Page 1


The story begins at the beginning of winter, 2011. In the storylike setting of Alden Biesen, Belgium, people from all over Europe met to reaffirm the importance of stories in people’s lives. Some of them – Maria, Zeynep, Carmen, Jeff and Gilles - decided to give voice to new stories: the life of people in their own organizations. And they discovered together that regardless of the geographical area they live in, regardless the history and culture that influence and shape each individual, people have a lot in common; after all, we all travel through life accompanied by joys or sorrows, by hardships or frailties, by good or bad experiences.

Thereby the five enthusiasts returned to their home countries to spread the word about the project of life stories. They kept in touch with one another keen to collect and share stories of ordinary people about common and extraordinary lives. Stories unfold one after the other – a powerful recount of both past and present - to meet in the story of all stories.

Participants shared their life experiences in project meetings in Romania, Portugal, Turkey and Belgium, inspired by events related to the childhood, adolescence, life in school or in grandparents’ household, about their first job or starting a family. The stories were also stored and shared on the Internet among attendees and friends alike. (, by ( ? ref = hl).

Stories were told about early school leaving and returning back to school, about immigration, about longing for far away homes and family members, about struggling with various addictions and about winning battles with cancer, about unhappy childhoods and fulfilled lives as adults, about happy childhood and failures as grown-ups.

Various ways of presentation were used by project participants: PPT presentations, videos, written stories, interviews, dramatizations, drawings. They were triggered by means of different techniques to stimulate memory : the three-step method shared by the Belgian team (use of objects and images), the use of predefined structures, images, games to encourage oral, written, dramatized, filmed the stories of life.

Faced with their own problems, the participants came to realize that they have much in common with other Europeans, other life stories and other "universal" life experiences and they understood that everyone matters because there is plenty to learn from each other.





Motto: “My story is (his)story”.

Collectif d'AlphabétisationBRUXELLES, BELGIA

Harlette Mariama





Mon travail en GuinĂŠe My work in Guinea

par Mariama S.

Je n’ai jamais travaillé en Belgique. En Guinée, je faisais la couture. En Guinée, la couture, ça marche bien, on gagne beaucoup d’argent. J’étais dans un atelier avec 10 personnes. On travaillait pur un patron la journée et le soir pour nous. On travaillait avec des machines à coudre à pédales. Les gens arrivaient avec du tissu, un pagne…, ils regardaient dans un catalogue et ils choisissaient un modèle, par exemple de chemise, de jupe… et nous on leur donnait le prix pour le modèle. S’ils étaient d’accord, on faisait leur vêtement. Je suis restée là-bas pendant 7 ans. Je voulais ouvrir un atelier moi-même mais ça coûtait cher. Je cherchais une amie pour m’associer. Mais avant que je la trouve, je me suis mariée. Alors, j’ai déménagé dans un autre quartier. C’était loin, le transport était cher. Alors j’ai arrêté la couture, je restais avec ma belle-mère. Je suis encore restée trois ans en Guinée puis je suis venue en Belgique. Je voulais continuer la couture ici, mais ça marche pas ici comme en Guinée. Il faut un diplôme, une formation et il n’y a pas beaucoup de travail dans la couture. J’ai trouvé un endroit pour une formation mais comme je ne savais pas du tout lire et écrire, j’ai raté le test. La couture, c’était mon rêve mais maintenant, j’ai changé d’avis. Maintenant, je cherche un autre travail mais je n’ai pas encore trouvé.

I have never worked in Belgium. In Guinea, I was a dressmaker. In Guinea, sewing is well rewarding, one makes a lot of money. I was in a workshop with 10 people. We worked for a boss during the day and for us in the evening. We worked with pedal sewing machines. People came with fabric, pieces of cloth, ‌ They looked in a catalogue and chose a model of shirt or skirt, for instance, and we gave them the price of the model. If they agreed, we made the clothing of their choice. I spent 7 years there. I wanted to open a workshop myself but it was expensive. I looked for a friend with whom I could be associated. But before I found her, I got married. Then, I moved to another area. It was far from home and the journey was expensive. So, I stopped sewing and I stayed with my stepmother. I spent the next three years in Guinea then I came in Belgium. I wanted to go on with sewing here but it doesn’t work here as in Guinea. A diploma and training are required and there is little work in sewing. I found a place for training but as I could not read nor write at all, I failed the test. Sewing is my dream but now I have changed my mind. Now I am looking for another job but I haven’t found it yet.

