Sao Tome Principe, we put down roots

February 23, 2012

The alarm goes off early, at 12.0 I have to be at the airport card but first I gotta make my honest day's work, and being already Easter spirit in starting right now becomes a problem.
I finish refine a little chocolate 57% Babahoyo, do some background to my employees and childbirth with Alex who accompanied me to the airport, along the way, however, we have to stop to deliver a WHITE, in fact we have recently added to our format franchise also this proposal and Treviso are opening the second store.
The flight to Pincipe and long, not so much for the hours by plane as it is for many airports, Belluno-Venice .... Venice-Rome-Rome ..... .... Lisbon Lisbon-Sao-tome .... Sao Tome Principe.
In Rome we meet with Rita, the person who got me involved in this experience, she and a Banca Monte dei Paschi manager, trained person and very attentive to the next; Rita Giamo several years, which is a prince and got me involved just because knows that the island'' and potentially an excellent soil for the production of cocoa.
Rome - Lisbon, we start from Libona late at night with an air of TAP, which would define the plane more old world, an Airbus 310 with no TV, no air conditioning, there are only cages with parakeets and someone who sells roasted chestnuts on board and then we'll get it, it is certainly not new that the planes which are routes to the underdeveloped countries are of modest quality but a thing ...
The arrival in Sao Tome and at 5 am, and here already clear, we arrive at a small airport where they travel only 2 planes a week, but let's move the controls to find the health check " protagonist of the moment " half an hour of discussion, why not believed my valid yellow fever vaccination.
Here in São Tomé we stay only 1 night because the flight to Prince and in the morning, sleep cocoa residence, which I expected from the name it was all decorated with the cacao or cocoa trees in the garden, but the only thing to make me welcome and a kind of lombricone 15 inches on the pillow of my bed " brrrrrrrrrrrrrr. "
The whole day free, and while Rita and Maximilian (her partner) errands of legal practice, I take this opportunity to turn the city, I start from the city market WONDERFUL, a veritable hotbed of everything good that the country offers, from fish to fruit to coal, the coal is sold here a lot because the coal and people used to cook the fish of the species is the gray barbeque using precisely Coal understand now that I will have some difficulty with food because I do not eat fish and fish here than there really is only the fruit, it will I will say that the care of fruit do a tour of the library and historical archive them, I come here on a very interesting book as were the cultivation of cocoa in the 60s with lots of local maps etc etc, very interesting to buy it right away and we get a study to understand how the settlers had set their agricultural plantations to see if and where there are the best areas to produce cocoa, it must be said that now the island and in a state of neglect and then figure out what is the best area to cultivate cocoa and easy.
In the evening we meet Katia daughter of Carlos, a very shy girl who will be to study in Italy, I'm tired and I salute the company for sleeping.

