During my first month on Madeira I already had a chance to see the marvellous panoramic views offered by Pico do Areeiro, the third highest peak of the island. I enjoyed the experience so much that I even mentioned it in my previous journal entry – together with Beata we hitchhiked a car going from upper Funchal directly to the top of the mountain, but since it was already quite late and we also had other plans for that day, we decided not to go for that 7-kilometre-long trail to Pico Ruivo, Madeira’s highest. Not just then.
It was only a month later, on a sunny Saturday morning, that I woke up very early (I mean: 8 AM), stuffed my backpack with warm clothes, water supplies and Nutella sandwiches, and went back to attack Pico Ruivo.
The long awaited hike from Pico do Areeiro to Ruivo turned out to be… surprisingly easy! Despite the trail information saying it would take around 3 hours and half, I set my foot on Madeira’s highest point after just 2 hours. Not even tired ‘I could do this all day!’, I laughed, still full of energy (backpack still full of Nutella buns).
I looked at the map, searching for new targets: Achada do Teixeira? With only a 4 kilometre detour from the turn towards Santana, it promised a view of so called “Homem em Pé”, rock formation resembling a human figure. ‘Why not’, I thought, and went to see the curiosity.
After Achada do Teixeira I came back a little bit and took a trail to Ilha, a parish not far from Santana. I wasn’t even half way when I saw a sign pointing to Semagral – a small detour from Vereda da Ilha with ruins of an abandoned house at the end of it. ‘Why not’, I thought, and went to see the curiosity.
As I was getting closer to the northern coast, I admit, I started to get a little bit tired. I ate my last sandwich and was already thinking about how great it will be to finally reach Santana and take a bus (forget about hitchhiking!) to Funchal. That was when I saw a sign ‘Caldeirão Verde 2km’.
‘Why not’, I thought, and went to see the curiosity.
Maciej Śpiewakowski. Polish volunteer at AAUMa, passionate about journalism, photography, music and travels.
Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.
Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.
In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3, which is for the support of reformation policies.
Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.
We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.
Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.