Algarve Wildfires: Rebuilding Lives

€6,700 of €15,000 goal

Raised by 89 people in 12 months
Created August 10, 2018
Wildfires rage between Silves & Monchique 

As many of you have read in the news the Algarve is currently being ravaged by wildfires. So far over 27,000 hectares have burnt; people have lost everything, their homes and livelyhoods. 

Claire & Sander from the Netherlands began Eco-Lodge Brejeira just 12 years ago and lived there with their two children Ayla (9) and Ravi (7).  In their words: Brejeira...the hill that welcomed us more than twelve years ago, full of promises, bare after a big fire of 2003. The land where our dream started, and was realized, stone by stone, step by step, until Eco-lodge Brejeira was born out of our love, dedication, patience and creativity. The land that has received so so many people, made many people dream beautiful dreams, breathe pure and simple life. The land that witnessed laughter and tears, light and shadow.

Their home Brejeira is now gone, taken and destroyed by the fires, turned to ashes. This is just one sad, painful and devestating story.

People throughout the Silves and Monchique area are in need of our help  URGENTLY. Not only Claire and Sander, but their neighbours and friends living in the same area all need our help!

Basic necessaties needed:
First and foremost basic infrastructure needs are;
- Tools for rebuilding the land and homes
- Water tanks, waterpipes and water pumps
- Electricity
- Reservoir for water collection
- Building material for new sheds and homes
- Materials to clean up the environment
- Planting 

They are determind to rebuild everything themselves with the view of the desire to protect the infrastructure against future fires or other nature disasters.  Any amount of help will be greatefully received with love and gratitude. 

On behalf of Claire, Sander, Ayla and Ravi. 
Brejeira Facebook
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And so Christmas was spent one more year on our hill, in the jacket of simplicity i like to dress it in, while celebrating being together with my dear loved ones. I nearly forgot about it all amidst all the other things of Life, but was softly reminded by the kids' deep wish for traditions, for the magic of those days of the year that we chose to make special. It is us who create that, and it needs not to be elaborate, it needs not to involve many presents or expensive outings. We have created, years ago already, the ritual of going for a Christmas walk, since it is something we tend not to take the time for on usual days. This year, our walk was a little piece of the Via Algarviana hiking trail going towards Silves. We did the first stretch in our pick-up, to make it not too long for the kids to still enjoy it, because the aim was to have a picnic at a green valley somewhere halfway through that Sander had talked about many times already and that he wanted to share with us. While the walk led us through burnt forest that reminded so deeply of the natural disaster five months ago, the black ashes were dotted with green spots, signs of new life and of the resilience of Nature. And then to arrive in that island of green delight and take a dive into the freezing water of a lake nearby, wow! There is nothing better to make you feel alive!
I hope all your Christmasses were filled with light❤️
We have the intention to have everything clean and empty by the end of this year, so that in 2019, we can start with the rebuilding of a new place where the Gypsyvan was standing. We are looking foreward to the creation process! Thank you all again for helping us.
Much love,
Claire, Sander, Ayla and Ravi.
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Sometimes, a friend is needed to take a step again. I had been feeling in stagnating waters for some time now. Sander had an accident and could not move for days, or function normally for weeks now. It was as if Sander's accident also made me invalid. I felt down and had no energy, motivation or inspiration to move beyond the tiny oasis of green amidst the grey and black hills where we were living. Our saved, safe little island.
Two days ago, a friend phoned saying she was around the area these days, and wanted to help with whatever needed being done. It was as if she opened a door, the door leading into motion again.
Suddenly, i felt like getting on with the cleaning, that we had just left unfinished when i went to Holland. I hadn't set feet on those burnt grounds ever since. It had rained in the meantime, winds had blown over the ashes, buckets full of burnt screws had filled with rain water making a not so appealing rusty soup. I decided to leave the Gypsyvan place as it was for the moment and to (finally!) start fresh with the cleaning of the burnt Yurt.
And there, Magic happened. As if taking that little step again, together with my dear friend, also opened all the other locked doors. Ideas started flowing again, creativity, energy, love....
Bit by bit, the chaos was put back to order, seperating, glass from metal from treasures from garbage. I loved doing it, and i loved especially doing it together.
I feel so much lighter, and ready to move to next stage. Conforted with the knowledge, today felt with my heart, that every tiny step will set things into motion again.
Thank you so so much, sweet Carla, for taking me by the hand.
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And then Maria and Joaquim appeared, on their tractor. So we could also give them their share of the crowd-funding. Of all the neighbours, these are the ones really still living off the land, the cows, the sheep. They work very hard with their bare hands, which is becoming increasingly difficult seeing their advancing age (over sixty) and Joaquim's health problems (he has diabetes). His only good working tractor burnt, the waterpump burnt, and so did all the food for the cows. They live in very basic conditions and do not know what a day off means. They are the ones who most need support, and who humbly but gratefully accepted the money. Thank you, all who contributed, to have made this possible.
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Today, we went to our neighbours, to give them a share of the crowd-funding. Jõao, who will turn 86 next week, and his younger brother Luis Manuel, with their respective wifes Amalia and Alicia, live in two houses right next to each other. They are always immensely welcoming and generously share the fruits of their land and labour. Giving is their second nature. Receiving, on the other hand, is very difficult for them. When i handed over the envelop, and explained that this was a gift of support from friends and family, from old guests and other people who wanted to help those affected by the fires, their initial reaction was to give some of the money back to us, for us to have it. When we insisted and explained that we also had a share, and this was really for them, as a modest help for the damage, they promptly overloaded us with other gifts, lots of eggs, tomatoes, honey and an invitation for dinner next week. Their generosity, from the day we became neighbours, has always warmed my heart.
I want to pass on their gratefulness to all those who supported us, and therefore also them. The money is a little contribution to the replacement of the tubes to restaure their water-system.
We did not find Maria and Joaquim at home or in the surroundings. Their share will be given another day.
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€6,700 of €15,000 goal

Raised by 89 people in 12 months
Created August 10, 2018
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