67 Meeting minutes – Madeira Consorcio Meeting Feb 12, 2015

Mar 1, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,


We decided on who would be moderator, A. would be for the time being.  We discussed what the group wanted from the moderator:

  • E.: The moderator should be someone who has the basic interest of the group in mind, to be able to steer conversations/meeting like a boat.
  • Others: That everyone should get to speak, keep track of the conversations and intervene should someone speak too much or too little
  • Some basic rules were established:
    • Turn off mobile phones
    • Punctuality
    • The meetings would typically run from 6,30pm to 8.00pm


Structure of meetings

  • To send suggestions of the topics for the next meeting beforehand for consideration
  • Some meetings would be focused around listening and learning from other people (e.g. like at fire station)
  • Sometime near the beginning to discuss feedback form the previous meeting


Previous meeting at Fire station

U. gave a brief recap on the previous meeting, saying the fellow responded honestly and transparently to a wide range of questions; from E.´s experience at Monte to the politicised nature under which the service has been under (but improving e.g. 3 members under disciplinary orders for voicing their opinions).

Book “My Ishmael” and “The Story of B” by Daniel Quinn

U. and E. shared their insights from a book they both read; A gorilla learns to speak and essentially reflects back to the girl, with whom he is in conversation with, on the nature of society.  Amongst what is no doubt a complex issue a few points arose:


    • Humans forget their history/ancestry
    • Society is divided into taker and leaver societies.  Taker societies exploit the world and leaver societies (e.g. Armish) allow for regeneration and long term existence
    • Taker societies absorb leaver societies, something which many youngsters feel disillusioned about and find difficulty in rationalising, as well as being deeply disturbing.
    • The focus is on how we educate our children and how we interact in our relations.  The example of the gorilla asking the girl “what is your story?” is really a foundation for us bridging our differences and sharing what is pertinent amongst ourselves.
    • C. mentioned a book she had read about hunter/gatherers and how they lived within their limits.


Ri. – purpose

Ri. reflected back to the group the notion of talking a lot but not getting anywhere.  As an exercise he suggested questioning “What is my purpose?”  This could be a personal question for each of us to discuss (or not) as well as being perhaps a question for the wider purpose of the group.

  • Ri. will talk about his experience, on purpose, in the next meeting.
  • D. likes listening and learning from others and enjoys exploring ideas in the free discussion that these meetings have,
  • E. feels it is quite nice not to have to define everything.

Next meeting on Thursday, March 12.

  • Ri.´s talk
  • The surgeon as well.

Visit to the Municipal Fire Station in Funchal

Dec 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The group went to visit the local Municipal Fire Station in Funchal to the North of Dolce Vita.

This was a very interesting visit. Chief Samuel, one of the shift leaders with many years of experience, showed us the station and the cars and gave us honest answers to a lot of prickly questions.

The highlights:

The team has 137 staff (it should have 140)

26 persons are always on call on 12 hour shifts.

The response time is very quick, especially if you do not call 112 (officially what you have to do) but directly to them (291 200930).

The city is divided into two parts:

West: Municipal Bombeiros,

East: Voluntary Bombeiros, but if there is a fire in the Zone Velha or around the Cathedral, both units always respond.

The staff have a gym, a canteen (most bring their own food) , a multi-purpose room with internet and sleeping quarters.

A regular fireman/woman earns around 600-700€ month, a Chief around 1100€ (they say, brut, less taxes…)

Nothing much may happen in a shift but they have to be alert. Tension is palpable in the building and the courtyard.

The equipment:

There is never enough money around to have the best equipment and maintenance but this is a complaint every Fire Station in the world voices. The FNC Volunteers have worse equipment, though.

A lot of equipment is bought from Germany. The base of the cars may be coming from Mercedes but the top is built by a Portuguese company, Jacinto. They are very good at custom building fire equipment and sell their fire engines all over Europe. (Land Rovers are not the favourite Fireman car, they are being replaced over time.)

There are smaller cars to check out a situation – the Fire Chief has always to be there first.

They have one car to free people trapped in cars – this is the worst job they have to do

Ladder cars:

We have the biggest ladder in Portugal (55m) this is the second biggest ladder in Europe. Think of hotels like Pestana Carlton…

There are regular Fire Trainings in the hotels for the firemen by the Fire Departments. These trainings serve also to check the pipes and hydrants. All hotels have to have an internal “first response” Fire Team.

