Are Portugal and Martinique similar?

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Hello everybody!

     I am Jerry from Martinique, the city of Rivière-pilote. I came here for my short term volunteering. I will give you my first impressions about Faro city.

    I arrived in the evening around midnight and it was very very very very cold. At midnight was nothing to do with desert streets, but I thought the city was already beautiful and friendly.

    When I woke up the next day, it was still cold, “help me” I thought.

    That day I got to know the association and its volunteers, they seemed friendly and smiling. On our free time, I sought the rays of the sun to warm myself, which usually I flee to Martinique.

    After we went to town to have lunch together. It was a great time and good meal, thank you Jesica.  Then we had a city tour which was great. The town is really quiet and friendly. I discovered the marina fairly well, but my favourite moment was when we sat on the village square and the sun came to warm me. We stayed there for a long time, great time.  After we went to join other volunteers in a cafe.  Very glad to know them. After returning to the marina for a photo shoot and there, the sun abandoned me, signal of the return home for me.  Beautiful first day conclusion.

    On my second day I realised that life in Faro is like life in Rivière-pilote, Martinique, for example:

1. Rivière-pilote and Faro are both on the south:

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2. We have the same food: sweet potatoes, oranges and something similar like Pastéis de Nata and we call it “Flan”:

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3. Museums are in front of the beach:

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4. Public transportation are quite similar:

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    The most shocking for me was the difference in price, comparing Portugal and Martinique, it is a huge difference. Food, clothing, tourist activities are much cheaper in Portugal.

    Talking about the differences:

1. Population and temperature:

Rivière-pilote: 11,905 inhabitants – 35.78km² – between 22 and 31 degrees;

Faro: 118,000 inhabitants – 201.31km² – between 12 and 24 degrees approximate.

2. The sea and the beaches:

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3. Faro has own flag.

4. The colour of Melon is different.

    So this is my short first impression.

    I love Faro, I love Portugal, but I guess I would love it more in summer :).

    I am thinking to come back for my next vacation, if life allows.

-Hi everyone, It was Jerry!-

How we live with Corona here?

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I like this saying: “Man Plans, and God Laughs”. Isn’t it true? What would you do instead of being home? What are your plans?🙃

I think probably the most popular answer would be: “travel”, “meet friends/family”.

See? All we need is to be free and have that connection and touch between each other. And, probably, when you start losing it, at some point, you appreciate it more, it gets more value. (I know, we all well know that🙄, but it just a good reminder now💁‍♀️).

Maybe for some of us, I seem wrong, but it’s just what I think and feel at the moment.

But what I truly wanna say, that I am super happy that this unusual period I can experience feeling safe because of our hosting organisation – ECOS! 🙏 (my mum says huge Thanks too 😊) They took this situation so seriously! They gave us masks, special soap, paper towels, thermometers, medicines and necessary info and updates about the situation and how to take care of ourselves and each other. Feeling very cared. ❤️

They even moved me for 14 days from the first flat to another, because I have some issues with my health and my flatmates where traveling through the whole country by trains from arrival training for ESC volunteers which was placed in Braga. So ya never know folks. 🤷‍♀️

Even though we can not meet each other, time to time we are having “Zoom” meetings with the organisation and the team members. The coordinators always asking us about our current feelings, thoughts, which super helps to feel important.

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And on our casual time we are trying to eat healthy, to not go out and have unnecessary meetings. For 14 days we can not meet our girls who lives in Alistão.🙈 We have to do everything, to not bring virus home or to spread it more.

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The actual thing what we need is our Health, that we could easily enjoy all these stuff… meeting with friends and family, outdoors activities and etc. So let’s take this responsibility and save Yourself and most importantly Others and Respect Everyone. 😷

#StayHome

-Dovilė-

Algarve Road Trip – Day 10

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Well, what can I say… WOW!

Oh, for the beggining it is necessary to mention, that All the pictures you google about Faro city, it is actually Algarve region. Juuust to be clear. Haha.

Example ⤵️

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And if you are willing to see all these places, you need to catch a bus or train and be ready to have a lil walk, because some train stations are quite far away from the city centers. But that’s not a problem for me. 🙂

So yeah, Road trip. Huge thanks to Contextos, who invited us to join their “team building” and we had this gorgeous opportunity to see few cities of Algarve! 🥰

More about it:

Youtube: Algarve Road Trip | Day 10

Take care!