February 25, 2012

Today it's off to the prince, quick breakfast with omelet Micoco, a grass flavor of oregano and mint, go to the airport where there is a small waiting piper African company Conection, a 12 seater that will take us Cocoa Island, just takes off and wonder what I see in the pure state, gold-colored beaches and the sea from the bottom of an endless blue WOW!
The piperino fly very well and even though load (oops I forgot before leaving our bags are weighed and also the people, and I with my "panciotta" are the highlight of the company, fortunately there are other people very lean that balance the weight or else ..).
Prince and a small island about 20 km from north to south dominated until 30 years ago by the Portuguese, even if they were the conquerors to the island a source of great innovation and investment rule was harsh, it was poured a lot of blood and a lot of social repression, as soon as I get off the plane I see in the distance a large sheep, but, but, but, but that and a ram or so it seems.
To expect there Branchigno a fac totum that will guide us and escort during our stay on the island, apena carry your luggage and immediately we start to get to see the plantation and see if it (the theme of our trip) we can buy some piece of land to make us a cocoa plantation "great."
14 hours is going to "FUNDAO" here plantations are called "rosas" and then we visit first the "Rose of Fundao," a plantation of 60 hectares totally abandoned, the road that would take us to the center of the plantation and collapsed buildings that were formerly used by the warehouse totally swallowed up by time and nature, Portuguese rule and certainly been detrimental to the country, but the big problem is that when the settlers are gone, the natives have no more cared for nothing and the vegetation has taken over.
The plantation I like but I think here to retrieve something really productive will be investing a lot of money, not so much for the plants but only to recover the land, road, curb rivulets of water etc etc.
We go for another rose the San Joaquin, and even here a semi-abandoned plantation but the center of the area is still inhabited by hundreds of indigenous people who inhabit the old houses where they slept settlers, speak don the leader of the pack we understand that sources of income and there are not the only activity they do and grow and fish to feed themselves, lacking in cqua and current, that God bono conditions.
Shooting with discretion and some photos while the adults hide to avoid being photographed because the kids go crazy the face of a shot, I do not give up more I'll at least 15 around calling me " Blanco ... a picture to picture " ie " white, photo picture ".
On the way back I hit really abandoned buildings of the settlers, the huge mansions including strikes me the old factory of palm oil, who knows this place as it was 30 years ago?

February 26, 2012

The shoes of yesterday are a little dirty and Massimiliano lend me a pair of his shoes, sandals are open, and now I understand that it will be a quandary today in the midst of mud and swamp wander into the forest, we move to " Bela view " a pink run by the family of the secretary of the government, but they do not see much cocoa plants with fruits literally huge, things never seen before even in Honduras.
And after the turn of the plantation " Land velho " Here, unfortunately, we can not see much in the way and managed by a certain Claudio who does not want you know its secrets, this way of doing if from a certain point of view and understand the other does not bring any added value to the population because reminds me so much the methods used by the colonizers who were holders of knowledge and did not want compartirlo with anyone. The fact remains however, that the plantation and well maintained and productive.
We move quickly to "Nova Estrela" and here come the surprises, we meet a beautiful nursery, well maintained, following a beautiful plantation of a Portuguese, and thanks to our Branchino we run out of LOI.
Loi and a strange, very closed and tells us that the land for sale in nova estrela always there, we enter the land because his plantation is not accessible by car and how much we are going to get there before the show opens the ocean, the planting of the Lobi and fantastic and on a hill overlooking the ocean with breathtaking views occasionally interrupted by trees that have become fallow ups, I already imagine that place would be if it were trimmed a little vegetation, are electrocuted, in none of the others like the place but I think I have a lot of imagination become a small paradise
We continue our visit to the plantation of her father Lobi, he has an area of ​​6 hectares and probably sell it but I'm still so fascinated by what I've seen that I can no longer think of anything that is not ... " we try to combine with LOI for that piece of land. "
Then Branchigno amazes me for the umpteenth time, brings me in a plantation of vanilla, vanilla I've seen it a few times since and I am always fascinated, Ms. Carmela owner of the plantation makes us pay tribute to a dessert made of banana fried coconut oil, a slice 1 kg (acquired belly of course), let's talk a little vanilla, and as we speak I rub my hands a pod for profumarmi of this intoxicating flavor
The evening always have lunch at passeo, a fish restaurant around, but now I am at home, already know that they are pro-vegetarian chef prepares me a nice salad of beans and onion, fuck! But it is so good that I do for an encore.
Last night, the fagiolata with me until the morning.

