Monday, the 25th of June was our first working day on the camp. The heavy sun and the previous day in Cascais full of emotions almost surprisingly did not prevent the whole group from appearing exactly on time for the bus. And when it was time to start the work - Everybody was full of energy and enthusiasm - a rare thing for Monday mornings. You may wonder what is the source for that kind of inspiration? Well, we believe it's largely due to the amazing introduction that we had before getting to work.
Upon arriving on the spot, we were welcomed by Ana Ferreira and a couple more people that she introduced us to: some women from the municipal organization and an engineer who helped us mark the working area. At a first glance it looked like we will have quite a lot of work. But all the better - making a positive change is among everyone's expectations.
After that we got acquainted with the apartment where the equipment is kept (aka the "base"). The most important thing to remember about it - we should be responsible: not live the tools unattended, always bring them back to the base and use them with caution. Safety first!
Some practical things being done, we were invited to the primary school for the introduction. It looked like the kids, as well as the association members were really excited to have us here and prepared a number of surprises. First the songs, then the presentation, the dances, the string tricks. We were absolutely amused. And maybe more important - we were inspired. It is any job is much more fulfilling as long as you know that there are people who need it and who appreciate it.
Therefore, it is no wonder that when the introductory part was over we were eager to put the gloves on and get to work as soon as possible. Back at the base we divided into two groups. Four girls and Ana Theresa stayed at the apartment to organize it for our convenience. Whilst the other guys, guided by Claudia and Alex, grabbed the tools and headed off to the workplace. First things first - we needed to clean the area. We had only to hours before lunch, but inspiration, team spirit and some quality music proved to be a success formula: before lunch we left the area much cleaner that we found it in the morning. Something that the team really appreciated was the help provided by the local people. First, because it was a unique opportunity to work hand by hand with them, and second because their implication was a first step for a change of habits.
By 13:00 pm, the group was already starting to feel hungry so we came back to the school to enjoy some typical portuguese food among the local people that had welcomed us so warmly in the morning. Indeed, we also had some time to have some fun with the children, and even exchanged some crafts. Afterwards, a quick coffee recovered our energies to continue cleaning the workplace.
Finally, at 16:00 pm we stopped working and we put all the material back in the apartment. Then, we dedicated 10 minutes to reflect on the first impression of the experience: the accomodation, the group, the tasks... What was clear is that getting to know the workplace and its people motivated us all to continue working for a positive change.