I’m writing this report of the second day of AJUDADA on the morning of the third day, which promises to be great too, as we are turning a derelict building into a permanent home for AJUDADA. More on that tomorrow.
Yesterday was another hot sunny day in Portalegre. At the start of the day there was a brief exhibition of Argentine Tango in the square. I was part of a very small but enthusiastic audience. Overall there were about 90 activities scattered around the whole of the town. What a tribute to the organisers and volunteers to create such a rich programme! It included a mural on a wall painted by school children, a garden of artificial flowers, quite a few music and dramatic events and lots of workshops.
The first workshop I went to was by Pete and Cynthia Bampton of ‘the Awakened Life project’ a new community in northern Portugal that adds a spiritual dimension to the kind of new culture we are creating. The workshop, called ‘A Higher We’ was all about looking at our values.
After lunch it was time for my workshop, a group visioning exercise, called ‘If AJUDADA is wildly successful we will see…’. We got off to a slow start, with about 30 people, only 2 of whom were from Portalegre and who all spoke English. Then a large group of schoolchildren joined us, who had been passing by and were enticed to participate. They were of course, from Portalegre, and meant we needed to translate everything. (I have never been to a two-language event before, and am finding it fascinating.) We broke into 9 small groups, so everyone could present their vision for the future, and then see where they all agreed and disagreed. We then joined the small groups into 3 larger groups to combine visions, and finally all came together to share the results. The group discussions were lively and intense, even those with the children, who were a delight. The results from all the groups were more philosophical than practical, looking at values and attitudes more than ways of living.
Before dinner there was a ‘group hug’ for Portalegre, in which we all surrounded part of a park holding hands.
My last event of the day, after dinner was billed as a conversation with Charles Eisenstein. It was held outdoors in a park that AJUDADA had decorated with wonderful hanging lanterns. Charles spoke, with immediate translation by Filipa. He told the story of how AJUDADA came to happen, and made interesting points about how it was all done as a gift rather than for money, and how it is often the unplanned outcomes that are the most significant, reinforcing this with several other stories. He ended with a little group exercise on our personal gifts, but I had to miss that as my lift to the house where I am staying was leaving.
The second day felt completely different from the first, but was equally wonderful. Aside from the bigger events I’ve just described, I had very many lovely contacts with various people with whom I’ll be keeping in contact, and even a brief tango dance myself with Nicola from Berlin.