, to random thoughts that pop up in my head. I´m proud of the progress we´ve made though.

Last week, I had a 6-day workweek behind me, which sometimes really drains my energy. I was feeling low energy in the middle of the week, which my Portuguese teacher noticed since I was being ´boring´ that day. Working from 8:00 to 17:00 every day and then Portuguese class from 18:00 to 19:30 sometimes gets a bit too much. In addition, because I was initiating many new projects, I had to spend energy figuring stuff out whilst micro managing some of the new projects we´ve commenced. It´s good to take a break from it all sometimes… and I´ve had some good breaks.

I really enjoy the lifestyle in Cape Verde. I realize I belong to the well off part of society here, which I´m grateful for, and try to live consciously from moment to moment. What bothers me is that some people have to beg for food here. I´m mostly angry at society for the fact that we have this problem rather than the people themselves. A couple of times already, I´ve gone into the store to specifically buy food for needy people camping outside the supermarket. Collectively, we need to look for a solution to this problem. I´m glad there´s an organization (Centro de Ajuda) which stood outside the supermarket as well once to accept food donations from people. I personally prefer to support an organization like this than to individually try to cater for the people looking for a handout because organizations have a lot more power, and can target a larger segment of society to try to alleviate this collective societal problem. I would like to find out more about what the organization does so I can direct the people on the street towards this place as well.

My free time has been good. I´ve had a couple of good planned events that I´ve joined this month including Capoeira in Santa Cruz and Tarrafal and the Gamboa Festival in Praia.

Capoeira Santa Cruz

Capoeira Tarrafal

Gamboa

On other times, I´ve enjoyed my time on the beach, working out and relaxing, learning some capoeira, taking a yoga class and practicing my martial arts. I´ve been around good people, who inspire and make me feel good in their presence, all in their own unique way. Love is bigger than the infatuation of a single individual, and more about leaving your heart and mind open. I find that opportunities of love come in surprising forms sometimes, and leaving yourself open to the possibilities and going with your gut can really create some beautiful experiences. It’s ok to feel a certain love for someone though, but that doesn’t mean denying other people their love. Giving people trust and clearly and openly communicating relieves much of one´s own insecurities, and its sometimes surprising how well others respond to your requests. Having the guts to ask and having the guts to go after your feelings have rewarded me several times in multiple ways. It´s sometimes scary to risk your feelings so openly, but the path to love has to conquer fear. I find that it´s better to fail, than to live in purgatory.

Having patience, giving space and encouraging the people around you to follow their heart attracts more love in turn. Don´t fear being alone, because again, love has to conquer fear. Being patient with people is one of the cornerstones of living in Cape Verde… everything just goes at a slower pace here, and even though unreliability is sometimes a real pain in the ass, learn to laugh at it and roll with the situation. Give people space to find the answers within themselves. Trust the universe, because if it´s meant to be, it´ll manifest. The only thing you can do is love with everything you´ve got, directing that love all around you. Some people are just more in tune with the love you´re broadcasting than others. Stay in tune with yourself, and follow what´s in your heart. Stay open, stay honest and go after what you want.

I´m in a good place right now. I hope to continue on this way and look forward to staying in Cape Verde for the coming period. Even though there are many great things happening in Holland, I´m glad I am where I am. It´s exactly what I need right now. There are so many opportunities for my spiritual growth here. I´m constantly being put in situations I´ve never been in before and the leadership position I´m in has nurtured the growth of that aspect of my personality. Still waiting for aspects of my own business to manifest but it´s only been the end of month 2… there´s plenty of time to kick start what we need to when the time is ripe. We´re also getting closer to finishing off our first greenhouse so next month should be exciting, also with the container shipment coming in soon. Hope to update some more and see you on the other side!

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Posted in Cabo Verde, Enterprise, Iemke, Music, Personal Development | 1 Comment

Roof Build

The week’s been easy going yet intense. There are moments of lots of rest and moments where everything is happening at the same time.