-Dovilė-

First 5 days as a Volunteer in Faro

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Many years I’ve been dreaming to do my voluntary work abroad with ESC. So yeah, clearly – dreams really come true. Hehe.

It’s been 5 days already, since I started my adventure in Faro as a Volunteer.

And being here I found very pleasant. First of all, the most important thing in the working environment to me is People, so I can tell You now.. feeling very Rich and Lucky with their welcoming, care, creativity,  understanding, humour, honesty.. melts hearts. ❤

Secondly, The City. I mean. Comparing with the place I came from, seems that we have only McDonald’s in common, well.. and Cold flat (for now). But:

NO Oranges growing just right on the street;

NO Palm trees;

NO Cactus growing naturally;

NO That much of SUN, on winter especially;

NO Public park with the Peacocks;

NO Tuns of Live music Pubs;

NO Port;

NO calçada portuguesa or mosaico português;

NO Azulejos (tiles) on the buildings outside wall;

NO Ale-Hop shop;

NO that many dark hair and brown eyes people;

NO one speaks Portuguese;

NO such rooftops;

NO such architecture;

NO such pastel evening skies;

NOt even the flat in the city center!

These are the differences I have noticed after 5 days living in Faro. Wondering what plans has planned a future to me. :))

By clicking this, you can see my short video about this Experience.

First 5 days in Faro as an ESC Volunteer

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See you soon!

– Dovilė –

A new life for me in Faro

Since a few years, I wanted to be volunteer abroad. This new year 2020 gave me the opportunity to come to Faro, which is such a soothing and warm city. Every day, people smile and live under this breathtaking sun. This is so much pleasant to get up every morning seeing this sun through the windows and the noise of planes going to a different country. The life in Portugal is different, people seem to be less stressed, the food is different and the colors you can see on the buildings are different,…
I feel free and peaceful in my new house, I am ready to discover lots of new things especially the language, discover new environment and new people. It’s already been two weeks that I live here, time flies so fast and I really hope to leave with a lot of knowledge.

I am excited to begin in my association to help people who are in difficulties. In fact, I want to feel useful for a population in need. I want to discover the social sector in order to get back to school in next september in order to become a specialized educator.
It is still too complicated for me to speak english correctly, I am sorry for my spelling mistakes or misunderstanding but I think and I will improve myself for the next weeks.

xoxo

Sarah

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Farewell, my friends

Just for you to know, these words do not look real. The packing is done. My tickets are bought, the place that has been my home during a year is ready, my room is practically empty… And yet, everything seems so unreal to me.

It is really hard to realize the fact these are my last words for you in this blog.

So you can expect this post to be shorter, since saying goodbye is very hard for me, but I have to do it. I owe it to all those of you who have read me at some point.

I am going to miss Faro a lot. Its sunsets, the sound of the birds, the light you have here. I will miss the Ria Formosa and the amazing feeling you get whenever you stop a little, just to observe the landscape. I will miss the constant “oh, they are doing something there”, the music, the street art, the performances. My house, yet old but simply adorable and unique, our incredible rooftop and even the neighbours’ dog, which always barks at me when I am hanging the clothes! Jezz, I think I am even going to miss the noisy people in the street during weekends!

However, above all, I will miss people and my daily day here. My team from CCVAlg and ECOS, which have been a real family for me during this experience. Not even a single day I felt alone or unprotected, thanks to all of you for such affection and love.

Obrigada para sempre, Faro, because you crossed my path at the perfect time. Thanks for all your lessons, for the laughs, the incredible people and for your magic sunsets, which will always occupy a unique place in my heart.

Até já, meus queridos e queridas 🙂

Luisa

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39 days

39 Days…

Summer has already gone. I knew it would be fast, but not that fast! Holidays back home and in Canary Islands (my sister got married!), beach, raising environmental awareness at the Centro Ciência Viva do Algarve, while taking people to the Apollo 11 Mission and to outer-space with the Planetarium that we have in here right now. Looking after the creatures of the Apalpário and observing, day by day, my beloved Seahorses and our baby Choquito. This has been my summer. My amazing and fantastic summer.

Today I have realized that I just have 39 days left in Faro. 39 days to finish my project, to finish my role as a European Volunteer and the feelings are quite mixed. I feel like I am ready for the next step but, at the same time, I cannot but feel sad and afraid for leaving all this behind, all these great people I have found so far, a job that I like a lot, the Marina and its sunsets, and even my old-warm-noisy house.

In order to make this farewell less hard, what I will be doing during these 39 days is to join different activities whenever I can, while I keep up with my work.

