by Andreia Marques
My name is Andreia Marques, I’m Portuguese and worked as graphic designer at Elos Institute for 9 months.
About a year ago I returned to Portugal but, even today, I continue to be conected to Elos – occasionally as a designer, always as spreader of Elos Philosophy of Transformation.
In these last two weeks I took part of the first Oasis Training done in Portuguese land and ended, once again, with the belief that we can live of dream, almost like a piece of candy cloud we eat while we watch everything else passing by. From dreams we live! I could understand that by the gaze of Dina, Maria, Nuno, Sinho and many other people I met, who embraced me without knowing me, who believed and that way transform Boba’s neighborhood even more beautiful, stronger and closest to them and others.
People talked very much about belonging. Belonging to Africa or Portugal, belong to that community. And I think that at the end there was only the smile of understanding that, wherever they come from, they’re not invisible.
This community, so diverse, it’s rich in wonderful talents.
On Saturday, we had the opportunity to try one of those talents with Teresa’s and Ana Maria’s Cachupa. This African dish brought us all together through taste and the pleasure of eating together. Marco, one of the Oasis Game participants, was one of the young people from Boba who brought to us this human richness. Like him, Indira, Dulce, Tiago, Bolacha, Gisela and Soraia – also participants – gradually revealed the amazing people they are, committed to the whole process of the Game in everything they did. I discovered that way that in all of us exists a surprising super talent: the secret of the stories we are, the secret of BEING.
We all have exactly what we need and we are the first of all resources.
During the game, we are challenged to overcome personal and coexistence boundaries. We are challenged to accept, to flow, to be tolerant and ALWAYS believe in impossible things – “six impossible things before breakfast”, like Alice in Wonderland would say!
In this case, of course, we were faced with the difficulty of having permission to use public spaces, even if we were improving them. And, after several conversations with local authorities, we only got that permission on the day before the hands-on. It was a challenge, yes! A very big one! But I’m not skeptical at all. I think that all challenges are presents that we must accept with good faith in the uncertainty of the future. And so it was.
Saturday morning everyone join in the square of the Ramp – that’s how they call it. And we organized ourselves contradicting all the fears and apprehensions of the beginning that we had that no one would show up to help. In this community, people showed up at 9am sharp, with all their strength. During the 2 days we were, for sure, over 150 “Oasians”. And together we made real the dream of having a public space for all ages.
During the task force we painted up six murals, toys were made with tires, pallets and scrap wood, we tended the gardens up and picked up all the trash.
No final do primeiro dia, a Letícia, de 4 anos, plantou a primeira árvore – uma romãzeira, símbolo de abundância!
At the end of the first day, Leticia, with 4 years, planted the first tree – a pomegranate tree, symbol of abundance!
After all we got not only the results but also the emotions and the words of the 27 participants and residents of the neighborhood. My deepest feeling is that saying “I can!” Is the most powerful thing in the world.
“The gratitude of those who receive a benefit is much smaller than the pleasure of those who did it! Thanks for being part of the remodeling of my neighborhood. It was an amazing experience with you. A fantastic experience which will not be mixed up at a Pandora’s box and forgotten. I just hope that we keep the union and contacts. ♥ ♥ ♥ ”
by Bota (one of the locals)
“The dream was accomplished at Casal da Boba, in Amadora! And now imagine, I just went on the second day (and last one) of the activity and I only saw people and people coming people from the surrounding community, all working together, painting, sawing, planting, clean… There were over 100, surely! The lunch was done by one of the residents of the neighborhood, with food bought through money that the facilitators raised in raffles sold in the community! The materials that had to be arrange, were ordered from stores, such as tires, paint, pallets, plants, trees… i.e., all totally free society raised! And in the end, everything was beautiful!!!!!! Colorful… filled with games for children, also tires for children to play, picnic and playing cards tables, colorful benches, seeds, trees, everything clean, new trash bins… and in the end, lots of music and fun!
It was beautiful to see… really! I was tired, so I stood watching the end of the day from outside… everyone in a circle, clapping to each other, embracing each other, smiling… everything had been achieved only in a week, with everyone’s help!… I was looking… thinking that when we want to do something, we really do it… when we believe in things, they actually happen… when we can ask for society’s resources and not spend money, everything is easy… when everyone helps, everything is simple… like happiness, the smiles, the hugs, are common to everyone… regardless of where we live! I loved it!
By Andresa Salgueiro (creator of Project Believe)
“Spectacular… follow your dream!… We dreamed and we made it… ”
By Marcus (Oasis Game participant)
“A miracle was what happened today at Boba! Thank you for this wonderful experience! ”
By Ana Hostel (teacher in Musgueira Neighbourhood)
Click here to read the text written by Virgílio Varela about the Oasis Training Casal da Boba>>