Since the YouCaring platform will be closed soon, we had to switch platforms. You can now find us and contribute to this cause on the link above. All the previous donations will be added on the new platform as "offline donations".
Hello everyone! It’s story time! 🕮
First of all, thanks for reading, it means a lot. My name is Joana, I’m 22 years old and I live in Porto, Portugal. Since I was just a baby, I used to go to my grandparents’ village in the country's interior: the village name is “Águas”, which literally translates to “Water” (people from all over the place used to come there to fill their bottles with water from the fountain and it’s also a place known by spa tourism). Anyways, going to Águas was always a joyful moment which brings me and my family a lot of happy memories.
Over the years, I stopped going to Águas, not because I didn’t want to go, but simply because I had a lot going on at school, then at college and, more recently, at work. I kept telling myself that I would go there soon, and the picture I had in my mind of Águas was of this . For me, Águas was always a synonym of long summer nights playing Monopoly and other board games with my cousins, of traditional food that I wouldn’t eat anywhere else, of old ladies whispering to each other the latest novelties about the people in the village, of the place where there wasn’t a strong internet or phone connection but it didn’t matter because the most important was actually being and talking to the people around you. When I watch these old videos that my parents recorded there when I was a child, I can still see and feel all this so clearly and I get deeply nostalgic.
This year, it was different. During the Easter period, I had the time to visit Águas with my family again and finally show it to my boyfriend for the very first time. I was pretty excited to come back! When I finally got there, I had so many mixed feelings popping up inside me: it was still my place of refuge, the smell of it – oh boy! – the smell didn’t change a bit, and damn, it was still beautiful and pure. But the streets didn’t have the old ladies whispering to each other anymore – they’ve already passed away. The traditional food was harder to find – the people who used to cook it got older and they felt weaker because their body was heavier and slower than ever before.
Let me introduce you to my Grandpa and my family! 👋
My Grandpa is António Cruz. He was born in 1942 at Águas, where he lived for some decades with his grandmother Maria de Jesus, his parents Natividade Martins and Luís Cruz, and his siblings, Manuel, Maria do Céu e Lurdes. His childhood home was actually his grandmother house – he and his brother (who already passed away) lived there with her during their entire childhood. She was born in 1888 and lived through nearly 100 years! She was the baker of the entire village and she also was a real storyteller: a woman who had a very long life, full of moments to remember but also with moments of struggle, like when her husband had to go to Argentina to work and save money to the family – sadly, he ended up dying there and he never returned to Águas.
and he started telling us all the stories he lived through in that house: like that one time when a bat hit him in the face when he was returning home from work, or when it was time to go to sleep and his bedroom was simply a very small attic – it was little but it was enough. : a lock that barely works, spider webs everywhere, tons of pieces of stone and wood that fell from the roof and the walls, stairs that are almost falling, old and non-functional furniture, divisions of the house that don’t even have floor anymore – it’s just an hole. It’s simply impossible to live there, and even visiting is kind of dangerous because there’s a possibility of the ground breaking even more or of the roof losing more pieces of it.
He even told us, division by division, what he would like to build in which place and how he imagines that house. “If I won the lottery, this is where I would invest the money!”, he kept saying.
Your help could transform a house into a home ❤
Because I believe that, together, we can all be “the lottery”, I’m sharing this story with you and asking for your help. Neither me nor my parents have the money to rebuild the house, but together I know we can make my Grandpa’s dream finally come true.
Currently, he lives with my grandmother in Porto, the same city as I, and he’s a retired man who still works as a taxi driver to earn some money. while he tries to save more money to rebuild it. He would love to have his own place to stay in Águas so that he and my grandmother could spend more time there and visit it more often.
He already has several budges to rebuild the house, but the accounts payable are not encouraging.
On 18 December my Grandpa turns 76 years old, and if by that time I could, together with all of you, give him the gift of rebuilding his childhood home, I know it would be the best gift he could ever ask for :) He would be forever grateful!
If you choose to help us, I will kindly send you regular updates on the situation (including, I hope, the progress of rebuilding and pictures of the renewed house!). And what do you think of receiving a postcard directly from Águas? My Grandpa will be happy to send you a personalized and handwritten thank you message – it’s a vintage way to appreciate your help! Just let me know when you donate if you would like to receive it. We also want to have a frame in the house with the names of all the people who helped us, yours included. And, of course, if you ever want to visit Águas, in Portugal, the house will be available for your stay!
Thank you very much for taking your time to read this story and for giving us your contribute. I hope you have an amazing day and I wish you all the best!