Programme & action: Youth in Action programme, action 4.3. training course
Venue: Praia Grande, Portugal
Dates: 30 March – 7 April 2014
Participants: Hana Kolářová, Martin Černý
Participating countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Turkey
Rain Grande at Praia Grande
First question of anyone who just has found out that you came back from Portugal is: “Did you swim in the ocean? Did you take a sunbath every day there?” Actually, no. Six of seven days of the training course “Future of Democracy” was rainy and it was not about sunbathing at all. But after first days we realized that the weather doesn’t matter.
We met together on 30th of March in a big house in area called Praia Grande (Great Beach). It was very close to the seashore and far from the civilisation (means far from the shops, clubs and sometimes even from bars and internet connection). In the house one hour and half from Lisbon we had everything we needed. But the most important was enthusiasm of all participants from ten countries all around the Europe. Together with the team of organisers from Portugal and Sweden we were prepared to find the borders of so called democracy.
On the first sight it isn’t very easy task, but well prepared schedule by the organisers helped us a lot. Their approach to these mostly abstract objectives was achieved by the method of experience education. We avoided all the boring lectures on one of these topics and we did various practical activities related with the topic and after our direct experience we had discussion. The peak of this programme was the whole day activity called Plan B. The group was divided into three regions which were supposed to cooperate in order to create a prospering country together. It seems like a very clear and easy goal, but in fact it wasn’t so clear. Every region had their own natural resources and totally different default conditions (but of them we hadn’t been aware before). After half of day playing this game we realized that terrible result of our efforts. While one of the regions was wealthy and prospering another one was on the edge of disaster. Many of us were totally disappointed by the result, many of us were disappointed after the discussion afterwards when we found out what we could do and we didn’t because of our own interests.
More than a programme was more important the group of people there. We met a lot of inspiring people who are full of energy for a change in their environment. And most of all people we enjoyed a lot of fun even though was rainy all the days. If it worked like that during bad weather you can imagine how we enjoyed those valuable moments when sun was shining. Our house was ten minutes far from a beach as well as amazing view from a cliff to the nearest village and the ocean. The last –sunny– day was a great satisfaction. We spent most of a day with sunbathing, we tried the water of the ocean and it was great dot after the whole project. After the project part of the group decided to stay more days in Lisbon, which was nice afterparty in very nice capital. Small streets with vintage trams and relaxed atmosphere are that, what makes Lisbon very charming city. I hope we’ll meet one day in Portugal again, because the nature, people and Portuguese cuisine is very worthy of another meeting.