Britain's hidden secret

Britain’s hidden secret

When you can see a tiny piece of land on the horizon after days at sea on the RMS St. Helena, you wonder what will be there. What will this land look like, so small in the middle of the huge Atlantic ocean. Who lives there? What will the people look like? Why do they live there? I had left Cape Town for this island that I knew little about. I took my biscuits because my mother had told me to make sure that I had food for the voyage. That was my first mistaken perception, and it seems that that was just the start of many more to come.

The ship was like a five star hotel, with the best service, the best food, and it gave me my first encounter with ‘Saints’ the people who come from St. Helena, the island that I was travelling to. The anticipation when the ship dropped anchor in the harbour cannot be compared to any arrival by air. Everyone is out on deck, listening, watching, waiting, some telling stories of the last time they were home. I was out there too, but I had nothing to say.

We got into the small boat that takes you to shore, and nothing had prepared me for an arrival at St. Helena. Everyone was there, looking for their family, their friends, some just down there to see who was going to be new on the island. I felt then that I had touched somewhere special. Wow. This was amazing place, I couldn’t believe what I saw. I felt that I was lost. I had reached a place that I didn’t realise actually existed in this world. The wealth is not material, there is an undiscovered nature that is so closely linked to the lives of the people there, it is their reality, but is a reality I had not reached yet, not even in my dreams. I had proof that paradise exists.

Anselmo Pelembe

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