Neide, Age 37
Interview conducted on Oct 28, 2019
Lajes do Pico, Pico Island, Azores
What is you most favorite part of living on Pico?
I like the peace and quiet. It is a good place to raise a family. I have lived in Lajes my whole life and have been to the mainland, but never outside of Portugal. I don’t like that people celebrate Halloween, that is not Portuguese. We are Portuguese and it is important that we remember our traditions.
What is you least favorite part?
It is hard to get to the hospital. In general the lack of access to proper health care is an issue.
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
Magna on the North coast, in Santo Amaro. This time of year it is only open late, after seven. You have nice views of the ocean. On a clear day you can sea São Jorge.
Do you see changes in the weather?
Yes. There was a hurricane here recently, Lorenzo. We have had storms in the past but Lorenzo was unusual, very large. In the past few years the weather has changed. A few years ago we had no rain. This year August was incredibly rainy. My family has cattle and we need consistent weather to grow crops to feed the cows in order to make a life for our families. Without rain we can not grow crops. Too much rain during the growing season makes also makes it difficult.
I am from America. Is there anything you would like to ask me?
Yes, why are you building walls. America is a place where many cultures come together. I thought America was a place of inclusivity. Don’t you realize that workers are important to the farmers. The owner of one of the biggest sweet potato producer is from Pico. He has a business in California. Why don’t the Native America people, like the Sioux ask Donald Trump to leave?
“As I document this interview I smile at how articulate and knowledgeable Neidi was of America. She even knew the names of tribes of our first nations peoples. She seemed well versed in the economic realities of our farmers. I would know little of the Azores if I had not been researching it for this trip. Her words made me both proud and a bit sad to be American. I love my country, but I do worry about the xenophobic movement that seems to be arising. People from other places have long been important to our history and our economic prosperity. Even peoples of the first nations arrived from other continents. We would do well to follow Neidi’s example and learn about other places, even if we have never been there. After all, we are all one people.”
Shortly before I had posted the interview my good friend Jon had shared this article about weather and the impact of water availability on the islands of the Azores. I am sharing it here for those interested. In addition to a bit of knowledge about the Azores, it gives viewers a change to hear the beautiful Portuguese language.