The beginning of the week started easy with me coming back from Assomada where there should’ve been capoeira but the guys postponed it so just spent the day eating and chilling until sunset, when I went back to Praia.

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After Assomada, I had a chilled out monday as I was going into town for immigration but it got postponed until Wednesday. I planned to attempt the roof construction on Thursday as wind was forecasted to be optimal for our operation. I was required to be more ‘on top’ of my guys and could’ve been more clear on stopping work. On the otherhand, there’s definitely a principal-agent problem at play here since, even though I want to do my job as best as possible, there was no incentive for me to stop the guys from working since I am not directly responsible for capital. Stopping work could’ve saved money but I felt like it wasn’t my responsibility. This also included ensuring that our machine was picked up by the company renting it out. I figured, if you stop paying, they’ll act accordingly but apparently I should’ve been chasing after this issue more. I’m still learning anyway, and figuring out my role and responsibility as I can only work with direct feedback.

Either way, the real work was only going to get started on Thursday. I had a nice get together on Monday evening with Tuesday being a quiet workday, only really needing to come in for a discussion on progress. Wednesday was immigration day when I finally got my visa sorted and tried to look for necessary tools in town. Thursday was the big day…

Working with 10 guys, I had to coordinate the roof construction with the help of email instructions I had and common sense. Although I knew how I wanted to do it, it was a bit of a struggle to get the guys to follow since I could only really communicate through the foreman, and the 2 extra guys we had from the other company seemed to have their own ideas. I was tired of discussion to the point that I thought any action would be better, which is why I accepted one of the guy’s suggestion to do it another way. I was just waiting for him to see the failure of what he wanted to attempt in which I stepped in to emphasize my point and get everyone to follow the original plan.

Looking back, I maybe should’ve pulled rank earlier and dictated the operation. On the otherhand, I was trying to get everyone on board with the plan through collaborative spirit… but maybe I should’ve just taken full responsibility for any action and get everyone in line through sheer authoritarianism. Then again, letting people see their own mistake also allows an opportunity for us to learn. Choices.

We finally made some progress on the roof though.

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Thursday and Friday were experimental days. I realized we either needed a machine or more people to continue work… and since people are cheaper here, I got issued more workers to a total of 15. On Saturday, we were working at what would probably become our going rate of 1 greenhouse section per day (big roof + ventilation netting + small roof):

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We really depend on optimal wind conditions to be able to do this. I’m curious to see how we’ll go Tuesday as it’ll be slightly more windy than the conditions we’ve been working in.

Since we need all the hands we can spare for putting the plastic on, I’ve been actively climbing and helping secure the film as well since we need all the climbers we can get as not every workers is fit for this role. Especially in the beginning where noone had a clue of what to do, I had to take point at certain times to facilitate the operation, and lead by example in establishing a method.

The work is really starting to grow on me. I like this role I’m in and feel like I’m learning a lot of practical things in terms of dealing with people as well as technical considerations. The work is varied combining social, physical and technical aspects and leaves me with a lot of freedom to do as I please. Also, in terms of distribution and shipping, I’m learning about all the paperwork involved in making that all happen which may prove useful for my own enterprise. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll have spare time to do further research on the necessary infrastructure for my pilot project which is quietly spreading its network underneath the surface…

As for now, I’m going to make some moves so I can make a move out of my current apartment and into another place. The place I’m in now is costing me an arm and a leg I found out on Friday (which I will have a serious discussion about with my employer) but I also found a cheap room very quickly through the help of the company’s secretary. Will be moving out tomorrow so have pretty much already packed and moving some small things now so I can swiftly relocate.

That’s it for now! Will try to update weekly and also share what I’ve been cooking, the music I’m making and whatever else comes on my path… to an extent 😉

See you on the otherside!
I.

Posted in Cabo Verde, Enterprise, Iemke, Personal Development | 1 Comment

Workdays and a surprise Chinese cultural show + poi fireshow on the beach

I really am trying to make the most of work here. Mostly, its giving me the time and space to reflect on myself. There hasn’t been anything pressing and I’m quick to troubleshoot problems when they do come along… which has given me a lot of freedom and free time.

