The time I went to Cape Verde with my father. [Part 1]
I had always wanted to go to Cape Verde but somehow I never got around to it. Then one day TACV, Cabo Verde Airlines, held a promotional raffle in Los Angeles, California, for 2 round trip tickets and to my complete surprise, I won. No more excuses.
The first decision I had to make was who would be my traveling companion? Many volunteers came forward wanting to claim the seat next to me on the plane but in the end I made the only logical choice I could. I decided to take my father, who like myself, had never been to Cape Verde. His fluency in Crioulo was definitely a factor in the decision making process. His parents, my grandparents, João and Maria, came to America from Cape Verde in the 1920’s. They raised their five children, Arthur, John, Antonia, Anthony and Mary in Freetown, Massachusetts. My Grandparents never returned to their homeland and none of their children had ever made the trip. When I told my father to pack his bags it was a bitter sweet realization for him. He immediately wrote letters and made phone calls alerting relatives of our impending arrival.
I flew from my home in California to the East coast and spent a few days in Freetown before departing for Cape Verde. My mother, who passed away some years earlier, had left a small suitcase behind. I decided to fill it with clothes and other items so I could bring it with me and give it to some deserving soul. In my mind, I was traveling to Cape Verde with both my parents. She was second generation like my father and had never visited.
We flew from Logan Airport and six hours later we arrived in Sal and then a quick hop to São Vicente. To our surprise, there were a handful of relatives waiting at the airport there to greet us. After the hugs, tears and kisses we were received at the residence of my father’s Godmother, Pedro Cruz, who was in his mid-eighties at the time. My father explained to me how Pedro carried him to the church for his baptism and regardless of the gender of this person, male or female, they were your Godmother. Senor Cruz had come to America in the 20’s but Sodade for Cape Verde overtook him and he returned home after a few years. Pedro and his family had prepared a feast for us.
Afterwards my father and I were taken to our hotel which was about 2 miles away from Pedro’s house. The next day when we woke up, Pedro had already walked to our hotel so he would be there when we woke up. He did so everyday we were there…[to be continued].
By Mike Costa