Sunday, 8 July 2007

Trip to Caramulo

After properly venerating a diverse Lameiro and the only yew tree of the Serra do Caramulo we visited 3 villages: Malhapão de Cima, Malhapão de Baixo and Teixo.

The level of self-sufficiency there is amazing. Large areas of fields around the villages are cultivated, people harvest the grass of the upland water meadows and collect wild shrubs (mato) which they transport back home on carriages pulled by cows. A peasant woman told me that the only things she buys are rice, pasta, sugar and olive oil.

There were some young people and even children in the villages, but apparently most people spend their working life away and come back when they are retired. We heared that there were several day workers who worked in nearby cities in construction work or on the vine harvest in the nearby Bairrada region, but were based in the mountain villages. It was said that from the income from agriculture people were not able to pay their social security contribution, and therefore they had to find some wage labour outside the village.

The people seemed to be rather optimistic, they do not consider farming as an income source, and so don't even try much to make it profitable as they know that they will not be adequately paid for farm produce.

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