Water tanks:

All cars have water tanks of various sizes, the biggest contains 32000 l water (all hydrant water is fresh water)

They also come with foam which is very effective but expensive. The Station has a tank of 1000 l foam.

The pipes are surprisingly slim; water pumps can be taken out by hand to be placed where they can be connected to external water supplies.

The Station also has a training tower to train for high-rise fires. The staff has lot of training sessions to keep them in shape and respond to new situations or regulation.


They have ambulances just for emergencies; the Volunteers and other services (Red Cross) take care of non-urgent transports. In the time we were there, the ambulances moved out twice. – no fire alarms.


E., with his dire experience in Monte last year, spoke about the shortcomings during the situation (hydrants blocked, lagoon water not used, no help from the fire department) Chief Samuel acknowledged this.

Chief Samuel confirmed that there was an order to save the Monte Church – nowadays; such an order could not be imposed on the Firemen anymore.

On February 20, 2010, contrary to the rumours, only 42 persons died, and nobody drowned in the underground parking garages.

The Fire Department has its own water gauge in the mountains so that they know when a flood can be expected downtown.

In Dolce Vita, the order was to evacuate the parking, and people tried to take out their cars but the “guards” wouldn’t open the gates without payment so more cars were rendered unusable

We gave Chief Samuel our Fire Manual.











64 joint Meeting Madeira Consorcio with Andrew`s group

Sep 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

64 joint Meeting Madeira Consorcio with Andrew`s group 18.9.2014

(no. 63 was the visit to the City Hall)

Hello Team,

This meeting could have been televised, that`s how good it was! We exchanged a great deal of experiences and I think we learned a lot.

I shall try to capture the essential points here.

First, A showed us a part of his Quinta in the middle of Funchal, with around 3.5 ha land. He planted several types of wine for Madeira wine; the harvest is going to B. , this company also takes care of the care and maintenance. The farm also grows herbs, vegetables and bananas.

A has a plan to create a Café and a shop for local products in one of the Quinta entrances. The street is a favorite walk down to town by tourists who take a toboggan ride to Livramento, and then walk down to Funchal. Around 180 people walk down there daily so there would be a good opportunity to have them come in for a coffee.

The visitors could also walk around the farm and visit the sheep (!). A has plans for an old storage facility: he wants to turn it into an art gallery and Ateliers. Important to him: the whole project must be holistic, made up of pieces of nature, art and culture which harmonize with each other. It has to have high quality and would set a good example for other projects.

In the Manor House, A installed Local Lodging for groups, five bedrooms are available. The guests have access to the beautiful garden, with pool, table tennis and tennis. There is not restaurant; the tourists do their own cooking. Ahad good bookings in July and August, with an interesting variety of visitors. With a visit to this one-of-a-kind Quinta, visitors who are sometimes unaware of what they are booking, receive a unique experience in a genuine Manor House with plenty of history and beauty.

Afterwards we sat down in a beautiful pavilion A has on the grounds and discussed our aims, ideas and disappointments with our various projects.

A`s group wants to create an association for the preservation of the natural treasures and culture of the island. Especially Ri, as photographer, has a large archive of photos and films that show how the island looked some decades ago and how it looks now. The degradation of the country side, due to man-made and natural causes and fires, is well visible. He said that that there is good documentation of old times but hat there was a break in the last century. As much of the knowledge and substance is lost, the younger generations do not understand how important it is to preserve this knowledge and the natural diversity and to build on it. The association would aim to plant a seed to educate the population about the treasure we have in this island.

Miis a business man, he told us about his experience with a village in Northern Portugal. He started to buy small ruins there, restored them for Turismo Rural and brought income to the community. He also had them plant flax to weave linen, to produce high quality products for sale to the tourists. He got a classification as National Treasure for the village, and then he ran into trouble. The Mayor did not want to publish the classification because he had plans to install wind farms around the village. Miis not working on this project anymore.

He also had a similar experience with a grape seed project, The machine to crush the seeds (the powder, an expensive product with high profit, has anti-cancer properties) constantly broke down, probably due to bad handling.

What they took away from this experience:

  • You cannot force or compel Portuguese people do to anything they do not want, not even if it is with the best of intentions. Madeira Consorcio members learned the same from (among others) the basket project.
  • We need to pick people up where they are. We need to listen and see what they need.
  • The market is ruled by supply and demand, if there is no demand – in this case, for a solution to a problem – the people will not take up suggestions.
  • On the other hand, demand can be created by creating and marketing a new product.
  • We have to be persistent if we want to achieve something.
  • We have to start new product ourselves, if they are good, the Portuguese will copy it.
  • Projects need luck but Eis convinced that we can make luck happen!

