How we live now | Guinea-Bissau

A house in Guinea-Bissau

Doors wide open in the Cuntum Madina neighbourhood

A simple mud-plastered house with a corrugated iron roof stands slightly elevated in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. The door is open. Potted plants stand in front of the door.

Carla Tomás Cabral's house is located in Bissau's Cuntum Madina neighborhood

This house is located in the Cuntum Madina district of Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau in West Africa. The middle section of the house - easily recognizable by the many plants in front of the door - belongs to Carla Tomás Cabral, known as Dona Carla. She lives here with her two sons Pipi (21) and Buba (11).

The neighbourhood is pleasantly quiet. Every now and then a cab drives by, or a goat walks along in front of the porch. Across the street, neighbors wash their clothes together, because the houses here are not connected to running water or electricity. Instead, everyone goes to the nearby well. Every evening, Dona Carla charges a large flashlight in the center of the neighborhood to provide light at night.

The house has clay plastered walls, a corrugated iron roof and a raised step to enter: It resembles most of the houses in the area. The step protects the house from the streams of water that flow down the street during the rainy season. In total, four parties live in the house. You hear a lot from each other, but there is also a close bond. The doors are always open.