Sao Tome and Principe - River of Life

It’s Always the Laundry Day at the River of Life

Ana Barreto

Ana Barreto

Hi! I'm Ana, also known as Travellight.
I'm Portuguese, live in Lisbon and I'm a travel addict!
I've been traveling since I was a teenager and I've been around the World a few times already.
This is my attempt to share with you my experiences and the knowledge I've collected after more than 20 years of non-stop traveling. Hope you like it!
You can read more about me here.
Ana Barreto

“Every day is laundry day”, she told me with a smile.  I smiled back as I watched that beautiful young girl carry her dirty clothes to the river.

For centuries, rivers have been the center of human settlements.  Many villages and numerous cities were born and developed around water banks.  With time, however, modern evolution changed the human habits and no longer were the rivers at the center of our lives, or so I taught at least.

In São Tomé and Principe, the second smallest country in Africa, the river is still very important, and life still takes place around it.  I quickly discovered that, as I followed the young girl thru her little village.  She carried a pack of dirty clothes on her head and I was curious to find out where she was going to do the laundry.

Nothing could have prepared me to the sight that unraveled right before my eyes as we crossed the thick vegetation surrounding her village.  It was breathtaking!  There were waterfalls, a beautiful river plus a beach – all in the same spot!

The place was buzzing with life – countless local women were washing their clothes and plates, gossiped about their neighbors, and the latest news.

Sao Tome and Principe - River of LifeChildren were diving, splashing and swimming in the water, while some older men fished nearby.  Life was everywhere!

It was clearly a happy place, and the children’s laughter made me laugh too.  They ran around me, all curious to observe me.  They wanted to pose for my camera and when I showed them their photos they laughed even harder and made fun of each other.

I had and incredible time there and finally understood the meaning of São Tomé’s expression “leve-leve”.  It means: relax, live your life without stress, enjoy the moment.

Those people sure know how to do it.  I wish we could all learn from them.  I’m sure our lives would be simpler, better and happier.

Sao Tome and Principe - River of Life

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