I arrived in Portalegre yesterday evening and I’m very excited to be here. Alvaro collected me and Juan del Rio, and drove us to an old church in Portalegre, where a large group of people were working hard at the remaining tasks before AJUDADA starts on Friday.
The three of us went out for dinner, and to get a flavour of Portalegre. It turns out that it was a special day, the feast day of San Antonio. It seemed like the whole town was in the streets, eating sardines and dancing to live music. We joined in with that.
Then we went back to the church, where the meeting was continuing into the night. It was after midnight when we left and they were still going strong, but looking very tired.
Today, we reassembled, and they gave us a task. We went to the Public Market, where all the AJUDADA participants will be eating, to set up an exhibition of ‘letters to Portalegre’ which were little art objects from all over Europe. We left space for the participants to add their own later in the week. The Market is a large and quite handsome public space that is hardly used these days, due to competition fron the supermarkets. Of course, it would be ideal for use by a localised gift economy. Perhaps that might be an eventual outcome of AJUDADA.