Poverty, Cherry picking, Porto Santo's magic sand, UV readings, Travels subsidies etc.

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Vic … the maiden voyage of the ‘Volcán of Tijarafe’, the ferry service between Madeira and Portimão owned by ‘Naviera Armas’ leaving Madeira on Saturday morning (was it foggy Vic, or was your camera lens a little misted up?)

Main News : source : Diário de Notícias 15/6/2008

Having claimed a few weeks ago that a third of Madeirans were officially living in poverty, a new article analyses the current position and the future prospects with different statistics. It claims that 54.5% are now on the verge of poverty. 15.1% of the population currently lives in perpetual poverty. In a study promoted by the Center of Studies for Social Intervention, around 136,250 Madeirans, in a population of 250,000, have spent a year in poverty during the last six years.  That percentage is surpassed by the Azores, with 62%, and by the Algarve, with 58,7%.  At the national level, 46% of the Portuguese people spent a year in poverty in at least one of the last six years. Amongst older people (54+), 63% of that age group on Madeira are classified as poor.

Porto Santo can look to a new type of visitor, starting this September. Norwegians requiring recuperation or treatment can go to Porto Santo for a period of normally around 17 days, with the support of the Norwegian Government. Extensive and long running tests on the golden sand there, in an area of medicine referred to as Geomedicine, has revealed special medicinal properties which have been recognised by Norwegian health experts. Around 100 people will go to Porto Santo in September, with an expected annual visitation of around 2,000 Norwegians. One of the experts quoted said “I have seen persons that arrive to Porto Santo entirely bent, with problems of rheumatism, and that return to walk normally, without the problems that tormented them before”.

And then there is football … but I will save that for later.

Other News :

Having said the other day that UV radiation from the sun doesn’t exceed factor 10 in this part of the world (it has been measured as high as 17 in Australia), the Diário reports new findings showing that we are being exposed or even roasted at level 11. Quoting directly about yesterday’s expected weather forecast : “Between noon and the 5pm, the index of UV is going to reach in Madeira, the maximum value (equal or over 11), that signifies extreme danger.  The Institute of Meteorology advises even the Madeirans will avoid the solar exposure and will take advantage of the day for rest at home.”

Cherry harvests are at their worst levels for the last 30 years, caused in part by excessive rain. In previous years the price has been around €1.80 per kilo, but this coming week the price is expected to exceed €5.

From today, those with mortgages on their home on Madeira may be able to extend the loan repayment period to a total of 50 years, in exchange for a lower monthly repayment. This can reduce by as much as €140 per month on a €100,000 loan, around 29%. 3,000 people are believed to qualify.

One point of clarification on the residents travel subsidy of €30 each way to mainland Portugal, is that the ticket used to claim the reimbursement must only show the journey to Portugal. Giving the example of a TAP flight booked to go Madeira – Lisbon – Paris, and return, you would not be able to claim the €60 per person subsidy if you showed one ticket for the complete journey for each direction. You would need to book the foreign flight legs separately. Put simply, your ticket must show that your journey was completed in Portugal.


OK now football, and a sad defeat for Portugal to a very lucky and barely talented Swiss side. There again Portugal fielded 8 out of 11 players who would would not have been in the starting line-up if Portugal had needed the points. Add that excuse to some poor refereeing decisions, a penalty given that shouldn’t have been, a penalty not given that should have been, an offside goal that wasn’t, and a lot of diving and howling by Swiss players … and that’s just the opinions I heard and in the news today. I hope to watch the match later today, as for reasons I am about to explain, I didn’t really see it. I made an unusual foray into Funchal yesterday evening, to watch the match on the big screen along with a couple of thousand Portugal fans in the big square (Praça do Município?). Being taller than most Madeirans I had a fine view of the screen, but the quality of the picture was terrible. Honestly, all I could see in the distance shots was red blobs passing white blobs, and sometimes colliding to form pink blobs. Occasionally a white speck would be visible, but whether that was the football or a horribly lost swiss mountain goat, I will not know until I watch the match again. The frustration of the fans in the square was also showing, and that mixed with copious amounts of beer (them, not me), the scenario was starting to make me feel a little uncomfortable. After that my companions wanted to go to McDonalds … I have never eaten in one nor felt the urge to, but sat and watched anyway. As a night out it was never going to inspire me to do that again. All was not lost however, as I got back to Rib. Bra. in time for a couple of swifties prior to bed.


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6 thoughts on “Poverty, Cherry picking, Porto Santo's magic sand, UV readings, Travels subsidies etc.”

  1. I guess most Portuguese will be naturally biaised about last night's football. I thought that Portugal were unlucky to go into half time still drawing, but that in the second half the Swiss were miles better. Although the Swiss player went down rather easily in the box, I have seen our friend CR go down with a lot less contact in the past, so I don't think there can be any justifiable complaints there. A pity overall – Portugal looked pretty goosd in the first two games. they won't scare anyone on this performance. Rather a lot of unneccessary yellow cards too. We'll see what happens when the first team plays again in the next round!

  2. Dear Andrew, you cannot critise CR on this blog, or the locals will burn it down! Only 2 blog rules here : nothing anti CR, and nothing unpleasant. Just had a look at the photos I took yesterday, and the screen quality looks much better through a camera lens … will publish a pic tomorrow

  3. When you have nothing to play for, as Portugal did last night and most of your first team weren't even playing I am not unduly concerned with the result. Next round will see a better display I'm sure. I mean you don't want to mess with big Phil.

    There are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics. Someone could say that 67% of statistics are lies.

    Anyway there is a problem with poverty in Madeira. My family are hardly living the life of luxury. And I guess you can say there is always someone worse off than you.

    In Madeira I have seen people living in houses which have been carved out of the rock, almost cave like. I know someone who rents a garage for their family to live in. I remember one year we went to a summer party and instead of coloured flags lining the street they had pieces of newspaper fluttering in the breeze to decorate the streets. Because of lack of money my wife never had toys to play with as a child. I could go on (and bore you) but the point is that these are hardy people who just get on with life.

    It's very difficult for someone coming from somewhere like the UK to adjust to this basic level of living. Perhaps they expected an island of riches to roll out the red carpet for them?

    Democratically elected by the good people of Madeira for 30 years.
    –President Alberto João Jardim

  4. understand your points Anon and many Madeirans do take poverty as part of life's 'package', and at least they have their god to turn to when desperate. But wherever we come from originally, it does not change the fact that levels of poverty here are unacceptable when there is plenty of money sloshing round the government budgets for 'nice to have' projects and point scoring exercises. Many lucky people can turn a blind eye and sleep easy at night, lucky them, and the tourists of course probably have no idea of what life is really like here, lucky them. There is only one way out of this worsening issue, and these people including AJJ are guilty as hell of ignoring the poverty plight. Madeira needs a political party for the people, not a party for the politicians. I don't have a vote, so I can't change things … only the Madeirans can vote to help themselves, or even better vote to help each other.


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