Missão JRA Alentejo 2014 |Diário
First and Second Day
We all enjoyed our first and second day. At first, it was quite odd, especially because some people arrived in groups whereas others were completely alone. Since we didn`t know each other and we spoke different languages, it was arduous to meet other students.
However, by the time we visited Barrancos, we had already made some contacts.
The interview with the mayor was extremely interesting, where he proved to be really open-minded and friendly. As for the press conference, we were quite impressed because we were able to ask diverse questions on distinct topics.
Regarding the visit to Barrancarnes factory, we were surprised by the mass production of ham. What`s more, we were not expecting the truly nauseating smell and the mold, which can often be found in cured ham.
Despite the heat, the guided tour through Barrancos was engaging. Nevertheless, we were rather disappointed with the information available about the several touristic sites.
Concerning the Noudar`s Park guided tour, we truly appreciated the video that the monitor showed us. Furthermore, this trip offered us the opportunity to take more photos for our project.
As for the Alqueva Dam, more specifically EDIA, it received mixed criticism. When we asked questions about the loss of biodiversity, the answers were quite skeptical. Although, we should mention the quality of the video about the Alqueva dam was dramatically impressive.
The boat cruise through Alqueva Dam left many of us deeply impressed and fascinated with its mesmerizing beauty. However, we couldn’t help but notice the somehow unnatural appearance of the border between the hills and water surface, which merged almost forcefully, leaving us with a sense of curiosity and discomfort as we wondered, “but what happened to everything below the water surface?”
Later on during the day, we visited two local handicrafts factories in Reguengos, which were Fábrica Alentejana de Lanifícios and the Olaria Palatim.
The Fábrica Alentejana de Lanifícios workers were really receptive, which allowed us to ask them some questions about this traditional craft. Definitely, this profession is truly physically demanding, as well as challenging in respect to a person’s capacity of creativity and artistic abilities.
In the Olaria Palatim, we were granted the chance to peak into the history of the family business. The owner was truly affable and talented and his enthusiasm for the profession ,that shone brightly through a gentle expression and swift, yet passionate movements as his fingers brushed over the slimy material, were certainly “infectious”.
Monsaraz, on the other hand, pushed us to accelerate the activity of our grey matter as we had to improvise with the material we had and quickly assemble interview questions at the same time constantly adapting to the interviewees answers. This supplied us with useful and interesting information, which will absolutely prove itself helpful for our next YRE article.
Debriefing of activites and Personal Reflection
We deeply believe that it was a great experience and a grand pleasure to meet foreign people. Furthermore, it was an amazing opportunity to practice and hopefully improve your English – even the native Portuguese opted to speak in English to include everyone in the conversations. It allowed us to share different opinions, learn how to look from different perspectives and create lifelong memories. We visited a lot of tourist sites, which was amazing because some of them like the textile factory which if we weren’t in this mission we wouldn’t have the opportunity to visit. Our dinner sessions in the local restaurant, adjacent to the eco-school were quite interesting and very fun.