This article is a result of a series of 7 interviews done to the 35 participants of Aroma: design the smell of challenge project — organised by Aventura Marão Clube in Amarante (Portugal), between 2nd to 10th July. During 10 days, the participants from Greece, Romania, Italy, Palestine, Tunisia, Egypt and Portugal, worked together to organise a Bike Parade, an Euromed Food Day and support a local street festival called Festa Amarantina. During the interviews we had the opportunity to know them all better, find out why they chose to be a part of this project and how this experience turned out.
The first group that was interviewed represents Greece. We had the pleasure to meet Daphne, Alexandra, Valia, Spyros and Alkis. First, we wanted to know what was their motivation to be part of this project. Daphne said that she never took part in a youth exchange program and that she had always been interested in discovering other cultures; that Portugal is a country alive with multiculturalism. Another point of view was the desire to have an outlet to express creativity and the important principles that the project stands for — like for example, protecting the environment.
One thing our participants wanted to clear up about their country was the fact that they are considered to be lazy people that don’t want to work. The reality is that there is a real problem with unemployment in their country. They also wanted to specify that not all the girls in Greece have big moustaches as it is commonly known!
What the greek group felt they had to offer to Festa Amarantina it’s their kefi — which is a word that basically means spreading joy and positive energy while interacting with each other.
When asked about the biggest differences between their country and Portugal they said there are not many differences. They are both easy-going, communicative and positive people. The main interesting thing they would tell their friends and family about Portugal is that they swam in the river, which is something unfamiliar to them since they have so many beaches in Greece; and the most surprising fact they would share about their experience in Amarante would be the São Gonçalo sweet cake tradition. In the other hand what would be surprising about the greek culture is that they never point with an open hand cause it is actually considered an insult.
While talking about the biggest challenge that youth is facing in Greece they emphasise that unemployment it’s the biggest problem, specially the lack of opportunity in finding a job in their field of studies. This usually is very frustrating and can make them feel that their studies are useless. A positive thing is that volunteering is starting to become a popular movement. People are taking initiative with all sorts of organisations — youngsters are becoming active and trying to offer something positive to society while developing themselves. They all agree that volunteering experience will be something helpful when looking for a job in the future.
Interviews and article by Denisa Gavriloni
(Participant of Aroma Project)