December 25, 2015


Thank you all for an eventful year, making us feel special, letting us be a part of your lives and taking bits of your culture into our own. We wish you a jolly Christmas, enjoy some family time and may 2016 be a lucky and successful year.

December 16, 2015


Dear readers, being no strangers to the Portuguese media, it so happens that we were featured again in an article in the oldest newspaper in Portugal, the "Aurora de Lima" based in Viana do Castelo.

December 03, 2015


It's been a crazy full month and we haven't managed to update the blog regularly, but we're back and bringing you an awesome article!

November 13, 2015


Come on kids, it's time for another bedtime story! Since there was a heated debate on this topic and the outline of the article's content, we decided to make a "my story, your story and the truth" type of post. Read on to see what happened!

November 02, 2015


It's been close to seven months since we arrived in Portugal. We came to a new country, a new culture with a completely new language that we had to learn and adapt to. It was very hard for us in the first few weeks and months because we couldn't manage to get our point across in Portuguese and very few people speak English here. Thus, we have come up with a (hopefully sustainable) solution for volunteers to come and make their integration within the AJD easier. You're welcome ;).

October 22, 2015


As everyone knows by now, we are EVS volunteers financed by the programme ERAMUS+ of the European Commission. As part of our stay in Viana, of our work at the AJD and all the activities within the community, we attended the on arrival and mid-term trainings in Braga, organized by the National Agency.

October 14, 2015


While Gretel was baking cakes and decorating Viana hearts with the elderly people in the day center of the CSPD, I (Melanie) spent my time with the nursery children, taking pictures and recording videos, in order to present them to the parents at the End of the Year Party.

October 01, 2015


This year, the AJD got together with other non-profit organizations from the north of Portugal to participate in a pilot project called "VAI" – ‘Voltas Associativas Intercâmbio’ / Associative Exchange Rounds – or just simply “Go!”.

September 24, 2015


It had to happen at one time. We missed the last bus :). With no one being in Deão to give us a lift. We were on our own. How exciting, a new adventure. Read on to see what happened afterwards...

September 17, 2015


As Sara and I were in desperate need of a hot summer break and Hugo's invitation to visit him was long due, we headed south to Alentejo. He was tirelessly dedicated to please us, drive us around, show us the beauty Alentejo had to offer and tell us countless stories about this region. We spent some very eventful and magic days on a vacation where our most difficult decision was which beach to choose. 

September 09, 2015


In the beginning of September, a new volunteer joined the ranks of the AJD EVS team. Natalia Kołodyńska will be in Viana do Castelo for a 10 month project, until the end of June 2016. Read what she has to say about her first days in Portugal!

September 02, 2015


Na semana de Artes, os jovens de Deão aprenderam a usar materiais reciclados para criar peças de roupa criativas, a fazer truques de magia para mostrar aos seus amigos e parentes e aproveitar ao máximo as suas férias através da captura de belas imagens. Porque queremos incorporar as crianças e os adolescentes de Deão na criação deste blog, estamos a dar este post à Verónica, uma das jovens que freqüenta a Ludoteca e que se divertiu na nossa Oficina de Fotografia.

August 26, 2015


I had about 6 weeks to prepare for my EVS, between receiving the good news of my selection as a participant and embarking on the plane to Portugal. I spent a couple of days just going into the city and enjoying Berlin, my hometown that means so much to me.

August 05, 2015


Let's talk cakes, cookies and all the other yummy-in-my-tummy Portuguese sweets that are one of Gretel´s new loves eversince she moved to Portugal. 

July 29, 2015


"I have never eaten this much salt in my life!" This is a common phrase among surf beginners that we were "blessed" to say last Saturday, too. We received a surf class at the C.A.R Surf School in Cabedelo, close to Viana on the opposite side of the Rio Lima. Imagine our excitement when we heard about it, just dreaming of standing on the board, surfin' the waves, wind in our hairs - and the cruel reality of falling off before we could even stand up, the board hitting our heads and not being able to come to the surface for very long seconds.

