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 fromGreece, 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 Tunisian group was composed by Dhia, Zoubeir, Dapher and Amany. Like to all of the other groups we asked them what was the reason that made them want be part of this project. The answer was that they were excited to meet other cultures, make new friends and also improving their social and team building skills.
The Tunisians considered themselves generous and sociable people. They were very excited to be part of the Festa Amarantina. They brought with them the traditional clothes, songs, dances, so everyone could enjoy, and last but not the least, their sense of humor.
One of the biggest misconceptions they shared about their country is that all Islamic people are somehow related to terrorism. They would like people to know that Tunisia is a welcoming and peaceful country. There are only a few communities that unfortunately practice acts of terrorism. However, they would prefer people to know the country by it’s beautiful culture.
The biggest difference they noticed between Portugal and Tunisia is the architectural style, as well as the lifestyle. The Tunisians described Portugal as a calm and quiet country.
The first thing they would like to share about their experience in Portugal would be the opportunity to interact with so many cultures. Also, like the Greeks, they were excited to be able to swim in the river, something that is not common in their country. They would also share the beauty and calmness that they discovered here in Amarante.
Something surprising the Tunisian group told us about their culture was that they have words with different meanings – for example the word “Saha” – can mean cheers, good, health, they saha before and after eating, after taking a shower etc.
The biggest challenge youth is facing in Tunisia is unemployment – which seems something that all of the countries have in common. They’re hoping to change this by applying what they learn with this type of experience.
Interviews and article by Denisa Gavriloni
(Participant of Aroma Project)