February 27, 2012

I get up at 5 am and start to jot down some ideas to propose to the president that we meet at 10, I would love to give me custody in one of their large plantations pi u " FUNDAO " a former cocoa plantation of Portuguese and abandoned for 40 years, the structures that were settlers have collapsed and the only thing that is remained and the ancient fountain license plate, 1940, here I would like to give us a plantation of 300 tons of cocoa Trinity, to be honest I am tempted to bring here a little white cocoa from a friend of Chuao in Venezuela and try to plant it , the climatic conditions of the Prince are really interesting very wet, very wet, very hot in short and really make us an ideal island for the excellent cocoa.
We arrive in the country for the appointment with the mayor and we Loi, we stop saying " Don Mirco negociamos! " Mr. Mirco sell or ... " and this is a bombshell, finally I can daydream and have my own small plantation in Africa, a real enjoyment.
But I I do not have much time, I greet him and give him an appointment at 12.00 in the meantime, I ask him to prepare a sort of preliminary.
Internet still does not work, are already Three days that we are totally insulated with the current that comes and goes, no water and no internet, now a long beard and the last of the problems.
10 hours and we're the president, stretch out a crumpled black tie and rimpettito within.
The president and a young person and an alarm clock, a boy of about 45 years which proves immediately available, I start to press him undaunted raccontadogli of our projects and our ideas and gradually introduce the idea that I have for the prince illuminate the eyes and starts asking me questions targeted, the thing that excites him and the possibility to make a top quality cocoa and turn it directly on the island, perhaps by setting up a small chocolate shop.
Do not we end the meeting that invites us to write immediately before returning home where a letter of intent on our part to achieve 20 acres of land to make a plantation of the best quality.
We go all galvanized, so that after lunch we take a well-deserved break 2 hours, I take a bit of sunshine, even if they are 14.00 and the sun burns where I find another similar climate.
In the afternoon we go to Branchino, through the son of Donna Iaia, we commissioned him of the fruit of the cocoa timber, and right when we see that it is ending one, great! Going to Ponta do Sol the road is bad and the little truck that brings us shows no signs of slowing down so much that we had to change a wheel we finally arrive at the tip do sol, place and great, with a breathtaking view of the sea, we find them a dryer into disuse that would suit our project, with Branchigno try to figure out if you could use this dryer for drying the cocoa of our 20 acres of land, we see them as we are also small parcels of land that knows maybe we can buy, we continue and arrive at another location symbol " SUNDY " perhaps the most beautiful island, an old farm with internal hospital, houses etc and especially the place where in 1989 proved to be an astronomer the actual value of the theory of relativity of Einsten.
In the evening we have dinner with Mandioca frita so tomorrow we leave for infant 5 to 12 hours of hard walk ... " ossignor. "

