After finishing school it is often the case that young people don’t know what they want to do, but through my work at Rota, I have found my way. This is my first job and it has given me a toolkit: I’ve been growing intellectually, and I feel more and more comfortable talking to new people. It makes me happier, and it has also changed my mind about older people: at first I thought it would be hard to fit into the team, because almost everybody is twice my age, but I discovered that it is way more fun than I had imagined.

I was born in Beja but I’ve always lived around Odemira with my mum. I come from a big family, I have six siblings. I studied social economic science but I didn’t finish my studies and I left school last year. I didn’t really care about my school work, I was on 9GAG all the time, but I needed to earn some money, so I started to work here as an intern for 3 months. I had seen the Rota Vicentina signs before but when I walked through the office door for the first time, I had no idea what the project was really about.

I prefer biking to hiking, my next big project is to cycle along the whole Historical Way. Before living in Odemira I lived in Castelao, where my brother and I and two other boys, also brothers, were the only boys. I used to cycle a minimum of 5 kms per day, riding our bikes together was a good way to spend the day.This area is very safe and quiet, but there is not much for young people to do. I love springtime here though, because it is already hot enough to go to the beach in a T-shirt, there are not many people on the streets, and you can enjoy cycling or walking.

I, sometimes, like to be alone although I appreciate to spend time with friends, in calm places, chatting and having some fun. But mostly I am alone because throughout the time I lost contact with some and others left the region to study or work.

My goal in life was – and is – to join the army, and make a career in the police force. I would have applied if I hadn’t joined the Rota Vicentina team. Maybe in the future…

Hugo Candeias

The photos were taken in the riverbank of Mira, in Odemira.

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