Wild moon-walking flamenco

Today we visited A Rocha, a Christian run wildlife conservation centre near Alvor, South Algarve.  Having arrived there with high expectations to learn a little about the local ecosystem and its habituating animals, I rather gained an insight on how not to treat volunteers. The man (who never introduced himself) welcomed us upon our arrival, after a short introduction, divided us into 4 groups and assigned us tasks from gardening, clearing up to chopping wood. No doubt it’s difficult to grasp on what our group is, with everyone of different age and different background, but the lack of interest in the individuals was rather surprising considering A Rocha receives numerous volunteers all year round.

For sure, if delegating tasks (often the ones that were too laborious to do by themselves) to volunteers who are working for free, would at least need to be met with some feeling of respect, by just asking a view general questions. Of course it’s a little difficult to grasp our group made up of different ages and backgrounds and the general assumption that we are made up of (unskilled) students is difficult to be changed in the moment if briefed inaccurately. Oh, and the least that can be done to show some kind of appreciation and spore motivation: provide a simple hot lunch rather than letting us spend a 10th of our weekly kitty on a sandwich lunch bought from an expensive local corner shop!

However, even if the day started differently than expected, it took a turn: after lunch we were given tea, coffee and biscuits and despite the unappreciative manner, my little group achieved a lot. We cleared, de-weeded and seeded a herbal patch and covered a vegetable patch with organic substance from a grass compost. So after all I learnt a little bit of gardening , but the highlight of the day has certainly been seeing a wild moon-walking Flamenco in a near by river.


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