February 28, 2012

Today is the big day, we'll have to let us walk in the mega infant, the appointment of the 5 but with Branchigno is spoiled by the rain, which already from 3 am raging, given the situation we decided to stay in bed and sleep.
It does not take even one hour (5:50) and we hear a knock at the door, vamos vamos " who the heck is ? " is Branchigno I saw that and busted some time and no longer wants to bring rains to infant, I am skeptical with all the rain that has done will be a swamp, but insists they are exhausted and let's start time 10 minutes.
in fact, so hot and the land of the prince who made the rain did not make the soil wet, maybe it is evaporated instantly.
12km Infante dense forest, we start from "Land Velho" and after 3 km substantial descent we arrive at the home of his uncle in Ribeira Fria, the last outpost " human " before going into the isolated nature, the house of his uncle and very pretty and he knows how to build a fac-totum know they will grow a bit of everything and it shows.
10.30 The first signs of abating begin to be felt, I'm going to challenge myself with I try to keep abreast of Branchigno, Massimiliano struggles instead of legs, but not so much to heart, every now and take it as a tachycardia that blocks it.
At 11.00 am we are not there yet but we are close to infant.
11.30 am finally go along the entrance to the "de quintal infant" the structure where the Portuguese were working on cocoa and coconut, here is really something out of this world, we are building structures for at least 10,000 square meters all ingottitissime by nature, there is a stable for horses, a machine shop, and even a swimming pool, but we understand that it is a pool just because The guide tells us why in fact we only see a hole covered with ivy and weeds, the most Beauty and the master's house and also swallowed up with a tree that has grown up with his arms wrapped doors and windows.
We stopped 10 minutes in front of an antique steam engine, a machine that was used to make other machinery and go off again, and I Massimiliano we are convinced to return (finally) and instead of driving and Branchigno agree to take us to "Neves ferreira & ldquo ; actually we do not understand right away because we do not know the area and we could not get the references enroute dense vegetation, but after 20 minutes we ask, and we discover that we are not returning, but rather that we are still continuing.
The discouragement especially for Maximilian and very, very tired, and he and I do not even joke goes another hour up and down the mountains, and the feelings of joy that we had when we left this morning seem so much a distant memory, there is now only lactic acid and sweat gets into your eyes and burn, kill if it burns!
After another 2 hours we finally opens before us the arrival of the beach "seca" of "Neves ferreira", a corner of paradise, a beautiful beach with an endless sea of ​​color, acanthus to the beach a small population of indigenous people who live by fishing, with no light or water.
The place is truly breathtaking and the beach amazing, I take a piece of wood and drawing a heart with the name of my 3 daughters on the sand, I want to leave trace of my passage, but a trace " bio " flay without trees or anything, I already know that tonight waters erase my time " Daddy " but that's okay.
The return and with a canoe, and for me the first time I take a canoe and every time I shift my weight to one side or the other, the owner of the canoe tells me something in Portuguese (definitely a guy thing "still big head! ")
But the efforts are not finished yet, canoeing leaves us under "land velho", just missing to get to the machine that takes us back to the house, but the little and a sheer drop to 15% slope than 1 km Massimiliano stops 5 times I go out with fatigue but I go, the heart beats, sweating burns are invaded by "moschitos" and now only a challenge to myself, Branchigno and guidance seem fresh as a rose, but do not give up!
Just arriving at the car I lay on the lawn and the heart never ends to palpitate, change the shirt and pants that were bathed in sweat and wait " Boulders " , In that half hour we learn a shocking news, the grandson of Branchigno and is lost in the " home of the macaque " , Home of the macaque and land nestled in the forest where there are many " macaque " in fact, here the macaque monkey and not just a nice as we know it, but above all a European prized dish, in fact the grandson of Branchigno was in this place to hunt and who knows maybe some macaque and it hurt, unfortunately here if one hurts in the forest the best thing that could happen and die before the sbrani some beast.
We go to lunch at this late hour, the 15 or so, just fruit and a coke in the afternoon should be quiet, but for them we organize them a little visit to a rose to tell them and very close .... " Fuck them princes! " 2 more hours of walking up and down, Massimiliano spring after 15 minutes and waiting for us in the car, as usual I (big head) I can not see me so reluctant and go with them.
They arrive exhausted at home for a shower at 17.30 and voila, no water, luckily we crates of mineral water, I wash my feet and underarms at least 1 liter of water, but the smell does not go away, it should be Well tonight I do not have to impress any so I'll keep my dirt until tomorrow.

