Chapter 2:. Sal Airport  

Panic strikes. I’m in a foreign country and I don’t know the language. I have money, but no way of using it. I have 5 hours before my plane even boards. I’m hungry. I have no way of calling anyone. I can’t call home. I can’t call my cousins. I’m 5’4” with a bag full of riches worth more than the average Cape Verdean’s 6-month income. I read the only travel guide in English, and it can’t help me out of the situation. I have a miniature first aid kit in my bag and a head full of facts about each island. I’m stuck in the middle of a West African airport. I’m among people, but I can’t speak to them. I’m hot, and I stink. I look like a lost creature, pacing in confusion. I’m trying to solve my problem. I must wait.

I have no choice but to fall into the pace of this place. I sleep upright in a chair. My carry on holds my head up. If it is stolen, I will fall and wake. It is the best protection I can engineer. I nap in front of the TACV office. I hope for good dreams.

Someone taps my shoulder. He taps again and I wake. He is kneeling on his heels in front of me. It is a friendly man only a few years older than I am.

“La Ninia?,” he says.

I’m groggy. Then a dawn.