This is a travel documentary in two senses. First, we are going somewhere. But second, also in the sense that this is a country on the cusp of change. There are large unexploited oil deposits discovered near the island. The Chinese Government says São Tomé is on their radar. International relations with Brazil and Nigeria revolve around the discovery of large oil.
Africa is changing.
Even though there is Poverty and Malaria, and conflict, that’s not all there is to it. There are actually pretty nice places to live in. If there is a commonality among the opinions of Africans than it’s that the the story of war and poverty in some parts has overshadowed all the change and the success stories you can find in others.
I want to convince people that not all of Africa is a hellhole.
Home on the Equator is a documentary about Sao Tome and Principe. We explore the geographical center of the world both by talking to the local people as well as European immigrants who have chosen to move here.
We are personal. We don’t want to talk about “African problems”; what we want to talk about is the aspirations of individual people with names; their struggles and their entrepreneurial success illuminates the country.
The aim is the revelation, documentation, and promotion of this tiny island nation. We try to avoid romanticism and historicity; this is today – contemporary, modern, and young – deeply rooted in the present tense.
- Kathleen Becker: a travel writer living in Lisbon who dedicated to spend a year of her life on the islands to write the first ever guidebook on the country published only last year.
- Claudio Corallo: a farmer who grows cacao made from the first seeds ever brought back from South America in his chocolate factory. His first wife was killed by Malaria and his second wife moved to Lisbon with their daughter. But he still continues on the island.
- Ceutónia Lima: a leader of the local chapter of an aid organization which helped to set up community radios on the islands to change the way people communicate. This together with bed-net distribution has lowered the number of malaria and typhoid cases.
- Maria do Ceu Madureira: a biologist who thinks the endemic plant species on the islands hold a key to the cure of cancer. She has analyzed plants in the forest and works with local herbalists to uncover the secrets of the traditional forest medicine.
- Aguinaldo Salvaterra: a CEO and manager of the local Internet Service provider who was instrumental in setting up an E-Governance program. His company has also provided Internet access to many schools over the country.
- DJ Alma: a Disk-Jockey who plays on the most popular parties in the country. His favorite playlist includes the hottest music in the Lusophone community: Zouk, Kizomba, Tarraxinha and his own mixes he produces for the local nightclub scene.
- Ermis Quaresma: a Capoeira teacher living in Lisbon. Capoeira is one of the most popular past-time for the children in Sao Tome. We discuss the reasons why Ermis left the islands. And why he wants to return.
Does this mean more wealth, liberty, and democracy for all the people? Or will it lead to the benefit of the few in the governing class leaving the have-nots behind? The question is: where will the Petrodollars go? Will the Island have the same fate as it’s neighbours in mailand Africa?