Sao Tome: Roca Agostinho Neto
And the final post from São Tomé – the biggest former cocoa plantation – Roca Agostinho Neto (renamed after the Angolan communist revolutionary leader). Unlike other rocas that are trying to convert to hotels or start making cocoa or coffee again, this one is in a total state of disintegration and abandon since 1975, the day when the islands of São Tomé & Principe had the independence fall on them, Portuguese left, and all private property was nationalized. People live like squatters in these abandoned buildings that once used to be a hospital, a school, and even a theater – it’s pretty squalid conditions. This Roca is like a summary of São Tomé – time stands still here, the world doesn’t know what São Tomé is and where it is located, socialism has run the country into ground, government is incompetent, and people just go day to day in poverty and simple life. Still smiling and happy and welcoming to few foreign tourists who venture outside their resorts.