How we can co-operate:

Ehas found an able potter on Madeira who is copying his “Römertopf” pottery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_pot_cooking). With these pots, everybody can bake healthy, leavened bread in a household oven. He is already teaching a group of kids how to bake bread; he can do that also for a group of children A is working with.

Sacan teach painting techniques to the children. All these activities will give working-class children unforgettable experiences which might move their lives into a different direction.

Although it was a lot about failure, this was a great meeting about new approaches for both Groups.











40 Madeira Consorcio Meeting Minutes (Agriculture) 29.8.2013 EXCERPT

Aug 31, 2013 at 10:17 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,
Latina: Equisetum arvense Nederlands: Heermoes

Latina: Equisetum arvense Nederlands: Heermoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


40 reunião Madeira Consórcio (Agricultura ) 29.8.2013        English version below


Infelizmente, não havia muitos membros a participar na reunião sobre esta questão importante, mas aqui é a informação para todos:
Falamos sobre o projecto de um manual para a prevenção e combate de incêndios para a população e adicionamos alguns pontos. Para uma melhore compreenao, U traduzio-o para o Inglês e em formato doc.


Há muitas coisas que a população pode fazer para evitar incêndios que não custam dinheiro, tais como a limpeza ao redor da casa e nas sarjeta, no telhado, etc. O ponto principal não é ignorar o perigo e ser auto-suficiente.


D disse que helicópteros e aviões de incêndio não são úteis na ilha. Não podem carregar água doce rápido o suficiente. A água salgada não pode ser usado porque a água evaporaria antes de atingir o solo e o sal podia ainda dar comida às chamas.


N conhece um Sr. que está limpando a terra para as pessoas, em troca da lenha resultante e as folhas que ele possa vender como fertilizante. Uma vez que ele fez isso para um homem, a Guarda Nacional confiscou a lenha e os sacos porque ele não é um empresário, ele não tinha licença para isso …. O Sr. teria que pagar um mínimo de 125 € por mês para a Segurança Social; se ele tem bastante trabalhos como esse, ele poderia pagar este custo e estabeleceu-se com um pequeno negócio.


Parece uma empresa, com boas ligações com o governo, tem o monopólio para este tipo de trabalho: http://www.florasanto.com  …


Velhos hábitos são difíceis de combater: Quando D está queimando lixo em um barril na sua terra, os vizinhos automaticamente assumem que ele está preparar Espetada. Fazendo fogo a céu aberto é um hábito na Madeira. As pessoas têm que entender que mesmo um pequeno churrasco não pode ser permitido no verão, as faíscas podem voar muito longe.


E sugeriu que falamos para uma empresa de extintor de incêndios na ilha. Eles poderiam ampliar o seu mercado, oferecendo cursos com nosso manual para a população, o que resultaria em maiores vendas de extintores e outros equipamentos. As empresas são www.diverfogo.com – que oferecem formação para grupos pequenos – e http://www.extinfogo.com Nós poderíamos ajudá-los a encontrar os espaços para fazer uma apresentação, juntamente com o uso prático de extintores de incêndio.


U vai falar com o Diario para ver se poderíamos obter espaço no jornal para publicar esses manuais.


Imprimir o manual em forma de folhetos seria caro e muitas pessoas não sabem ler muito bem, muitas pessoas de idade em zonas ameaçadas vivem sozinhos e não têm filhos próximas que podem ajudá- los a entender esses manuais. Deve ser realmente passar um inspetor que iria verificar cada casa e dizer às pessoas o que fazer.


Outros assuntos:
N encontrou uma empresa que contribui para o plantio de árvores em vários lugares da América do Sul para as pessoas podem compensar a sua pegada de carbono: http://www.co2tropicaltrees.com/ Contribuintes podem obter uma etiqueta para seu carro para mostrar a neutralidade de carbono.


Cavalinha: o cliente  está realmente interessado em Equisetum arvense, uma espécie invasora, mas eles estão dispostos a pagar para o isolamento da plantação para que as espécies não podem se espalhar para outras áreas. N tem um pedaço de terra com muita água, onde os campos experimentais poderiam ser plantadas.