February 29, 2012

I wake up having breakfast with a biscuit preinzuppato (the fridge and left without power and the umidià that has sprung and wet cookies, you may wonder why we put the cookies in the fridge, because otherwise we eat them instead of them eat ants ).
We go down to Sant'Antonio to speak to the President Cassandra, but first we stop at the ministry of agriculture because the manager wants to speak to us, we understand from his words that the meeting with the president on Monday gave its fruits, the rulers are excited about the our project and we want to entrust 100 acres of land to make a cocoa plantation of quality, in addition to "Fundao" manager proposes "Porto Real" and "San G. ...." I do not remember! "Por - cavacca. "
We have little time because at 9 there President, we salute and so fast because we are already late, the second meeting with the President and nothing short of enlightening, with him there are 2 members of the executive council who deal with infrastructure and agriculture, we talk about many things but the thing that most fascinates him and the possibility as well as to give us a land where making a cocoa plantation of quality, and to be able to start an activity with time of chocolate in the island, many words as recited "Jalisse" flowing full of ideas and sharing such as that of the regional fund where cocoa buyers pay a reward if the quality of cocoa and and with this money you can make development projects and sustainability.
We go out even more galvanized the first time, now we are entitled to two more visits to a "Porto Real" a near "Nova Estrela," but first we have to go with Rita finish off the purchase of a piece of land on which to realize an experimental station for the improvement of cocoa and where to build a small house for me, when I come to a Prince working.
The plot of land and "Ponta do Sol" Branchigno near the house, a piece of paradise with a view of the sea to the north BREATHTAKING!, but beyond that is also a great piece of land in what is near and plan and already the electric current and the water, in addition there is the structure that we want to retrieve an old dryer is not currently used.
We speak here in a while and although in the 'island everyone wants to sell their land type if you pull a little and eventually the price that we are dealing not satisfied that neither of us will buy it that he sells, or maybe who knows .. Satisfied .. both.
Handshake and go to visit the land of the President, 20 acres at the lower tip do sol, the " garote " Which brings us to the land of President Obama wearing a T-shirt, runs runs from the top and we get alarmingly low, these were days of great walks and legs are fatigued in addition to this I have a dislocated right ankle; I realize as soon as we begin to fall 45 minute uphill ertissima where the pain comes over me I stop 5-6 maybe 7 times I no longer strength to endure the pain but I'm a bit at a time.
Rita and I arrived on the rocks waiting for me, their (smart) mica are coming, I look at them for a while that we are buying the land and we plan a little above where it should come to my house for them and not bother us, I I would like to make a house-shaped "pods" cocoa, something very artistic, but I see now only to return home quickly to put a little Artica.
We eat a fagiolata I think I'll regret having eaten and visit real port, this area is an area that the President has proposed to establish our company, and very close to the center of Prince and electric current that passes near and water, planting and beautiful clean enough and is especially a structure that if we could find the funds to convert back to the chocolate factory would be a blast! A big beautiful but dilapidated former hospital, I think at this point that the choice is almost inevitable between "Fundao" and "Porto Real" I think that I will give directions for the second!
The fagiolata with me as well as the thought for the grandson of Branchigno that is lost in the forest and go hunting for the macacão, we are already the third day and still there are no signs of discovery.
Last evening and already I feel strange to climb that feeling of nostalgia mixed with desire to return home, I really miss my family, Barbara, Ari, Marty and Anita pieces near and far that I would be here with me.

March 1, 2012

Today tiratissimo a day, we wake up and leave home at 5 am, first of all we need to do a tour to see Praia Banana, Branchigno very keen that I see, I'm not a big fan of the beaches but this is really very cute two photos and down fast to go to the bank to withdraw € 800 to give the deposit to the owner of the land I bought, go to the bank as a prince and go to the doctor in Italy, long tail, and employed phlegmatic, but we have also the meeting with the president at 9.00 am, we leave everything to Carlos that he wants the job at the bank, we are number 36 and after an hour of opening the doors have just served the number 6!
The President also today have little time has assmeblea regional but we can not exchange 2 chat before being recalled by his secretary because I had shorts and for the sake of protocol would not have been able to speak with the President.
I believe that we leave the earth and our and that a year from now we will begin to finally grow cocoa directly to the prince.
We pay the down payment, signatures and copies away to the airport, a tear falls greeting Branchigno me, and he was really a piece of family and soon gained Coglio repay his hospitality, there is time for another interview commissioned by the president who wants the radio announcing the arrival of the Italian .. Well He's .. .
This evening we stay in São Tomé and tomorrow morning we leave for Italy, I read some newspapers on the Internet and eventually spread Italian and below the level of 300.00, good Mario, we hope that the tears of these maneuvers give new impetus to our Italy, or in any case I one foot out the ' I put it.
Now I'm enjoying the last half a day of relaxation, I do not want more I write to remember, rip his mind and I'm enjoying my new project, and we just bought the plantation in Prince.



Translated with Google Translate