Un mauvais souvenir de travail A bad memory

par Harlette

En 1995, j’habitais à Neufchâteau, je travaillais dans un restaurant. Je faisais la plonge. Comme le chef trouvait que je travaillais bien, il me demandait de faire tout. En haut, je travaillais pour le restaurant, je faisais les frites et, en bas, je faisais le nettoyage de la piscine. Je suis restée là 5 ans. Je travaillais de 8h à 18h avec deux jours de repos. Parfois je travaillais le week-end. Un samedi, je ne me sentais pas bien, je ne voulais pas aller travailler. Mon mari m’a dit : « Tu dois aller travailler, tu as un contrat et on n’a pas encore les papiers ». A 18h, j’avais terminé mais mon chef m’a dit : « Il n’y a personne ce soir, tu dois continuer jusque 21h ». Il m’a demandé de vider l’huile des frites pour la changer. Normalement, il note sur le tableau si l’huile est chaude ou froide. Si elle est chaude, il faut la vider dans une marmite. Si elle est froide, il faut la vider dans des bacs en plastique. Comme je ne savais pas lire, j’ai demandé au chef. Il m’a dit : « Elle est froide ». Alors, j’ai fait couler l’huile dans le bac en plastique et j’ai commencé à nettoyer la friteuse. Mais l’huile était chaude, alors le bac a gonflé et il a fondu par en-dessous. J’ai eu de l’huile partout sur les pieds, mais au début je ne sentais rien. Après le chef est venu, il s’est rendu compte de son erreur. Il m’a dit de m’assoir. Quand je me suis assise, mes pieds étaient lourds et puis la douleur est montée jusque dans le cœur. L’ambulance est venue mais ils ne pouvaient pas me transporter, ça prendrait trop de temps. Alors un hélicoptère est venu et m’a apporté à l’hôpital. Le médecin a dit : « On va faire un examen. Si tu es brûlée jusque dans les os, on doit te couper les pieds». J’ai prié toute la nuit. J’ai pensé : « Si je n’ai plus de pied, comment je vais faire avec mes enfants ? » Heureusement, les os n’étaient pas touchés. Ils m’ont fait une opération qui a duré pendant 7 heures. Ils m’ont enlevé de la peau des fesses pour mettre sur mes pieds. Mon chef n’est jamais venu me voir, il m’a juste téléphoné une fois.

Après, il m’a donné des cadeaux mais c’était trop tard. En plus, je n’ai jamais rien touché parce que mes papiers n’étaient pas en ordre, même si c’était un travail déclaré. Après, j’ai dû me cacher chez ma sœur et tout recommencer à zéro.

Harlette In 1995, I lived in Neufchâteau. I worked in a restaurant. I washed the dishes. As the boss considered that I worked well, he asked me to do everything. Upstairs, I was working for the restaurant, I was cooking the French fries, and downstairs I was in charge of cleaning the swimming pool. I spent 5 years there. I was working from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with two days off. Sometimes I worked during the weekend. On a Saturday, I didn’t feel well, I didn’t want to work. My husband told me: “You must go and work, you have a contract and we still don’t have our legal documents“. At 6 p.m., I had finished but my boss said to me: “There is nobody this evening. You have to go on working till 9 p.m.”. He asked me to empty the frying oil to change it. Normally, he writes on the blackboard if the oil is warm or cold. If it is warm, it has to be emptied in a pot. If it is cold, it has to be emptied in a plastic bin. As I could not read, I asked the boss. He said: “It is cold”. Thus I poured the oil in a plastic bin and I began to clean up the fryer. But the oil was warm and so the bin swelled and melted from below. I had oil on my feet, but at the beginning I felt nothing. Afterwards, the boss came and realized his mistake. He asked me to sit down. When I sat down, my feet were heavy and then the pain went up to my heart. The ambulance came but they could not take me to the hospital. It would take too much time. Then a helicopter came and transported me to the hospital. The doctor said: “We will now examine you. If you are burned up to the bones, we will have to cut your feet”. I prayed all night long. I thought: “If I don’t have feet anymore, how am I going to manage with my children?” Fortunately, the bones were not affected. I underwent a surgical operation that lasted for 7 hours. They removed skin from my buttocks to put on my feet.