At the moment, I’m working on my book again, diving more into the stories of my tattoos since life up to the first tattoo is on my glitchy computer. It gives me something to focus on… and it makes me reflect on how my past has affected my present as well and how I’ve become the way I am by what I’ve gone through. I really am just going with my gut, focusing on flow and linking stories and elements.

Sometimes the electricity is out for a few hours here, which gives me time to ponder life in its raw form. Friday, I was observing a herd of goats, being around them so they’d get used to my presence. They got close, but kept enough distance for themselves just in case.

I took a walk to explore the neighbor’s property and noticed the separation of their pumpkin and corn plants. The concept of a ‘3 sister garden’ might well be something unfamiliar to them… I’m not going to attempt explaining that in Kriol just yet.

It seems that our neighbors are in a way applying some degree of permaculture in their systems but I see potential for more. It would be great to set up a course here.

This sunday going to check out a capoeira school in another town run by a friend who is also from Rotterdam. Should be good 🙂

Enjoying the simple life here and hoping to get a fire going with my own project as well. I’ve scouted out some potential resources but need to know where I can get some other material locally… I might have to share my ‘needs’ list with perhaps someone in my company. But easy does it. No rush. We’ll get there.

I wrote the above piece during work… but after work I had a surprising Friday night come to greet me. Someone I met when I was getting my medical checkup invited me to a Chinese/Cape Verdian culture sharing thing at the National Assembly. It was pretty awesome 🙂 here are some photos:

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Kung Fu demonstration… more based on acrobatics

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…yes these guys were jump roping while standing as a pyramid.

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My friend Meka playing guitar 😊

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After the show was finished, I still wanted to make the most out of the night since I had some friends chilling on the beach with the full moon. I wanted to do a fire show on the beach as well so made my way home afterwards to get collected, then went to meet my friends.

After a bit of a journey to get some fuel and back, I prepared my fireshow on the beach. They filmed a bit of it:

https://youtu.be/Ky3LCecyt-s

Good times here in Cape Verde. Its amazing what you can experience when you leave your mind open towards the possibilities. Hope to keep updated and will write again probably next week. Ciaooo!

Posted in Cabo Verde, Enterprise, Iemke, Martial Arts, Music, Permaculture, Travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Artista

Had a great weekend in Praia. Met lots of people and felt like I’m starting to get a better feel for everything around me. Becoming in sync with the place. Attracting opportunities that I never realized.

It’s been pretty hot lately. Even my Thai genes are like ‘whoah, something’s cooking out there!’. Doesn’t stop me from doing anything, although lying on my bed with airconditioning on for 15mins does wonders. And cold showers help as well.

Friday, I was somehow worn out by everything I did that week and took an easy night. Besides, I didn’t know anyone that was going out and I wasn’t completely aware of the festival that was going on. My plan was to go all out on Saturday anyway.

Saturday morning was easy, and I had lunch at a nearby restaurant. My goal was to look for some fuel for my fire poi that day. I went past the gas station to see if they could fill my 5liter water bottle but they were like ‘no, something something something *points in another direction*’… I figured what they meant was that there was another gas station which was a bit more easy-going with safety regulations than the Shell was. So I made my way in that direction.

I had no idea how far it’d be, and wasn’t even sure if that’s what they meant so I contemplated my options at a busstop. I wanted to go to the beach that day anyway but wanted to get fuel so I could do my fire dance once the sun would set. I figured if I met some people at the beach, they’d probably be willing to help me. So I started walking again.

At the first beach I stopped, I just wanted to put my feet in the sand there because I wanted to go to the big beach where’d there’d probably be more people I could connect with. As I walked on I heard ‘iemke!’ behind me, and I turned around just for the sake of checking where this sound was coming from that sounded a bit like my name. It turned out to be my friend who I met in Holland that was calling me, which was a good omen.

