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The Bijagós are a very ancient ethnic group. Great navigators and warriors in the past, in some moment they have chosen to became farmers and hunters. It is a very structured and balanced society, where women and old people have a critical footprint - it is said that that's the reason why their Values have been so well preserved.
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Visiting a village and interacting with their people, is the best way of understanding the Bijagós culture.
Everything is well organized and preserved, not only in the village, but also in the surrounding lands that each village owns.
That is due to a constant planning of the community life, wich is discussed in detail long in advance. Then, tasks are distributed and thoroughly executed.
Planning and teamwork, were not invented by the Occident...
Despite some obvious challenges due to their remoteness in a poor country, the Bijagós are not "poor in the Occidental sense" - They have the necessary belongings and food to live, and are immerged in a very unique environment, that they consciously protect with their culture.
Their society is not moneyterized. The Bijagós mainly exchange products between themselves, and only very occasionally, do they buy from the continent.
Children in the Bijagós are educated on the basis of the respect for the elder ones, and for the nature - they all go through a long period where they live alone in the forest. Some follow the village school where, in addition to Creole, they also learn Portuguese.
Most of the people refer that having met the Bijagós in their environment, in some way contributed to question and bench-mark the visitors life back in their own countries.
Kindness is a central part of the Bijagós culture. Once one arrives into a village and "knocks at their door" - asking permission to the Queen for the visit, they always offer a warm and direct welcome to foreigners.
For the children, a guests visit is a unique happening, that always needs to be mutually celebrated. Again, comparing those children moral education and joy of living, with our daily references, is quite an interesting exercise.
The AFRICA PRINCESS has an on-going support program, to help the daily living and the development within their culture, of 5 villages. In case our guests want to contribute with non-monetary donations, please let us know in advance, and we will give the necessary clues before the trip.