My boss never came to see me. He just phoned me once. Afterwards, he gave me presents but it was too late. In addition, I never received compensation because my documents were not in order, although it was a regular job. Afterwards, I had to hide with at my sister’s home and to start all over again.

Un mauvais souvenir A bad memory



J’ai travaillé à VW, c’était un travail en équipe. Soit de 6h à 14h, soit de 14h à 22h, soit de 22h à 6h. Le travail, c’est un travail dur, sale, avec des produits toxiques, pas de lunettes, pas de masques ! C’est ce que l’on appelle du nettoyage industriel : on va dans les fours de peintures à 50°. On va dans les fours où passent les voitures. Touta la journée, on est dans les fours. Il faut nettoyer les tuyaux avec du tiner. Il faut aller vite, 10 minutes max. C’est un travail sale, sale, vraiment sale !!! Et voilà pourquoi j’ai des problèmes de dos : hernie discale ! Après 3 ans, ils m’ont donné mon C4. Je travaillais pour une société de nettoyage et tous les 2 ans la société changeait de nom. J’ai fait ce travail pendant 6 ans. Quand on est souvent malade, on a un C4 !

I worked for VW in shift work, either from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., or from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., or from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. It was hard and dirty work, with poisonous chemicals, without glasses or masks! It was what is called industrial cleaning: one entered the paint ovens at 50째C, there where the cars were passing. The whole day, we were in the ovens. We had to clean the pipes with thinner. We had to hurry, 10 minutes at the most. It was dirty work, really dirty work! And that is why I have back trouble: a slipped disc! After 3 years they fired me. Afterwards I worked in a cleaning company and every 2 years the company changed its name. I did that job during 6 years. When one is often ill, one is fired!

Un mauvais souvenir A bad memory

par Ahmed Az.

J’ai travaillé en France dans une fonderie à Operch. C’était mon premier travail, j’avais 16 ans, et j’ai fait cela pendant 3 ans et demi. On fabriquait les pieds que les cordonniers utilisent et on fabriquait les plaques de cheminées. Ce travail donne beaucoup de poussières, et cela fait beaucoup de bruit. L’usine a fait faillite, alors j’ai changé de boulot. On faisait tout à la main, on faisait des châssis, on mettait le noyau dans la terre au centre, on tassait à la main. Puis on retire le châssis et reste le dessin du noyau. Puis on verse de la fonte dans le châssis. Avec un seau tenu par 2 personnes avec une barre, on renverse la fonte liquide. Ca reste jusqu’au lendemain. On crachait du noir comme avec le charbon.

I worked in a smelting plant in Operch in France. It was my first job, I was sixteen years old and I have worked there for three months and an half. We created the anvils used by shoemakers and also plates for fireplaces. This work produced a lot of dust and a lot of noise. Everything was made manually: for building the frames, we put the kernel in the ground, in the centre, and we packed it down by hand. Afterwards the frame was removed and the kernel pattern was left. Then cast iron was poured in the frame. With a bucket hold by 2 persons with an iron bar, the liquid cast iron was spilled. It remained until the next day. We were spitting black substance as with coal. The plant went bankrupt. That’s why I changed jobs.

Mon premier travail en Belgique. My first job in Belgium


Quand je suis arrivée en Belgique, j’ai mis une petite annonce et j’ai trouvé du travail comme aide à domicile pour aider un couple âgé. Je m’occupais de faire à manger, de laver, de faire les courses, de tout le ménage. Le travail s’est terminé quand la dame est décédée, et c’est un mauvais souvenir. J’aimais beaucoup ce travail et les gens étaient très gentils. Moi, je parlais français avec eux, et eux entre eux ils parlaient flamands. J’ai fait ce travail pendant 5 ans. Je suis en Belgique depuis 23 ans et depuis 8 ans avec les papiers. Pendant 15 ans, je n’avais pas les papiers.