We greeted and I told him I was looking for fuel for my poi. Ofcourse he didn’t understand what I meant so I was like ‘I’ll show you’ giving him a little demonstration. His eyes lit up and he was like ‘wait, wait, you have to meet the guys’.

He introduced me to the band he was playing percussion with that night, who all flew in from abroad to play at the Jazz Festival. The band leader was Paco who was apparently a drumming legend having played together with artists like Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone and some other famous people I forget. His band members were also extraordinary players as I’d find out later that night… after I realized who these guys were I felt very lucky to be just chilling with these musical masters.

When everyone got out of the water to chill on the beach for a bit, there was a gap which allowed me to demonstrate my poi dance as my friend from Holland was like ‘show them!’. I got into my routine of tricks and movements to show some skills, but also feeling the vibes, being free in my expression. Paco was pretty psyched about it in that he started air drumming towards the beat of my poi cycles. I also hit myself on the back a few times doing some moves but kept my cycle steady and recovered which scored me some points with the crowd. After I ended, I got an invitation to come join them on stage that night.

After a bit more chilling and some meditation, the band had to leave for some preparation. I went to the other beach after that. I connected with some people there, and had a bit of a workout before I left to go buy some water, food and go home.

I was pretty tired from my day as well, and went to take a nap. When I got out from my nap, I felt like I just wanted to keep on sleeping but I pushed myself to go do what I told myself I was going to do. I got in a cab and left for the festival.

When I arrived, I immediately recognised my friend and he attempted to call me just as I was getting out of the cab. Another moment of perfect timing.

I chilled for a bit with the people there, having a beer, being able to communicate in English. My friend then let Paco know I was here and arranged an ‘artist’ bracelet so I could go pretty much anywhere in the enclosed area, including backstage where there was a tent with refreshments and a spliff waiting for me. A ticket to the festival would normally cost around €15 and I had a pretty sweet seat of the show where I was.

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I pretty much watched the whole show before Paco invited me on stage to do my light poi show during the encore. It was strange yet normal standing in the middle of the stage, with a big smile plastered on my face. When the music started, I started spinning. I felt like it could’ve gone better though, also because of the fact one of the LED balls broke and flew off behind the stage which gave me a weird exit. But hey, all for the experience, and I suppose not bad for an impromptu addition to the show 😊 people had never seen something like that before there. It was overall just a great night of sharing energy and culture.

After the concert was done, I thanked everyone and mingled some more with the people. There was another party somewhere so we all went to the other destination. I shared a cab with a violinist who was studying at the conservatory in Rotterdam; the world is a small place.

At the other party, I met some people I met on the beach a week ago. They had a whole friend group that was coming as well so the connections multiplied fast. I chilled mostly with them until the rest of the time… and I’d be chilling with them the day after.

On stage, there was a bit of a jamming session going on and I did another light show since nobody was taking the floor in front to dance.

Being one of the last people to leave, we tried to help this woman find her lost purse with credit card and phone and everything in it. She was being pretty dramatic about it as she was emotional and not thinking clearly but we all took a cab and dropped her off at home. I ended up sleeping when the sun was out again.

The next day we were celebrating the birthday from my friend I met from the beach. That day was also my mom’s birthday coincidentally. We had a nice lunch at a restaurant:

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Birthday girl!

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After lunch we went to the beach:

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I did some more poi dancing and tried to teach, played some ukulele, went for a swim, did some pullups and dips then made my way back home as the sun started to set.

It felt like I did a lot that weekend. The pace at work is a little different as there are a lot more moments of emptiness at the office currently… its a matter of waiting for resources, which is fine for me as it gives me time to think about my own business and write and reflect as I am now… but not very efficient for business. Cabo Verde has its pro’s and con’s like that.

We’ll see where this ends up. Ciao for now!

Posted in Iemke | 3 Comments

An easy week

This week has been quite a breeze at work, mostly because all the technical aspects of construction were solved last week and now its a matter of coordinating and waiting for resources for the next phase of construction which is putting the roof of the greenhouse on. I’ve been mostly working on personal administration in Cape Verde so I can work and live here legally. But I try to help out where I can.

