Pay it forward


Our car broke down today. We had been to Figueiró to do our weekly shop and it just conked out on the way back up the mountain.

Actually, it conked out just after we had reached the high point, meaning we could continue to coast along for a while – we knew we couldn’t get home as there was another incline in the way, but the aim was to get to the turn off to Campelo, the nearest village to us. We just made it, only requiring a short push as we approached the turn off, then it was plain sailing down into the valley that Campelo lies in, thanks to three builders who helped push the last few metres into the village square.

We had the number of a mechanic that David had met a few weeks ago, but he didn’t speak English so we called Teresinha, our Portuguese tutor, and asked for help with translating. A few minutes later, Tiago the mechanic arrived with a friend who spoke a little English and started to look at the car.

One of the reasons for aiming for Campelo was that it is within walking distance of home. I decided to head off, taking a couple of bags of shopping with me. It isn’t a long walk, but it does involve some very steep hills – combined with 32°C and midday sun, it felt very long. Very, very long. I was pooped when I got home.

In the meantime, Tiago had called another friend who spoke English. The friend spoke to David on the phone and then turned up – he didn’t have anywhere else he needed to be and wanted to practice his English! Together, everyone decided that the car couldn’t be repaired and needed to be towed to a garage in Figueiró. The tow truck was called and David was given a lift home with the rest of the shopping by Tiago (jammy devil!). Tiago wouldn’t take any money, but fortunately we had bought beers so were able to give him and his friends some as a thank you for helping us out.

The car is likely to be out of action for a few days and we were a bit concerned about being stuck here with no transport – not a good idea in a fire risk area, with high temperatures and winds forecast. So our landlady is lending us a car until we get ours back.

We’ve been struck by how friendly and helpful people are and it continues – we have a lot of paying it forward to do!


4 responses »

  1. I don’t know why we don’t all live in Portugal – you’ve met so many friendly and helpful people. Perhaps that’s why the country’s broke! On second thoughts, I think you two bring out the best in others. Long may it continue. Hope you soon have the car back.

  2. Something to do with living in the country…..people help out …..[also know everyone else ‘s business ].xx talk soon

  3. Aargh that’s a horrible feeling when the car just conks out. I once ran out of juice on my bike 100Km from anywhere. As I rolled to a stop, a petrol tanker came round the corner, stopped and filled a coke bottle for me. That got me to a nearby farm where I filled up from the farmer’s tank; and of course neither the driver nor the farmer would take anything for their kindness. I agree with lvmx – it’s a country-v-city thing.

  4. Our daughter and son-in-law have just moved from Johannesburg to a plot near us, and they, too, can’t get over how friendly the locals are… 🙂

    Living in the country rocks!!

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