When I arrived in Belgium, I put an advertisement and I found a job as a carer to help an elderly couple. I was taking care of the food, the cleaning, the shopping, the whole housework. The job ended when the lady died, and it was a bad memory. I liked very much this job and the people were very kind. I spoke French with them and they spoke Flemish with each other. I did that job during five years. I have been in Belgium for 23 years but I only received my documents 8 years ago. During 15 years, I was an undocumented immigrant.

Ma vie et le travail My life and my work

par Abdoulaye

Je suis né au Sénégal à St Louis en 1966. J’ai commencé à travailler avec mon grand-père quand j’avais 10 ans. Il m’a appris beaucoup de choses. Nous étions 8 personnes dans l’atelier. J’étais le seul enfant. Je faisais des alliances en cuivre et en bronze. Après je les vendais. Je les polissais comme de l’or. Je travaillais comme bijoutier. Je gagnais un peu d’argent des adultes. Après j’ai été à l’école coranique. Quand je suis devenu adulte, j’ai continué à travailler comme bijoutier et je gagnais bien ma vie. J’avais un ami d’enfance qui habitait à Anvers en Belgique. J’ai reçu mon visa et quand j’avais 25 ans, je suis venu en Belgique. C’était en 1993. Après j’ai travaillé à différentes places en Belgique. J’ai de bons souvenirs du travail. Dans chaque place, il y avait une bonne ambiance. J’ai aimé tous mes emplois. Quand je travaillais, je ne voyais pas le temps passer. Travailler c’est important pour avoir une meilleure vie. Je travaille pour ma famille et pour moi.

I’m born in Sénégal, in St Louis, in 1966 m. I started to work with my grandfather when I was 10 years old. He taught me a lot of things. We were eight people in the workshop. I was the only child. I made wedding rings in copper and in bronze. Then I sold them. I polished them like gold. I was working as jeweller. I received a little bit money from the adults. I ‘have been to coranic school. When I became adult, I still have been working like jeweller and I was earning much money. I had a childhood friend who was living in Anvers. I received my visa and when I was 25, I arrived in Belgium. It was in 1993. After I’ve been working at different places in Belgium. I have good memories about work. In each workplace, there was a good atmosphere, in Belgium and in Senegal.

I like all my jobs, when I was

working, I didn’t see the time going by. Working is important to live better. I work for my family and for me.

Ma vie et le travail My life and my work

par El Moustafa

En 2007, je suis venu en Belgique. J’ai travaillé 3 mois pour décharger les camions qui livraient aux magasins. J’installais les fruits dans le magasin. C’était facile mais je ne parlais pas français. Après 3 mois, j’étais au chômage.

In 2007, I came to Belgium. I’ve been working for 3 months to unload trucks that delivered to shops and to install the fruits in the shop. It was easy but I didn’t speak French. After 3 months, I was jobless.

Mon premier travail en Belgique My first job in Belgium

par Moktar

Je travaillais pour les marocains, un mois là, un mois là. Après 2 ans j’ai réglé mes papiers et j’ai travaillé dans une fabrique de 1991 à 2002. C’était une fabrique de viande, pour faire de la viande surgelée. Je travaillais dans les congélateurs. Après le patron est parti en Italie et il est mort. Les enfants du patron ont repris, mais les gens volaient, les machines tombaient en panne… après 3 ans, la femme du patron a déclaré faillite. Je devais entrer dans les congélateurs quand la viande tombait des palettes. Il y avait 4 étages de palettes dedans. On entrait avec des clarks, on restait 10’ à – 50° et on sortait avec les moustaches toutes blanches. J’ai eu des problèmes de santé, le dos, les poumons. On restait 10’ maximum puis on sortait 5’, puis on retournait 10’… En janvier, les congélateurs étaient à – 35°. En août, c’était jusque – 50°.

I was working for Moroccans, here and there, for one month each. After two years, I settled my papers and went to work in a factory from 1991 to 2002. It was a meat factory for frozen meat. I was working in freezers. One day, the boss went to Italy and died. The children of the boss took over the business, but people were stealing, machines were breaking down… After three years, the wife of the boss went bankrupt. I had to enter the freezers when meat fell off the pallets. There were four pallet floors in it. We got in with pallet trucks, were staying for 10 minutes at -50°C and went out with white moustaches. I had health problems: back, lungs … We were staying in for a maximum of 10 minutes then out for 5 minutes, then in again for 10 minutes, … In January, the freezers were set to -35°C. In August, they were set to -50°C.