We have a dog at work who’s name is Lati. We get along well, mostly because I’m the only one who seems to pet him. I noticed yesterday that he was a bit on edge, because of the heat that day but maybe also because he just ate a whole meal of spaghetti and rice which one of the workers accidentally dropped on the ground. I think the overload of carbs was getting to his head.

The foreman said that the dog also had some kind of insect/parasite on his butt somewhere, which at first I thought was a tick. I led him to the cool corridor next to the cantine and examined him for ticks. I couldn’t find anything although I did notice a hole-shaped wound on his butt. I folded his skin to take a closer look and noticed something yellowish which I thought was puss. I rolled his skin and the ‘puss’ started to slowly get out, so I figured I’d clean it by gently squeezing the excess out of his body. As soon as I started putting a bit more pressure to squeeze it out, out plopped a larvae about a centimeter long which started wriggling on the ground. Turned out Lati had a botfly larvae in his butt which may have also contributed to his restlessness that day.

So far I’m staying healthy though *knock on wood*. I just had a medical exam which took a few hours of waiting, less than a minute of the actual checkup with a stethoscope, and had to pay 1000$ escudos (a bit less than €10) for it. I was there since 06:55AM. They really should streamline the system by making it possible to do this by appointment because its kind of ridiculous how its set up like this… I put this idea in the suggestion box as well. Through the kindness of some people though, I was able to not completely get my turn skipped because I didn’t know how the process worked. Most of the men are pretty selfish whilst the women are much more cooperative I noticed. I definitely had some guardian angels on the lookout for me.

For the rest I’m also doing my Shaolin Kung Fu at least ever other day, getting up at 05.00am on weekdays so I have time for myself in the morning. The shuttle bus picks everyone up at 07.30am at a meeting point a few hundred meters south of where I live, though its always at least 15minutes late.

Even though eating out is relatively cheap (I had rice with vegetables and fish for 150$ escudos again the other day) I still cook for myself, also because then I can take leftovers to work for lunch the next day. Here’s what I cooked yesterday:

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It’s sweet potato, carrot, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt/pepper stuck in the oven and at the last bit threw in tomatoes and voila, c’est fini… accompanied by some queijo de terra (goatcheese) from the neighboring island Fogo. That cheese especially was the finishing touch of that meal. So friggin’ good. Yes mom, I’m eating well and taking care of myself.

Other than that, my business partner is going to visit my workplace today so we can see what possibilities we have. He’ll be flying back to the Netherlands saturday to round things up in Holland so we’ll see when he’ll be back.

In the meantime, I’m still in the search of a language school although I might’ve found something… will check it out on saturday. I’m quite comfortable stumbling with my cracked up Portuguese and throwing in English with enough hand gestures and tone so I can communicate what I need. We’ll get there.

For now, I’m going to have some lunch so I’ll write some more later. Ciao!

Posted in Cabo Verde, Food, Iemke, Martial Arts, Personal Development, Social Development, Travel | 4 Comments

A weekend in Praia

Closing off the weekend here in Praia. I decided to stay put this weekend as I needed more time to rest and there was plenty for me to explore in the city. I made it a challenge for myself to try as many new things as possible and step outside my comfort zone wherever I could. It gave me some interesting experiences.

Friday was my last workday of the week so I finally had time in the evening to extend a bit more with everything. I was waiting for some BBQ chicken which they were cooking across my street so in the meantime, I was playing some ukulele tunes. I think what made the most impact was when I played ‘Where is the Love?’ by the Black Eyed Peas.

During my song, I kept getting distortion from a guy that was sitting away from me, trying to rap through the song and trying to communicate with me. It made me mess up my lyrics a bit because I was trying to focus on articulating and remembering the rap lyrics. At the end of the song, we talked for a bit and I found out he was an American from Boston… and I sensed that me and him were on different planets. I figure the song struck a chord with him because it was almost a direct critique of his very existence, being the money driven, mysoginistic prick that he seemed to be. He liked ‘my style’ though and asked me to sit closer in which I replied that he could come in instead since I had other audience around me. He didn’t budge.

