Photograph: Nelson Garrido
The population in the Portuguese rural villages is ageing. A foundation from Lisbon has sponsored the creation of a herd of goats in the small hamlet of Grijó, in the North of Portugal. The population consists of only 19 people, the youngest is 67, no one has been born in the last 30 years, there are only deaths to register. Statistically the village could be extinguished in 15 years.
Now, 130 goats have brought life and novelty. The oldest inhabitant of the hamlet, Albertina da Cunha, 95, who can no longer hear and can barely walk, now spends her days sitting by the window watching the little kids on the hills through a pair of binoculars. Around 30 new little goats were born this past year.
With the herd they have something new to discuss. The hard part was finding a goatherd. No one wants to be one anymore. They had to call it something different, so they opened vacancies for a so called “livestock farming provider in high mountain territories”. An unemployed mason, who lost his job in the failing construction sector in Lisbon, got the post. He is the new face in Grijó.