Le plus mauvais souvenir de travail My worst work memory

par Mohamed

Dans le temps quand j’avais dix ans je suis parti travailler chez quelqu’un. Je suis monté sur le cheval pour aller cueillir les olives. Mon copain a piqué le cheval et il s’est encouru. Je suis tombé du cheval sur la tête. Il y avait un clou et je suis tombé avec ma tête dessus. J’ai saigné, on a pris de la terre verte pour bloquer le sang. Après j’ai continué à travailler jusque 4 heures. Puis je suis rentré à la maison. Mon père n’a rien vu mais ma mère oui. J’ lui ai dit que je suis tombé d’un arbre. Quand j’ai grandi je leur ai raconté la vérité.

When I was ten, I went to work for someone. I got on a horse to go pick olives. My friend pricked the horse and it ran away. I fell off the horse on my head. There was a nail on the ground when my head hit it. I began to bleed. Someone took green clay to stop the bleeding. Afterwards, I returned to work until 4 o’clock. Then I went back home. My father did not note anything but my mother did. I told him I fell from a tree. When I grew older I told them the truth.

Mon premier travail en Belgique My first job in Belgium

par Farida

J’ai commencé dans une usine de vêtements. C’était bien, je faisais les étiquettes parfois je pliais les vêtements. Ca se passait bien avec les gens. Ce n’était pas difficile. J’ai travaillé pendant 5 ans, après le patron a mis les gens à la porte. Je sortais de la maison à 7h, je commençais à 8h, je prenais le métro jusqu’à Bizet puis le bus De Lijn jusqu’au Macro. Il y avait beaucoup de monde dans l’usine.

I started working in a clothes factory. It was good, I did the labels sometimes I folded clothes. It got on well with people. It was not difficult. I worked there for 5 years. One day the boss decided to sack everybody. I used to leave home at 7am, I started at 8am, I used to take the underground to Bizet and the De Lijn bus to Macro. There were many people in the plant.

Le métier de mon père My father’s job

par Mennana

Il travaillait avec un marteau dans le bâtiment, dehors c’est pas facile, il fait froid, le thé est chaud, l’hiver c’est pas facile. Il travaillait en France, à Toulouse. Maintenant il est à la maison. Moi, je suis restée au Maroc avec maman. Puis je me suis mariée au Maroc et je suis venue ici.

He worked in building with a hammer. Outside, it’s not easy. It’s cold, tea is hot. In winter, it’s not easy. He worked in France, in Toulouse. Now, he’s at home. As for me, I stayed in Morocco with mom. Then I got married in Morocco and I came here.

Le métier de mon père My father’s job

par Asseta

Mon père était boulanger jusqu’à ce qu’il tombe malade. Maintenant, il n’est plus parmi nous. Quand j’étais petite, je vivais à Abidjan en Côte d’Ivoire. Ma mère s’est mariée là-bas. Quand j’étais petite, je tombais souvent malade. Mon père faisait le pain, il le vendait aux boutiques. C’est un beau métier.

My father was a baker until he got ill. He’s no longer with us now. When I was a child, I was living in Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire. My mother got married there. When I was a child, I often got sick. My father was making bread and was selling it to shops. It is a nice job.

Mon premier travail en Belgique My first job in Belgium

par Mostafa

Un mois après mon arrivée à Bruxelles, je suis plongeur. Je suis à côté du chef et je regarde comment il fait. Il y a 29 personnes, 18 garçons en salle, c’était un grand restaurant. En 2009, j’ai arrêté le travail, le patron a déclaré faillite. Maintenant il y a un nouveau patron albanais. J’ai travaillé 3 ans à la rue des Bouchers, puis on m’a envoyé au restaurant de Kinépolis. C’était une usine, il y avait beaucoup de monde, le week-end on faisait 15.000 €-16.000 € par jour. Parfois on faisait la file dans les escaliers. Un jour de fin d’année on a fait 30.000 €, toute la marchandise était partie. Après 25 ans de travail, tu ne trouves pas de travail, ils engagent pas sans diplôme.