I played a few more songs, collected my BBQ chicken, then left to go home to eat my catch with some rice and veggies I had leftover, then called it a night after some writing and smart phoning.

Saturday morning finally gave me time to sleep in and wake up slow. I was going to make today beach day so I packed accordingly. After my morning shenanigans of things such as playing music, doing some Duolingo exercises and practicing my Shaolin workout, I made my way to the plateau to have some lunch since I knew a place that had Catchupa for 150$ escudos (which is slightly less than €1.50). I took the public bus for the first time, which was jam packed although I managed to squeeze in just inside the doors. It was good to experience what its like to travel in peak hours so that anything else would feel like a luxury.

Arriving at plateau, I walked to the restaurant and noticed they had quiche, which seemed appealing so I decided to go for that and have a vegetable soup on the side. After I finished my quiche they told me the soup wasn’t ready so I had a Catchupa instead. Big lunch.

I decided to walk to the beach in Quebra Canella to see what I’d encounter along the way. Everything really isn’t that far apart, it just takes a bit of walking to get there. It helps me to get familiar with the place too.

Saturday is a good beach day. I don’t know if that could be a pattern, but there seemed to be more young adults there than on a Sunday. Sundays are more family oriented days where you tend to find more kids and families at the beach. It’s generally also more busy as I’d guess that families have their ‘family day’ on Sunday. I figure that young adults use Saturday as their prime chill day, and going out late as well so they can recover on Sunday (and not go to the beach) which is why you see the change in demographics. That’s my attempt at inductive reasoning of beach demographics anyway.

Anyway. Saturday was a good day at the beach for me. I met someone I knew from Holland as well and we connected for a bit. I walked around to explore a bit more before deciding I did kind of want to jump in for a bit. I stashed my stuff next to my friend’s bag and took a dive. It was glorious.

I swam a bit, did some handstands and yoga/kung fu on the beach, checked out some beach bodies, then went to go join the guys who were practicing Jiu Jitsu on one end.

The guys I met were pretty chill. I talked a bit to the friend who was watching the other two train as he was more into surfing than martial arts. He was working as a chef on Boa Vista/Sal and surfed in his spare time. Cool dude. The guys that were practicing Jiu Jitsu were cool too, and I might meet them later next week for some training. I taught them some exercises from my Kung Fu workout and we chilled some more and shared a spliff.

It was a good place to be. I felt very connected to my environment. I wanted to nap actually but the sun kept me moving. I did some capoeira with some other guys on the beach and meditated for a bit before moving on.

I was slowly making my way back home but stopped to smell every flower on the way… which allowed some more opportunities to reveal themselves. I moved from place to place, seeing if I could make some interesting connections and also, to get out of my comfort zone so my world would become bigger. With marijuana, I tend to notice patterns and observe social dynamics more sharply… which could also be just in my head but its interesting to play with those ideas. In the end its about the resulting action. I was having fun anyway and took a risk by potentially making a fool out of myself. I did notice people observing me because I was breaking the status quo a bit… I don’t want to go into detail too much but I had some good interactions and I’ll leave it at that.

My water was finished as I brought way too little so I decided to get a big bottle at the supermarket. Again, I meandered my way there, especially because marijuana makes everything more interesting as I look at everything with more depth and detail. It helps me see the beauty in all that is.

Without a care or thought, I got closer to the store when my eyes locked on a pair of sunglasses with a pearly white grin underneath it… it took me 2 seconds to realize who it was in which I started running with joy at the sight of my friend and business partner who planted the seed of my existence in Cabo Verde. We hadn’t communicated, though our reunion was unexpected but very welcome. It was great to share how everything was going and good to reflect on our plans and means to get there. I’m excited for what the future holds in this.

We went to his (parents’) house, in which we shared a spliff and I had a grogue to calm my stomach from the overload of softdrinks it was getting that day. We talked some more and I chilled on the balcony before we both left to go our own ways.

