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Alice Journey - Bènem

Poverty has no barriers. Poverty does not live in the fog. Poverty is not pink. Poverty is not painless. Poverty has not only one face.
Patrícia Carvalho, in newspaper "Public", 14/10/2015

Bènem exists, she is not fiction.

She belongs to the group of people who, on Sal island, are commonly referred to as "Manjacos", ie from African mainland.

In general they are transparent. We do not look at them, we do not see the facial features, or be attentive to what they say.

They are almost all dedicated to trade and are quite insistent to sell crafts they usually carry.

They are (the large majority) poor. Very poor. And poverty is not painless.

They live where by chance is possibe, often occupying unfinished or under construction dwellings.

No water, no energy, no privacy.

Bènem exists and she is poor.

She has a joy that is a slap in the face of passers-by and a smile that could melt the most stoned heart.

Is marketer and has a small bank, right next to the Chill Out Bar.

Under heat or wind, from Monday to Saturday Bènem is there.

Selling statuettes and bracelets.

She's young, owns a fantastic pair of eyes and smile.

Has a golden tongue piercing.

Dresses always very vivid and never forget to paint her nails.

Dark chocolate skin, she is all collored.

Buying from Bènem is a ritual.

You have to haggle, talk and see her laugh.

At the end we get - always – an agreement and it is guaranteed that she offers a small gift.

The first time she offered me the final little gift I was surprised.

- It is normal, it is Africa - was the prompt reply.

Poverty has no barriers.

Indifference makes others transparent.

Maria Filomena Falé