A nossa organização :
Nosso Blog está em https://madeiraconsorcio.com/
Facebook é a http://www.facebook.com/groups/madeiraconsorcio/

O grupo ToBinG se reunirá em 05 de setembro
Visita guiada ao Teatro em 19 de setembro
O grupo de Agricultura se reunirá no dia 26 de setembro 




40 Madeira Consorcio Meeting Minutes (Agriculture) 29.8.2013


We spoke about U’s draft for a manual for fore prevention and combat for the population and we added some points to it. U translated it into English and in .doc format.


There are many things the population can do to prevent fires which don’t cost money, such as cleaning around the house and in the gutters, on the roof, etc.. The main point is not to ignore the danger and to be self-reliant.


D said that helicopters and fire planes are not useful on the island. The cannot load fresh water fast enough. Salt water cannot be used because the water would evaporate before it hits the ground and the salt would actually add to the flames.


N knows a guy who is cleaning land for people, in exchange for the resulting firewood and leaves he can sell as fertilizer. Once he did this for a man, and the Guarda Nacional confiscated the firewood and the bags because he is not an entrepreneur, he had no license for it…. The guy would have to pay a minimum of 125€ per month for Social Security; if he has enough jobs like this, he could afford this cost and set himself up with a small business.


It seems a company, with good connections to the Government, has a monopoly for this kind of work: http://www.florasanto.com .


Old habits die hard: When D is burning rubbish on a barrel on his land, the neighbors assume that he is preparing Espetada. Making fire out in the open this is an old habit in Madeira. People have to understand that even a small barbecue cannot be allowed in Summer, sparks can fly very far..


E suggested that we speak to a fire extinguisher company on the island. They could enlarge their market by offering courses with our manual for the population, which would result in higher sales for extinguishers and other equipment. The companies are www.diverfogo.com – they offer training for small groups – and http://www.extinfogo.com. We could help them find the spaces to do a presentation, together with the practical use of fire extinguishers.


U will talk to the Diario to see if we could get space in the newspaper to publish such manuals.


Printing the manual in form of leaflets would be expensive and many people cannot read very well; many old people in endangered zones live alone and have no children nearby who can help them understand such manuals. It should really be an inspector who would check each house and tell people what to do.


Other issues:


N found a company that contributes to tree planting in several places in South America to people can offset their carbon-footprint: http://www.co2tropicaltrees.com/ You can get a sticker for your car to show carbon neutrality


Horsetail: the  client is really interested in Equisetum arvense, an invasive species, but they are prepared to pay for the isolation of the plantation to that the species cannot spread to other areas. N has a piece of land with a lot of water where the experimental fields could be planted first.


Our organisation:


Our Blog is at https://madeiraconsorcio.com/


Facebook is at www.facebook.com/groups/madeiraconsorcio/



The ToBinG group will meet on Sept 5 


Guided visit to the Theater on September 19 


The Agriculture group will meet on September 26 a





39 Madeira Consorcio Meeting Minutes (ToBinG) 22.8.2013 EXCERPT

Aug 24, 2013 at 9:56 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

39 reunião Madeira Consórcio (ToBinG) 22.8.2013

Olá equipe,

Nós tivemos uma discussão animada sobre o risco de incêndio e as experiências que os nossos membros  tiveram com isso. Esta foi uma reunião em que as palavras “problema” e “Governo” não poderiam ser evitados …

Falamos sobre os recentes incêndios e como prevenir e combater os.
E disse que os bombeiros chamados a Monte disseram à população para combater o fogo a si mesmos, sem pôr em risco as suas vidas … E estava muito abalada por sua experiência, ele tive de salvar a sua e a casa abandonada do vizinho. Ele também estava chocado que alguns dos bombeiros chamados de outros distritos tiveram de pedir a população “Onde estamos?”, e para onde ir, porque eles não estão familiarizados com Monte / Fanal.

D falou com o secretário de Agricultura  sobre isso em uma reunião e mais uma vez fez todo o grupo desconfortável ao falar abertamente sobre as deficiências que ele vê quando se trata de prevenção de incêndios e combate.

Aqui estão alguns pontos: (a lista completa será desenvolvido por U, com base em informações E obteve de outra fonte nos EUA):

É óbvio que a população não tem ideia do que fazer em tal caso. Como os incêndios eram recentes e viva na memória da população, queremos desenvolver um manual para apresentar à população (por exemplo, em um local de encontro público em Monte), de modo que as pessoas podem tomar-se medidas quando os bombeiros não podem ajudar (como foi o caso em Monte).

