Four years ago, a young man from this town decided to join the agricultural college near Cristino Castro, since then he has motivated other young people to study at the college and this year five students have enrolled.
The students have invited the college teachers to visit their families in and around Morro for a long time and last weekend we finally managed it. We saw for ourselves just how complicated it is to travel to and from there. Most of the road is asphalted but it has many holes and the last 60 km is a dirt road. We were lucky that it hadn’t rained in the last few days, otherwise it would have been difficult to pass the numerous puddles. Only big strong cars could get through.
Some of the students live in a small village called Gameleira about five km from the town of Morro. They showed us some lovely places such as the church built by an Irish priest called Padre Joao. It sits on the top of a hill and has magnificent views of the natural vegetation and complex rock formations. It has great potential for tourism.
It was very interesting to see the issues and the problems that the people face. Gameleria is very dependent on rainfall. There isn’t any source of drinking water apart from rainfall. Each house has a reservoir which collects the water. Fortunately they have managed to bore wells in some places but the water is salty and unsuitable for drinking. There aren’t any rivers or streams and the wells aren’t able to irrigate larger areas and of course cattle breeding and the production of milk and dairy products depends on the quantity of rainfall. The first rain of the season fell only two weeks ago!
Despite the difficulties of daily life in the area, people are enjoying this festive time of year. Last week they celebrated the feast of St Bras when locals and visitors took part in services, listened to music and visited stalls on the main street.
The agricultural college begins its new academic year at the end of February. I am looking forward to seeing the students again and introducing them to the micro loan project. In my next post I will tell you more about the communities I visit.