Kyle has been attending school in Silves since September 2009 and he loves school and has made some good friends over his years at the school.
However living in a country like Portugal and the poverty that is affecting it is only natural. I have experienced poverty when I was in England and many of you I am sure will have experienced it yourself. It might have been when you were at school yourself and the poor family had their child at school with holes in their shoes.
I was lucky I grew up in a normal middle class family and never went without – though as I showed entrepreneur spirit at such a young age learnt the value of money early on and often had my own money coming in.
However nothing I ever saw in England prepared me for the local families that I often meet since moving to Portugal, many of which are at school with my son. I am far from being a millionaire and would put myself at average with England – though I do feel much better off financially since I moved to the Algarve due to how low priced everything is here.
But to me there is a huge difference between breaking even and poverty. I know mums that regularly go without meals so that they can feed their children which in this day and age shouldn’t be happening. Then when you look at how low the minimum wage is you see why.
A few months ago I saw a car stop in the middle of the street when my son was going to school. It was one of the other parents taking their son to school. It turns out that the reason the car broke down is because he couldn’t afford any petrol and he had underestimated how long his tank of petrol would last. So he pushed the car to the side and walked his son the rest of the way to school.
I have even seen Dentists that are highly educated and worth a lot of money to be struggling because as they are self employed no one can afford dental treatments. I would say my own dentist is heading the same way because she never has any customers in and no matter what time of day it is she can always fit me in.
One of the things that have drawn Kyle into the poverty is the schooling. There is no teachers assistants now and the worst thing is children been at school when they are clearly very poorly. And the cooks are still working when they are poorly too. The reason for this is because they can’t afford to have the day off work sick to look after their child as that pay from one day means too much to them.
So Kyle will come home from school with an illness once a week, every two weeks if I am really lucky. It could be a cough, a bad cold or a nasty stomach bug. And head lice is an even bigger problem with kids having it constantly because the parents cant afford the treatment. Which is really not good for me with my long thick hair.
In England he would catch something once every 3-4 months and now his body is really run down and as we all know once we catch one thing to get another is very easy.
I try my best – he has vitamins, eats a very healthy diet with a lot of fruit and vegetables. But there is nothing you can really do to prevent it. It is also passing down to Dominic and I – we have both had two colds this winter compared to normally not having any at all.
But at the same time I feel guilty at complaining when I see how tough it is for the Portuguese yet they keep on smiling and struggle through the troubles that they have. If I didn’t live somewhere like Silves I doubt I would have noticed and it gives me a real insight into their tough way of life at the moment.´