As he brought me to the taxi pool, I observed him carrying his carry-on luggage which is one of those with a retractable handle and wheels. He was handling it like a pro as I watched him adapt to the terrain with it. The way he carried it was done very systematically and organized in a very no nonsense sort of manner. On a side note, he did serve more than 10 years in the military which is where that might’ve come from. But the elegance and beauty of how he simply handled his luggage showed a peak of the iceberg that was lying beneath the experience of this human being… did I mention that I get very observant when smoking marijuana?

We said our goodbyes as I took a cab to my apartment in Terra Branca where they set up a stage for the Jazz Festival that was happening… almost right outside my door which was cool/convenient.

I took some time to get settled at home and also had a spurt of musicality that came out of me… which is when I recorded a solo jam session that was inspired by my friends from Decision, a music making duo active in the Amsterdam area.

After taking my time to get settled, I made my way out. There wasn’t really anything happening although I talked to some people in the crowd and in the production. The show was a bit delayed, as per normal in Cape Verde. Since I saw a vacuum, I proceeded to fill that vacuum.

I made my way home as I had the grand idea of putting up an LED light poi show for the people waiting for things to start. Along my way, I encountered my neighbor and her three sons around the age of 10, maybe younger. We had a get-to-know moment and one of her sons heard me play ukulele and wanted to get lessons from me… which could potentially be a way to decrease the amount of rent I pay 🙂 (as my neighbor’s mother is the landlord).

I collected my poi and made my way back to the concert area to set up at the still empty crowd space in front of the stage and started spinning my poi to the music recording that was playing. I remember it being good music to spin to and showed the crowd some tricks. It was a good length of time for me to move on and do all my tricks, as the music ended and progressed to another song at a perfect moment. I bowed, got my applause (and some whistles :P), then exited stage right.

I wanted to go back home to drop off my poi again but got stopped on the way with the offer of 50$ escudo capirinhas… I sat at the place that made these for a bit and ordered some pasteis de atum (tuna pastries) as well which was exactly what I was craving at that moment. Had some good interactions here as well… you get a long way with ” ‘sta fiche” and “tous dret” here, the Badieuw (southern islands dialect) creole of saying ‘everything cool’ and ‘all good’. It very often results in at least a smile anyway which are always welcome in my vicinity.

After this, I was chilling with some well groomed stray dogs who all seemed to enjoy the petting. There was one who was trying to get on my lap and kept on trying to get in between when I was petting another dog. Dogs are great though, who I almost always have good connections with.

I was getting pretty tired from my long day and I wasn’t really super into the music playing. It was chill and mellow and all, but I needed some dancing energy or something. I thought I’d take a rest before I’d head out again… but I never came back after that rest.

Retrospectively, I could’ve maybe pushed myself more to experience all I could… I would’ve had all Sunday to recover anyway as today I didn’t really do much though I went to the beach again and visited a couple more but like I said… different vibes on a Sunday. I did have a fantastic Catchupa at Hotel Rotterdão (Hotel Rotterdam- of all places) though, which had an all-you-can-eat Catchupa Rica and a fruit salad bowl at the end as dessert for 600$ escudos (less than €6) total, which was a fantastic deal since it was a pretty well done Catchupa and I had two pretty big servings and picked out all the goodies. I’ll probably dream about that Catchupa tonight.

For now, I should probably get some rest so I can do my workout before work tomorrow and I might also now cook my lunch… I need to get a hold of some oyster sauce and soy sauce though. But I guess I’ll just add malageta (the local sambal) to everything later. Anyway. I’m done. Thanks for reading, and see you on the otherside 😉 peace!

Posted in Cabo Verde, Food, High times, Iemke, Martial Arts, Music, Social Dynamics, Travel | Leave a comment

The first week in Cabo Verde

Almost a week has passed and I’ve gotten my hands dirty with work. My first day wasn’t really a workday, but allowed me some orientation for the project. As I’m writing this, I’m heading into the weekend and already I’ve had my ups and downs when it comes to work.