O Governo deve fazer uma lei e adotar uma medida brasileira (há um esquema semelhante na Alemanha), lá as casas são controladas uma vez por ano, para obter um passe “hábito”. Um bombeiro irá inspecionar todos os detalhes da casa para certificar de que não representa um risco de incêndio ou um alvo fácil para o fogo (eles poderiam verificar contra reprodutores dos mosquitos ao mesmo tempo). Na Alemanha, este teste tem que ser pago pelo dono da casa.

O Governo deve fazer uma lei que tem o direito de assumir e leiloar casas abandonadas, a fim de evitar incêndios e riscos de mosquito.

Cada Sitio deve ter um depósito público de água com boca, com medidas de prevenção de incêndios, acessíveis à população.

O governo deve oferecer cursos de prevenção de incêndios pelos bombeiros para os donos da casa, semelhante como para o primeiro socorro. Os cursos devem ser gratuitos, talvez obrigatório para os donos das casas.

Auto-suficiência: Se o Governo não limpar a terra, você faz!

Isso precisa ser mais desenvolvido, U irá tentar apresentar uma minuta de um folheto na reunião Agricultura na próxima semana. Os membros ToBinG também são convidados a vir, para dar o seu contributo!

Outros pontos:

Valor Ambiente “- Meia Serra – está levando a CMF a tribunal porque eles estão quebrando um contrato de 20 anos para ter seus resíduos domésticos queimados na Meia Serra. Meia Serra quer 88 € por tonelada, e a nova empresa de Jan Madeira Waste Energy” tem cerca de um terço do custo. Isso vai ser interessante …

A nossa organização:
Nosso Blog está em https://madeiraconsorcio.com/
Facebook é a http://www.facebook.com/groups/madeiraconsorcio/

O grupo de Agricultura se reunirá no dia 29 de agosto
O grupo ToBinG se reunirá em 05 de setembro

39 Madeira Consorcio Meeting Minutes (ToBinG) 22.8.2013

We had an animated discussion about the fire hazard and the experiences our members had with it. This was a meeting where the word “problem” and “Government” could not be avoided…

We spoke about the recent fires and how to prevent and combat them.

The firemen called to Monte told the population to combat the fire themselves, without endangering their lives… E was very shaken by his experience, he saved his and the neighbor’s abandoned house himself. He was also shocked that some of the firemen called in from other districts had to ask the population “Where are we?”, and where to do go, because they are not familiar with Monte/Fanal.

D spoke to the Secretary of Agriculture about this at a meeting and once again made the whole bunch uncomfortable by speaking frankly about the shortcomings he sees when it comes to fire prevention and combat.

Here are a few points: (a complete checklist will be developed by U, based on info E obtained from another source in the US)

It is obvious that the population has no clue what to do in such a case. As the fires were recent and vivid in their memory, we want to develop a manual to present to the population (for instance in a public meeting place in Monte) so that persons can take measures themselves if the firemen cannot help (as was the case in Monte).

The Government should make a law and adopt a Brazilian measure (there is a similar scheme in Germany), the houses there are inspected once a year to get a “habit” pass. A fireman will inspect all details of the house to make sure that is does not pose a fire hazard or an easy target for a fire (they could check against mosquitos breeding grounds at the same time). In Germany, this test has to be paid for by the house owners.

The Government should make a law that it has the right to take over and auction off abandoned houses, in order to prevent fires and mosquito hazards.

Every Sitio should have a public water depot with hydrant, with fire prevention measures, accessible to the population.

The Government should offer fire prevention courses by firemen for house owners, just like for First Aid. The courses should be free of charge, perhaps mandatory for house owners.

Self-reliance: If the Government does not clear the land, YOU do it!

This needs to be developed further, U will try to present a draft of a leaflet in the Agriculture meeting next week. The ToBinG members are also invited to come, to give their input!

Other issues:

Valor Ambiente” – Meia Serra – is taking the CMF to court because they are breaking a 20 year contract to have their household waste burnt in Meia Serra. Meia Serra wants 88€ per ton, and Jan`s enterprise “Madeira Waste Energy” has about a third of the cost. This will be interesting…

Our organisation:

Our Blog is at https://madeiraconsorcio.com/

Facebook is at www.facebook.com/groups/madeiraconsorcio/

The Agriculture group will meet on August 29 

The ToBinG group will meet on Sept 5 


Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and Comments feeds.