The summer in the CCVAlg has passed raising awareness amongst local people and tourists. I have been able to talk to a lot of people and showing them the creatures of the Ria Formosa: hermit crabs, normal crabs, peacock blenny, toadfish, cuttlefish, seahorses…

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I have learnt so much about these amazing animals while teaching others 🙂 Meanwhile, as part of my constant process of learning, I got the chance to work at a Planetarium! Apollo 11 Mission, galaxies, constellations…Another fantastic experience that Faro has given to me!

 

But let’s come back to the “amazing things before leaving”, because I have done the first one of them. Something I have always wanted to do and yesterday, finally, I could accomplish: caving.  Yes my dears. Almost three hours, down there, climbing, dragging in the mud, in the darkness…..The results? I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN!!!

The Cave em Vale Telheiro is in Loulé, and I went there thanks to the activities of Ciência Viva no Verão. Here you have the list of the ones left! Be brave, and sign up for one: https://www.cienciaviva.pt/veraocv/2019/ Our guides during the expedition were part of Geonauta (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Geonauta-127596620605567/) and they looked after us and helped us to face our fears. Here you have an image of myself, before and after this adventure! (Special attention to my shoes…)

We went down and down, witnessing salas and salas within the cave. Columns, stalactites and stalagmites in our way. Narrow spaces, in which you apparently could not possibily fit….but you actually can!! Spiders hidden somewhere and small scorpions too (just possible to see them in the caves of the Algarve!). Unfortunatelly we could not see any of these animals, because even though they are blind, they have marvellous and super developed senses of smell and hearing!!! And mud, orange mud that covers your skin, your clothes, your head…Amazing isn’t it??? :D:D

Here you have some more pictures (and I do not discard the fact of showing you more as soon as I have them). The first and last photo correspondes to the entrance/exit of the cave. Narrow spaces, my friends. The very first moments I could swear that I would not fit, I promise!

I truly encourage you to be brave and do always what you want to do! Even if it seems scary, dark, impossible to do…Try it! The feelings after these “jumps” are, simply, indescribable.

See you in the next post (before you can imagine, remember: 39 days….).

Thanks for reading.

Beijinhos!

Luisa

Back and forth!

Hello people!!

It has been a long time since the last time I shared my experiences and thoughts with all of you. In my defense, I will say that my time had been quite limited the last months and my computer has gone through very, veeeery difficult moments. Now he is getting better, no worries 🙂

Last time I spoke about OPTO and how A-M-A-Z-I-N-G it was for me. In the middle of my silence, my colleague has also writen down a super nice post talking about a moment that is coming close for me as well: the farewell (I strongly recommend you to read it, especially if you are in “that” moment too, or just to see what it feels like to finish a voluntary service).

Let’s come back to OPTO and what happened after it: weeks of activities with kids, having a lot of fun. I went to Albufeira and Olhão, for the Semana da Criança and we carried out super cool games with the kids, all of them with a scientific base. Their faces when you explain to them why things happen like they do….Are PRICELESS! I promise 🙂

After that, I went to Alte to assist one of my colleagues of the CCVAlg. We did a “drawing electronic machines” using recycled materials and small batteries so they could move! Is it not amazing? It was the first time I worked with things involving electricity (low intensity, nothing dangerous) and I “adorei” it!!

 

 

We also had a Chess Tournament (see me as the Queen in the pictures xD) and a the first Colóquio Internacional Marés de Histórias, with the association AJUDARIS. Did you know them? They carry out really nice projects with kids. Here you have their website, in case you want to know more: http://www.ajudaris.org/site/

Then, after all these amazing weeks and funny activities, another of the remarkable moments during my EVS arrived: MID-TERM TRAINING. This time I went to Serra da Estrela. Another useful experience, full of learning and new people.

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And then, just a week after my Mid Term, thanks to ECOS I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Young European Forum for Social Cohesion in Berlin. The opportunity came to me randomly, but I took it. And here, dears, is one of the things I have learnt so far during my EVS: BE ACTIVE AND GRAB THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT APPEAR IN YOUR WAY!! DO NOT BE SCARED!! Fear or shyness wont lead you to have great moments, the contrary! If I had not been brave and active, I could not have gone to Berlin which would have been a pity, because the experience was marvellous and Berlin….What can I say? I was really looking forward to visit it because, even though I was in Germany for my Erasmus, my city was quite far from the capital and I did not have the chance to go there!

