Finisterrae in the ancient times it was believed to be the end of the known world. That is how it feels when moving around Southern Portugal or, more precisely, the region that in the ancient Roman era was known as ‘Lusitania’. The residents of this outskirt of the European Union are forgotten, as if they are living in continuous conflict with the South European’s glorious past. The people who live in this region haven’t changed that much over time. There is still an omnipresent esoteric ‘fume’ that surrounds former ‘Lusitania’, as reflected in the minds of its inhabitants; in the myths and beliefs that are being passed from one generation to the next. Yet, they also have to deal with the harsh facts of contemporary life: The centralization of economic power and wealth sustained by EU governments has resulted in poverty and abandonment of areas that were already disadvantaged, a process that completely destroyed social and economic structures of rural communities.
Those who have been located here over centuries are now pushed to leave or, alternatively, to live at the margins of the system. Families are becoming disconnected from each other, with the youngest members abandoning the land of their ancestors. Meanwhile, the elderly and the poor, who chose to stay put or simply couldn’t afford to move, slowly but steadily slide down in a state of alienation. This process of social marginalization and desertification of the soil is destructive, be it seemingly unstoppable for these bereft regions.