At the time when in Latvia already had flown the first autumn breathes, it was wonderful even for a short period of time to return in the summer, to share a common stories of Europe. Already arriving at the Porto and feeling the positive influence of warm weather, we understand why in Portuguese people faces we can see joy, openness and kindness. Also in our eyes start to sparkle and even more start to shine when in airport we see our project partners who are waiting for us to start the common adventure.
We are going to the city Paços de Ferreira. The city is known also as the capital city of furniture manufacture in Portugal. And really, wherever you look – furniture and all you want for your interior. But it doesn’t mean that developed are just business and manufacturing sector. Also education, culture and social sectors are developed. For successful cooperation and support providing big meaning gives non-governmental organizations and associations.
Learning about national history, songs, dances, art, architecture, food and traditions, and also getting to know and communicating with local inhabitants, gave us great insight in Portuguese culture heritage richness. The stories were used to explore all the themes above and that made all information more attractive, interesting, easier understandable and memorable. And we even more strengthened the belief that storytelling methods using is important and necessary. It must be developed also in Vidzeme region, Latvia.
Great impressions gave Porto visit. Porto is second largest city in Portugal and also the home of traditional drink Port vine. Sensations, which gave the view to Gustav Eifel bridge over the river Duoru and city panorama, were unique. And in the end of project meeting given opportunity to see the sunset in Atlantic Ocean and in moonlight dipped the feet into the cold water – a dream come true!
These word about meeting said Latvian participants from Vidzeme Culture and Art Association “Haritas”. This was the fourth meeting of the project.
During the four days of the project, using the storytelling, the participants have enriched their knowledge about the culture of the Portuguese people, learned a lot about the history of Portugal, legends, customs and so they know more about the Portugal inhabitants.
On 18.09.2013, a meeting between the project participants took place; discussions were held about the activities that each partner has achieved in its own organization.
On 09.19.2013 the official opening of the meeting of the project was held; after official opening was held, workshop took placed where the host organization presented in an interactive way storytelling tools. It followed a visit to the school “Obra Social Silvia Cardoso,” a lot of the disabled people from this school being active participants in the “Common Stories of Europe”. They did a musical presentation – “Mission, Vision and Values”, they dramatized a story that played it – “The Old Hermit’s Legend” after which discussions were held on the basis of the spectacle. After lunch we started to Felgueiras where the presentation of the institution “Rota do Romanico» was done. The host partners used storytelling to present Monastery “Blessed Virgin Mary of Pombeiro” and the house Pão-de-lo House.
On 20.09.2014, the project meeting began with a visit to the Sanfins Citânia where stories starting with proto-history of Portugal were told. Storytelling method was presented at the Monastery of Ferreira too. The last part of the program consisted of an intercultural evening. Dances belonging to all the partner countries were presented by young and adults interns from “Obra Social Silvia Cardoso”.
On 21.09.2014, we left Pacos Ferreira and arrived to Porto where we visited the Serra do Pilar Monastery; our hosts used storytelling method for presenting historical past of Portugal. A storytelling workshop held in a museum-studio in which participants organized as a TV team conducted a short film about storytelling; some experiential stories were presented. The ceremony of awarding certificates of participation was made on the Atlantic coast where a vocal group presented traditional Portuguese music. Project meeting provided new ways to use storytelling method, made a bridge between generations, young people, adults and old people working together, sharing experiences, learning from each other, enriching and culture and developing their language skills. Also high appreciation of artistic moments of the people with disabilities helped to increase their self-esteem thanks to the appreciation shown by the participants of the project.
On 22.09.2013 we returned to our own countries.
Project ”Common Stories of Europe” organizations from 6 European countries take part.” Orka Consulting-Lodz (Poland), Association CITRIN-sdružení pro osobní rozvoj, o. s. (Czech Republic), “George Topirceanu” Culture and Arts center (Romania), Librotondo Soc. Coop ONLUS (Italy), Associação Empresarial de Paços de Ferreira (Portugal). Project leading partner is Vidzeme Culture and Art Association “Haritas” (Latvia).
Next Project meeting and storytelling festival will take place in Italy, Genoa from 5th till 9th March, 2014.
More information about project and meeting in Portugal – https://www.facebook.com/CommonStoriesOfEurope
Project “Common Stories of Europe” is Grundtvig Learning partnership Project. It lasts from August 2012 until July 2014.