One month after my arrival in Brussels, I washed dishes. I was next to my chef and I was watching how he was working. There were 29 people, 18 waiters. It was a big restaurant. In 2009, I stopped working. The restaurant went bankrupt. Now there is a new Albanese chef. After working for 3 years in Rue des Bouchers, I was sent to the Kinepolis restaurant. It was a factory. There were lots of people. At weekends they made 15,000 € - 16,000 € a day. Sometimes we had to queue in the stairs. Once, on the last day of the year we made 30,000 €. All the goods were gone. After 25 years of work, you do not find another job. They don’t hire you without a diploma.

Un mauvais souvenir A bad memory

par Goy

Je travaillais au repassage avec une grande machine, puis avec une petite machine. J’ai travaillé pendant 20 ans. C’était à Overijse dans un couvent. Je faisais 3 jours de repassage, puis je faisais 2 jours de nettoyage. Il y avait beaucoup de monde qui travaillait là-bas. Après le couvent a fermé. J’ai commencé en 1983 avec une heure par jour de cours de flamand dans le couvent. J’habitais tout près, je marchais 20 minutes à pied. Je repassais très bien, les chemises, tout… Les sœurs étaient très gentilles, parfois je priais avec elle aussi. Comme je travaillais bien, les sœurs m’ont donné un diplôme de repassage.

I worked with a big ironing machine and then with a small one. I have worked for 20 years. It was in Overijse in a convent. 3 days of ironing, then 2 days of cleaning. Many people worked there. Afterwards the convent closed down. I began learning Flemish in the convent in 1983 for one hour per day. I lived nearby. I had a 20-minute walk. I ironed very well, shirts, ‌, everything. The sisters were very kind. Sometimes I also prayed with them. As I did well, the sisters gave me an ironing diploma.

Un bon souvenir de travail A good work memory

par Abdelkader

J’ai travaillé chez les Flamands pour les chicons. Je travaillais par terre. Je faisais un grand trou avec les mains, je mettais des pots avec des chicons. On travaillait à l’intérieur. Il y avait des installations avec de l’eau, des tuyaux, de l’électricité. Après on coupait les chicons à la main. Quand on les mettait dans les sacs en plastique, on coupait le bout avec un couteau. Le problème, on travaillait toujours à genoux, on avançait toujours à genoux entre les rangées de chicons. C’était en noir, je travaillais là-bas, je mangeais là-bas, je dormais là-bas. Je commençais à 7h du matin et je terminais à 18h. Quand je n’étais pas à genoux, je travaillais à l’emballage. Mais le salaire était bien. Je suis resté moins qu’un an, c’était trop difficile, toujours sur les genoux, j’ai arrêté, je ne voulais pas devenir handicapé ! Jamais je n’oublierai ce travail avec les chicons. Après j’ai travaillé 5 ans au marché matinal, à l’intérieur, dehors… c’était beaucoup mieux !

I worked with Flemings in the production of chicory. I worked on the ground. I dug big holes with my hands and I put chicory pots in them. We worked indoors. There were water facilities, pipes, electricity. Afterwards, we were cutting the chicory by hand. When putting them in plastic bags, we were cutting the heads with a knife. The problem was that we were always on our knees, we moved forward all the time on the knees between the chicory rows. It was an undeclared work. I worked there, I ate there and I slept there. I began at 7 a.m. and finished at 6 p.m.. When I was not on my knees, I worked on the packaging. But the salary was good. I stayed there for less than a year. It was too difficult, always kneeling. I stopped because I did not want to become disabled! I will never forget that work with chicory. Afterwards, I worked during 5 years at the morning market, indoors, outside, it was much better!

Le travail de mon père. My father’s job.

par Karima

Mon père est parti en France à l’âge de 18 ans. Il est parti juste après ma naissance, quand j’avais 4 mois. Il habitait à Marseille et il a travaillé dans le bâtiment. Il était maçon. Mon père n’a pas su nous faire venir en France à cause des papiers alors je suis restée au Maroc. Il revenait au Maroc pour les vacances. Maintenant il a arrêté de travailler à cause de sa santé. Maintenant, je peux aller le voir en France.

My father went to France at 18 years old. He left just after my birth, when I was 4 months. He lived in Marseille where he worked in building. He was a bricklayer. My father could not bring us to France because of the documents, so I stayed in Morocco. He came back to Morocco for the holidays. Now he has stopped working because of his health. Now I can go and see him in France.