July 27, 2015


We have a new project and we would like to share it with you! The Centro is a paroquial social institution, combining a day care centre and an old people's home, where Melanie was hired to make a photo album of the toddlers and Gretel to plant a nice little garden with the old people.

July 20, 2015


Last week we took a trip through different European cultures, in order to show how multicultural our association is. We have the Portuguese majority, ourselves, from Romania and Germany, Bibi, who is a born and raised Parisienne, while communication is a mix of Portuguese, German, French and English. 

July 05, 2015


If you have been online lately you can't have missed this new trending saying. You get it as a T-shirt, phone cover and whatnot. After having passed it for like the sixteenth time, it actually struck me how representative it is for the Portuguese culture, and that for two reasons...

June 28, 2015


The summer holiday Ludoteca is finally here! The same fun and educative activities we have been conducting up till now but without any school homeworks, yeeey. Main monitors of the theme-based weeks will be Bibi, Jerusa, Andreia and Ana Sofia, and as usual, every Friday the two of us will be holding the day's activity.

June 27, 2015


First beach weekend and it has been lovely! One of the first things I have googled after deciding to move to Portugal was nice sandy beaches close to Viana. Afife, some kilometres outside of Viana, was the most popular that came up, being a surfers' beach and not that windy as the beaches in the city.

June 07, 2015


Yes we did it! We built our own graffiti painted - not sprayed - Berlin Wall. Together with the history teacher of the School in Lanheses and the ninth-graders and as part of the school's cultural week we found a way to combine the celebrations of freedom and democracy and of the school's 25th year of existence.

June 02, 2015


The month of May was dedicated to teaching children's rights to the kids that frequent the AJD's after school program at the Ludoteca. It's been years that Bibi has been performing activities related to this topic with the children, and this year she asked us to expand the theme over a whole month and produce a video for the International Children's Day on June 1st.

May 11, 2015


The May of every year is the month of flowers, when in Vila Franca do Lima the Festa das Rosas, the festivities in honor of Our Lady of the Roses, takes place. The main attraction are the mordomas, the young girls carrying very heavy hand-decorated baskets on their heads and wearing beautiful traditional costumes during a procession. To learn about our experience during this typical and traditional Portuguese event keep on reading. 

May 08, 2015


One of the aims of AJD is to raise the youth's awareness of the European citizenship and interest in the Erasmus+ programme, including the European Voluntary Service. To do so, AJD, represented here by Ana Paula and ourselves, has teamed with Mariana Marques from the organisation YUPI for a workshop with highschool students from the School in Lanheses during the European Youth Week. 


The Muslim culture has a long-standing history and tradition in the Iberic Peninsula and one of the traces they have left behind and has become a trademark of Portuguese architecture are the so-called azulejos, small square ceramic tiles that bear traditional colourful paintings and are found on the façades and interior walls of house, public buildings, schools, railway or subway stations and even churches.

April 26, 2015


The 25 April, or the Carnation Revolution (Portuguese: Revolução dos Cravos) as it also known, was the revolution in Portugal in 1974 that overthrew the authoritarian regime of the Estado Novo. Starting out as a military coup the movement soon coupled with the civil resistance of a huge Portuguese octopus that was fighting for freedom and peace. The carnations stand symbolically for the triumph over the dictatorship as during the celebrations of the end of the dictatorial regime they were put into the muzzles of rifles and the soldiers' uniforms.

April 20, 2015


On 19 April, the Associação Juvenil de Deão became of age. Yeeey. With Portuguese cakes, dances and a lot of fun, we celebrated this event last Saturday. The first few days in Portugal and we already have a festa. What we didn't know was that there were more to come and that Portugal likes its festas, but that's another story for another article.

April 14, 2015


... and that was my cue. How my enthusiasm to move to and live in different countries and my hasty spontaneity lead me once again to beginning a new life.

April 13, 2015


"To say goodbye is to die a little." I carry this saying with me for years, as it has proven true everytime I had to move from one place to another, leaving new best friends behind only to regret the short time we had spent together. It wasn't any different now, only I had less time to ponder about this change in my life as it came so sudden.