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Our journey to Portugal!

The G.O.A.L. project connects countries, cultures, ideas. Souls.

The journey to Portugal began on April 4, 2024. In 13 hours, we reached Setùbal from Catania. Thus, the first night in Portugal was spent in relaxation and preparation for the next day’s work.

April 5, 2024, Setùbal: upon reaching the Inwall Climbing Gym, we reunited with Rui (who had already welcomed us at the Lisbon airport the previous day), Ricardo Martinez, his brother Juan Martinez and António Oleiro, as well as the team of experts working inside the gym.

First, we interviewed Ricardo and his brother, listening to their stories.

Ricardo is a climbing expert whom we interviewed along with his brother Juan, also an expert in the sociological development and psychological and mental characters of humans. Ricardo’s goal has always been to help through movement people in need such as ex-convicts, drug addicts and victims of violence.

António Oleiro is someone who has had difficulties in life that, combined with poor choices, led him to serve several years in prison. Thanks to sports, particularly refereeing soccer matches, he has managed to reintegrate into society and regain his economic and social stability. He shared with us his feelings, thoughts about life and daily ideas, demonstrating such maturity and lucidity that we learned new things, values to which we gave new importance.

The interviews with them were exciting and impactful, as well as rich in content and value.

After the interviews, we climbed the walls of the gymnasium to prepare for the wilderness climb we would do the following day. This experience, too, helped us immerse ourselves in Ricardo’s teachings, which already analyzed and foretasted our abilities, observing them with a critical and knowledgeable eye.

The next day, April 6, 2024, we reached Azeitão, a place surrounded by nature near Setubal. We decided that Alessandro would make the climb. With Ricardo’s support, he rappelled down a 50-foot-high chasm of the mountain.

With only the help of the safety rope (at first), Alessandro climbed up the chasm until he reached the top again.

As recounted by him, it was one of the most intense experiences he has ever had, both physically, emotionally, and mentally.

In a short time, just enough time to get back on our feet, we went to interview an association called “Meninos de ouro” that fights every day to help our younger brothers and sisters in need.At the end of the project we will recognize this association with a contribution of 500 euros to support their work, which proves to be really important and concrete in and around the Azeitão area. The interview with Céu Guitart  was very emotional and made us realize how much passion and dedication the volunteers put into this work.

In the afternoon, we went to a family-run gym: Ginásio Clube D’Azeitão. We met the trainers working there and with them recorded some videos of online challenges of the project; they were very good at challenging themselves and we made some really nice videos. It was pleasant to laugh and have fun, united by sport and the joy it gives, breaking down all barriers, including language and culture. 

In the late afternoon we went to a workshop that carries on a centuries-old Portuguese tradition, “Ceramic Tiles”.

We shot videos in which the workshop staff showed us the process of creating these unique works of art totally by hand.

Although not directly related to the project, it will be nice to have content to tell the story of local culture in a way that winks at the European goal of “sustaining cultural identity.”

Finally, in the evening we participated in a guided tour of a private museum that ended with a tasting of local wines. This, too, was an excellent opportunity to learn about the traditions and culture of the beautiful country that hosted us with such kindness and dedication.

The working days came to an end, but April 7, 2024 was also a very important day. On Sunday we dropped into the tourist role, visiting the surrounding area and other nearby towns.

We went to Sintra to see the beauty that the city hosts. Between enchanted castles, windy beaches that drew huge waves and breathtaking views, we had a beautiful day. We discovered the majestic beauty of nature, neglecting perhaps a bit the urban aspect, but giving ourselves emotions that are still undetectable today.

The last day, April 8, 2024, as with the trip to Setùbal, we spent 13 hours traveling and returning to Catania, our city.

From this experience we take many things with us. We have learned customs and traditions that do not belong to us, but in a short time have become part of our everyday life.We have discovered breathtaking places of which we will forever keep a special memory, indelible in our hearts.

A first thanks goes to our partners, those who helped and supported us, who allowed us to live this experience. Among them, One Hour for Europe. Most of all, we met good people of spirit who believed in us and supported the G.O.A.L. Project with care and attention. Among them, our biggest and most heartfelt thanks go to Rui and Eagle Intuition Association. Rui made sure that we never lacked anything.He talked with us about everything: culture, history, but also food, ideas, values, opinions. He taught us a lot about his country and its beauties, introduced us to places and notions that eluded us. He made us feel constantly safe.

While G.O.A.L. was also created to help individuals in distress, we realized through this trip how much this project helped us to grow, to know and accept, to learn, always keeping our minds free and clear for new things. 

We still want to live these experiences!

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