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Visiting Ribeira Bote in Mindelo

· Travel

The Sonvela Arte project, which I created in 2014, is a Street Art project with a strong focus on Community Tourism and community development in general. We needed to work on creating better living conditions and opportunities for residents to earn a living with certain activities. What better way to do that than with tourism?

The neighborhood of Ribeira Bote already had an existing Community Tourism project, so it only made sense to partner up with this fantastic project. But, we also wanted to be able to create our own program if needed. Because of our partnership, I had done a few visits as a tour guide within the neighborhood and these had been amazing experiences. The reactions of people made me very happy and exited.

“Dear Freddy,

Thank you for showing us a little bit of how people live in Ribeira Bote. Thank you also for the explanation of your project and the invitation at the families house an the delicious fish meal!Please say hello an thank you to the family and perhaps can you show them the fotos. All the best wishes for you, your project and Riberia Bote.” – Renate and Achim

The vision that we had of transforming (a part of) the neighborhood together, and then creating opportunities within tourism were coming to life.

In 2017 we had one of the highlights of the entire project so far. It was the perfect example of what we set out to achieve. We we're lucky to have the support of the Kizomba Festival, and the guests attending it. More than 30 people were interested in seeing our project and spending some time in the neighborhood!

In this case, we decided on a full Sonvela Arte – Kizomba Festival partnership. Our focus would be the first street we started working on back in 2014, and the residents we're very happy to be a part of it. For me this first street, Rua d'Salgamorto, would make or break the project. It's not only special because of the fact that it's where we started, it has more to do with how we all came together to get things done.

Since I was outside of Cape Verde at that time, I had to organize the visit though WhatsApp, with tour guide Elzo and especially with Neidy. Neidy was in charge of getting everything and everyone together in the neighborhood. There would be food, drinks, music, dancing and even a demonstration of how coffee is made.

The street looked incredible. Everyone joined in making sure things were cleaned. Neidy had chairs, tables and parasols set up outside making it look like a restaurant. The idea was that we wanted to have as many people as possible participate so that the fee the guests paid for the visit could be distributed as much possible as well.

Visitors from the UK enjoying a visit to Ribeira Bote

The group was split up in 3 groups of 10 of or 11 people, so that it would not feel as to intrusive for the neighborhood and daily life there. The Sonvela Arte team was present as well. They spoke to the group about the process of the project. Everyone sat down together for lunch. It was an unforgettable day for many of us.

Since then, we've been able to receive a few other (smaller) groups for lunch at Neidy's. It gives us great pleasure knowing people are interested in life around neighborhoods such as Ribeira Bote. What's more amazing it that people have told me that their visit to the neighborhood was the best part of the entire trip to Cape Verde. This is what motivates us to continue.

Today, the visits are more focused on lunch at Neidy's house. She is excellent in the kitchen, with the best traditional cachupa in town. The visits also allow you to see all the Street Art created by the team. Unfortunately I'm not always able to be a part of a visit, but I'm always happy to set it up. We're able to create a tailor made visit for groups, just like the one described above.

Visit us and see for yourself how our work is having an impact on the lives of people in what I call 'a forgotten neighrborhood'. For more information, please click the button for a chat :)

Freddy, the creator of the blog

Hi, I'm Freddy, the creator of the blog. I'm also the founder of Sonvela, and the creator of the Sonvela Arte project. Thank you so much for reading!