I had heard from the group of Spanish tourists on the Island that It was possible to avoid heading back to Bissau by catching a boat to Sao Joa, only ten minutes away. The only catch being that there was no transport options for 14kms… The Spanish, and a Italian couple were busy agreeing a price for them to be taken the distance on Motorbikes. At more than 7,000CFA each I wasn’t interested. I would walk.
So we all got in the boat; the bikes were lowered down, and sure enough eventually, after more shouting over the price they eventually left. I set off, and amazingly soon overtook them! Only for the briefest of moments though; as soon as the tanks were full they sped of in the distance.
After 3 hours I was certain I had walked the 14kms. At least it felt like I had! Yet there were no signs of transport leaving; just old burnt out ones that had seen better days! So, I had no choice but to keep walking. As the hours passed, my pack seemed to get heavier and heavier. I had enjoyed the first few hours but now, with the main heat of the day pounding down on me, and a strange red rash appearing on my legs (I think from the rubbing of my trousers) I had enough and was ready to get taken the rest of the way to Buba (about 40 kms away).
I continued walking and eventually met a group of local women who, as I understood were also heading to Buba. They would walk to Felekunda and then pick up some transport. I felt revitalised and I found new strength to continue. We passed many small villages along the way. Upon arriving at each one I prayed there would be a bus or van waiting… We passed a unicef hospital were I was shown in. There was a woman lying down looking not in good shape. From what I understood she either was giving birth or had Malaria. It was hard to tell…
We trekked on. Felekunda I was told was still over two hours away. I was very tired. I was now close to 6pm. I had been walking since 10.15, pretty much non-stop with my backpack and camera bag. I was starting to question my sanity as to why I do this to myself when I could have paid about £10 and would have arrived hours ago in relative comfort… That was it; comfort. It’s a bit of a corny saying but it’s true. No paid, no gain. Upon me seeing a transport truck arriving from the distance I rejoiced and shouted ‘Hamdulillah!’ (Praise to God!) I said goodbye to my friends who would continue on foot. They had been a big help!
I was told to jump in the front, and off we went. I must have walked between 25-30kms. I can’t be sure, at least it sure felt like I had! In the front of the van was Amadilla, who spoke enough French so we could communicate. He loved football, so we talked mainly about this before eventually arriving in Felecunda(I would never had made it by foot!)
We loaded on some more passengers and continued to further for another 45mins to Buba. It was about 8pm. I had little energy to find a hotel so accepted his offer of staying at his house. Upon entering it was obvious he was doing OK. With Satellite TV, a computer and nice couches he was by far the ‘richest’ BissaunI was yet to meet. He showed me my room, which was more than adequate before we sat down to watch Arsenal v Man City, which had just started. Although the game was OK, it finished 0-0, which I was more than happy about being that Man Utd were 1st and wanting to stray further from second and third.
After Dinner, which consisted of Rice, Sardines, Bread, Salad and Coke! I had to retire. It had been a long day. It seems I am my own worst enemy a lot of the time. Yet I had reached Buba, like my friends had, yet it didn’t cost me a cent. It took just 8 hours of walking, sweating in the sun, knowing that in time I would find something to take me further down the road to where my fate lay. A memorable day!