The Italian teachers' memories of the Portuguese mobility

by Paola Baldini and Elena Cardola

Italian teachers (from Liceo Scientifico Statale B. Rosetti - San Benedetto del Tronto - AP)

Portugal Mobility 26 Feb.- 2 March 2018

OUR WEEK IN ALMADA

Almada, Al-Madan, the mine. A gold mine indeed, a long time ago, but today a mine full of opportunities for us. This is the way we lived it, as a place and a time to know, interact, grow; as a chance to understand that both young people and adults, unknown to each other and coming from so many different places, can join and give life to something unique, each one putting together a little bit of ourselves, to tell a tale of friendship and unity.

On our arrival on Sunday evening, we were welcomed at Lisboa airport by the host families of our students and by a friendly collegue who kindly took us to our hotel in Almada. Crossing the long bridge "25 de Abril", over the river Tago, we saw the giant statue of Cristo Rei with his open arms virtually embracing us and started getting familiar with the beautiful landscape around us. Late in the evening we had our first meeting with some of the other teachers involved in this mobility. We had a nice dinner together and our first taste of the local food.

The next morning we were ready to meet the other members of the group and start our activities. Everything was so new, walking in the daylight through a lively neighborough full of small shops, we could see the tall modern buildings along the route to the school "Anselmo de Andrade" sometimes interrupted by pretty little houses with brightly-coloured front doors and windows.

The week started with the students' presentations of their research work on animal folk tales in their national traditions, which was the theme to develop after the Hungarian mobility. We knew that it was just the first step of a dense week for our students, because they should soon get engaged in the rehearsals for an original short play entitled "A Salty Bet", based on two popular Portoguese tales.

In a few days, guided by two expert and enthusiastic drama teachers, the company made up of young boys and girls from different parts of Europe, learnt and successully performed their role in the final show on Friday 2 March, applauded by their proud teachers.

During our stay, besides the drama activity, the whole group was also involved in an interesting trip to Lisboa's Puppet Museum and, the following day, to the villages of Obido and Peniche. We shared funny activities like building a 3D house to tell an invented story or making a puppet using a sponge, glue, scissors and cloth.

All the programmed activities, for which we thank our Portuguese partners, especially Mrs. Fernanda Martins, contributed to reinforce the team spirit of the party and the joyful atmosphere of friendship and cooperation, both for students and teachers. We all made an effort to communicate with other collegues using English as lingua franca, overcoming shyness and consolidating our mutual knowledge. Little by little all of us tried to get to know each other, share our expectations about this project and put together our ideas about how to develop it in the following steps.

Thinking back to our days in Almada, despite the rain and chilly wind we met there because of the late winter season, a warm feeling of melancholy still surrounds us, like the notes of a Fado song, for the end of an amazing experience which not only enabled us to live for a while a different reality in a foreign country but, above all, made us feel as protagonists of the same European tale.