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We were there for three days, talking about different ways for fostering and promoting Social Cohesion while Building Bridges in a world of biodiversity. I met a lot of new and very interesting people, which gave me the possibility to strengthened my network (today: the most important tool you have to improve your employability). Besides, I learnt a lot about Social Cohesion and how important is for the correct development of more open, inclusive and free societies. Last, but not least, I saw a lot of strength amongst us: very powerfull people, creative and really stubborn, working together in different countries to achieve the same thing.

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So, as you can see, the last two months have been quite strong for me: full of things, new experiences, new people, a broken computer, a broken camara (I am still trying to get over this loss…) but, above all: a lot of constant learning!!!

Thank you for reading and see you in the next post!

Beijinhos!

 

Luisa

The Timely Deliberations of a Veteran Volunteer

Slow down. Take a deep breath. That unsettling feeling in the pit of your stomach that keeps nagging you with increasing intensity? It’s the (un)welcome feeling of future, coming out to get you. It is of no consequence whatsoever if you planned for this – whether you have considered and deliberated all of your options, if you have a clear path or if your only plan is to hide under someone’s stairs. Because wherever your time during EVS has led you, it is now almost over and the time has come to move forward.

It is very familiar to us all – some of us are planners, some are going with the flow. And let’s face it, none of us is Harry Potter, so the option of hiding under someone’s stairs is most likely out. And so, we continue on. We continue with a new perspective, with an experience we will never forget. Hopefully we move towards a goal with a new set of skills we have acquired throughout our period under EVS.

A lot of us are still in doubt and we know full well that things will never be the same. From now on we will no longer be under the care and mentorship of our coordinators, supervisors and mentors. And while it is a daunting thought, it is also supposed to be a freedom of sorts. A freedom to continue the exploration on your own. To go out and create, spread out and involve ourselves in something worthwhile, something we could be proud of.

But perhaps this time, these last hours, days, weeks or even months should not only be spent worrying about things to come. Maybe we should stop, think, and appreciate all we have seen, experienced and gained. Whether it is some new interesting hobbies, extensive travels, new friends or even a different way you take your coffee every morning – we have all been somehow changed, reshaped by this experience.

On my part, I am forever grateful for the opportunity. An opportunity to breathe, to see and to change my life. To explore, to experience a period of carefree exploration, and to learn, in so many ways! And wherever life takes me next (and I do only hope for even better things to come), this I will always see as a year that has changed my life forever…

 

 

With the best of wishes for the future,

 

A

OPTO – A place to remember

Hello hello my dear readers!!!

It has been a long time since I posted someone for you. My apologies, but these past weeks have been full of stuff to do!

My Portuguese is improving a lot because most of the activities I am doing…ARE IN COMPLETE PORTUGUESE! The effect of six months of linguistic exposure are starting to give really important results.

As I have previously told you, these past weeks have been full of things to do: Clean-ups in Faro beach and Albufeira, visiting and photographing Ilha da Culatra, helping with new exhibitions at the Centro Ciência Viva, a whole weekend making “Ciencia Fresquinha! showing the people different experiments and reactions and, finally, another moment to add to the list of “favourite experiences” that I have had here so far: OPTO!!!

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OPTO is a cool place, with music, spectacles, workshops….A place where you can see different options for your future: universities, professional schools, the military service, places where you can volunteer, art schools language academies, Erasmus programmes… EVERYTHING!!!You can also eat the marvellous dishes prepared by different cooking schools and even can take part in different workshops (for example, I had a basic training on First Aid thanks to the Red Cross).

All this fun is mixed with different spectacles made mostly by students, police and firefighters! Music, dance, trained animals, climbing wall, capoeria exhibitions….Could we ask for more? YES! The fantastic, amazing, terrific and magnific game that we, the Centro Ciência Viva do Algarve, brought to such a great event 🙂

A game for everybody, where your logic and creativity are tested. I loved this game because it was extremely interesting to see how different people can react in order to face and obstacle and solve it. The fact that everything needed to be explained in Portuguese, made this experience even better for me 😀 I enjoyed it so much that I even tested myself at some point too!!

As you can imagine, I had a lot of fun and I learned quite a lof of new things too. These fairs are really important to help young people to discover their path. Having the chance to see “from a closer point of view” something that calls your attention, can be the key to follow a way or just realize that you better follow another! So….please, whenever you have the possibility to go to such events: DO IT!

You never know which is the best-quickest way to follow your passions until you actually see it!!!

Hugs to all!

Luisa