When I first started working, my instructions were basically: ‘The greenhouse is your project. Take care of it.’…With only introductions to key people, I was left to figure out the rest. I took some time in the beginning to give myself a tour figuring that the builders knew what they were doing (which was half true) but also to give myself a feel for the place. My area is the greenhouse which is under construction but I gave a visit to Flor de Lakakan as well, the initial seed of the project:

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Most of the time I’m at the greenhouse construction site however, where I give guidance to the foreman so he can instruct the workers.

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Here’s a panorama of the construction site:

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Oh, and welcome to my office:

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My other workspace is at the actual office at the entrance which is a bit of an uphill walk from the construction site.

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Sitting across from me is Jorge who is my peer and Flor de Lakakan’s accountant.

I have a bit of a rhythm now with work, thinking of my time in a similiar way as back when I was a young student in Thailand, having scheduled break and lunch times for myself but now with more of a focus on one project. The climate here is similiar as it is also on the same latitude as Thailand. The constant wind in Cape Verde cools the place down to a pleasant 23-27°C and you can pretty much guarantee sun all year round. Water is scarce, although there might be some interesting permaculture solutions for that as well…

I enjoy eating the same kind of food I had in Thailand, but with more of an appreciation for it now than I had back then. Sometimes I don’t feel like making lunch for myself so I’ll eat a whole papaya.

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…which is incredibly satisfying. I think I’ve missed tropical fruits a lot. The quantities of bananas I eat per day have also tripled compared to what I eat in Holland.

Even though it all seems great, there were some times when I felt like I needed a hand and had my doubts about everything… but people are very supportive around here and I quickly felt that everything’s going to be alright.

I’ve managed to get somewhat of an overview of the project and helped the foreman prioritise the work to be done. I’ve also helped figure out the deal with missing pieces, subtle construction changes in the manuals and entire areas missing in the manuals. Its like figuring out how to make a LEGO construction with pages missing and different parts given than what is shown in the booklet. I’ve always loved LEGOs though, and problem solving is kind of my thing, so I think the job is fitting me pretty well. Its even almost bringing me back to my childhood.

There’s a lot of freedom for me to do my own thing during work, within the confines of the terrain anyway. I get plenty of sun, fresh air, and exercise, often walking between the office and the greenhouse construction which is separated by quite a hill. I try to think 3 steps ahead of construction and spam the Dutch team with pictures, questions and more questions via email to clarify what exactly we’re supposed to be doing on the ground. It seems to be working so far.

Communication on the ground tends to be an issue sometimes. I speak English for most of it, but there are limits to my Cape Verdian co-workers’ comprehension of the language. I do my best to explain what I mean in different ways, and try to anticipate and interpret the other’s intention the best I can. My Portuguese is nowhere near as good as their English anyway, though I’m kind of looking for a school other than my Duolingo application.

Heading into the weekend, the last thing that is on my mind is how we’re going to put the plastic film on to create the roof. The recommended weather conditions are sunny, dry and windless…

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…and that last part is not happening anytime soon. Cape Verde is kind of known for its steady winds, which makes it great for windsurfing and sailing, but not so great for putting plastic film on greenhouse structures.

I think we’re going to do a trial run on monday anyway. Nobody in the ground team has any experience with putting these roofs on so that should be an interesting one.

The job is kind of like another childhood dream of mine of being an astronaut. Though Cape Verde is not as completely as harsh an environment as space, there is a lot of communication with ‘ground control’ to direct the limited resources we have here towards our goal… and I’m sort of the alien around here with barely any English speakers around.

Strangely enough, I feel very comfortable in my current setting. Perhaps because this is not a new situation for me, having been in such a state before, namely when me and my family moved to Thailand… and even though the digital love I get from people on other parts of the planet isn’t tangible, it comforts me to know that people really are just a message away.

This weekend I might head to Tarrafal with my English teacher friend but we shall see… there’s lots going on in the city as well so it should be great 🙂 looking forward to sinking my teeth into the place. That’s it for now. Ciao!

Posted in Iemke | 2 Comments