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Fatinha and Alexandre – Nabantinos* boosts Mouraria

They left Tomar, moved to Mouraria and together develop various activities in the neighborhood, where they chose to live. She has an origami shop, Mãos à Dobra, at Largo dos Trigueiros and discovered her passion for fado. He loves board games and found his associative side.

Those who visit Mouraria and enters through Escadinhas S. Cristóvão can’t stay indifferent to the mural on the wall and where there are references to fado, some traditional characters and where even the priest Edgar is present. The idea came from MASC, the Movement of St. Christopher Friends, created in 2010 and which comprises Fatima Garcia and Alexandre Cotovio.

The couple met in Tomar, in the village of Linhaceira, but it was in Mouraria where they developed several projects together. “I’m from Tomar, I studied Sociology in Coimbra and moved to Lisbon to embrace a project to study the Popular Marcha of Bairro Alto”, recalls Fatinha, as she is known in Mouraria. “Alexandre studied in Lisbon and was living in the neighborhood with a friend. I came to Lisbon and I was living with them”.

The accommodation to Mouraria was easy and as they were meeting more people they start to develop the desire to create initiatives to boost the neighborhood. “The MASC drives from a conversation with another couple who lived in the same building,” says Alexander. “We thought that St. Christopher Street had a lot of potential and was a waste not having more activities. It was then that we decided to create a movement, something very informal, and decided to do a Fado show, in the street, both for the people of the neighborhood, as for visitors. With the profits we made the wall of Escadinhas de S. Cristóvão, a place crossed by more than two million people a year.”

The project went so well that even today there are photos on Instagram or Facebook. Even Largo dos Trigueiros, where Fatinha has the origami shop Mãos à Dobra, has a Facebook page where it shows some of the activities taking place, like the open air library or clothing donation. “I have been doing origami for 15 years, but it was as a hobby. After being unemployed, and as I never worked in the field of Sociology, I chose to open the store at Largo Trigueiros. Some months are better than others, but I also do workshops, weddings and baptisms.”

Besides origami, Fatinha discovered a passion for fado and the fear of singing in public disappeared. She has been singing for five months in several restaurants in St. Christopher Street accompanied by Miguel Loureiro. “Miguel had the idea to bring fado to the street and it’s working very well.”

Lovers of Portuguese cuisine and typical dishes, Fatinha and Alexandre elect Trigueirinho as the restaurant of election in the neighborhood. “Why? The food is Portuguese, very good and very cheap. Today we have to consider very well the costs and we prefer to be in a place where the food is really good, than to be a fashion place, “says Alexander who recently has become vice president of GGN – New People Group, which was about to close. “The idea is to boost the group, which was somewhat forgotten. We want to re-do activities, I am trying to organize board games tournaments, to boost a little the area.”

*Nambatinos = inabitants from Tomar, a city located 140km from Lisbon