Mon premier travail en Belgique My first job in Belgium

par Mariama

Quand je suis arrivée en Belgique, j’ai fait les cours pour apprendre à lire et à écrire pendant 3 ans. Après, j’ai arrêté, j’ai fait une formation de nettoyage. Après, j’ai travaillé pendant 2 ans. Je faisais le nettoyage parfois dans des bureaux, parfois dans les maisons des gens, parfois dans des hôtels. Parfois c’était un peu difficile avec les gens, ils disaient : « Tu dois faire ça, tu ne dois pas faire ça… ! » Le patron trouvait que je ne travaillais pas assez vite et il m’a donné mon C4. Et après, je suis retournée au Collectif Alpha.

When I arrived in Belgium, I took courses during 3 years to learn to read and write. Afterwards I stopped and I took training courses in cleaning. Afterwards I worked during 2 years. I did sometimes office cleaning, sometimes home cleaning and sometimes hotel cleaning. Sometimes it was a bit difficult with people. They said: “You must do this, you may not do that, …!”. The boss considered that I did not work fast enough and he fired me. Afterwards, I went back to the Collectif Alpha.

Mon premier travail en Belgique My first job in Belgium

par Hossein

Quand j’étais au Maroc, je travaillais dans la boucherie. Je suis venu en Belgique en 2003. J’ai travaillé dans une maison de repos avec des vieux. C’était à Nivelles. Je travaillais dans le restaurant de la maison de repos. Je servais les repas, je mettais les plateaux dans les charrettes, je faisais la plonge après les repas. J’ai travaillé un an et demi. J’aimais bien ce travail. Ce n’était pas un travail difficile. Je commençais à 7h du matin et je terminais à 15h30. C’était un contrat à durée déterminée, c’était fini après un an.

When I was in Morocco, I worked in a butcher’s shop. I came to Belgium in 2003. I worked in a rest home for elderly people. It was in Nivelles. I worked in the rest home restaurant. I served meals, I put trays on carts and I washed the dishes after the meals. I have worked there for one and a half year. I liked this job. It was not a hard work. I started at 7 a.m. and finished at 3:30 p.m. It was a fixed-term contract. It was finished after a year.

Un mauvais souvenir de travail A bad work memory

par Khadjou

En 2003, j’ai travaillé dans un restaurant pendant 9 mois. Après, mon fils est tombé malade et j’ai arrêté. Je n’ai plus travaillé jusqu’en 2009. J’ai rencontré une copine qui m’a fait entrer dans une société de nettoyage de bureaux. Le patron ne voulait pas me déclarer, je travaillais en noir. Il me disait toujours : « Il faut attendre ci…, attendre ça… apporte une photocopie de ci, de ça… » Après un an et demi, ils m’ont dit : « On ne va pas te déclarer mais tu peux continuer en noir, tu gagneras plus d’argent ». On ne peut pas croire ça, comme des grandes sociétés font travailler les gens en noir ! Je travaillais très vite et quand j’avais fini, je prenais un petit café. C’était une bonne équipe, j’ai de très bons souvenirs avec mes collègues. Un jour j’ai remplacé une femme à l’aéroport de Charleroi et je remplaçais une autre dans un grand laboratoire à l’Atomium. Je commençais à l’Atomium à 6h jusque 10h. A midi, je partais avec deux femmes à Charleroi et on travaillait jusque 21h ! Après, j’ai eu une place fixe à Diegem de 17h30 à 20h30, toujours en noir. Un jour je parle dans le bus avec une copine qui nettoyait chez HP à Diegem aussi. Elle me dit qu’elle a eu un contrôle chez HP. Avec une collègue, on a appelé le chef d’équipe pour le prévenir et il m’a dit : « Rentrez chez vous jusque lundi et lundi on vous fera les papiers ». Mais le lundi, on m’a dit que j’avais cassé un aspirateur et qu’on ne pouvait pas me garder. J’ai dit à la personne : « Espèce de sale menteur, j’ai jamais cassé l’aspirateur ! » Il m’a répondu : « Je ne vais pas te mentir, je veux donner ta place à mon fils ». Je l’ai insulté, je lui ai lancé une chaise à la figure et je suis partie. Un an après, c’est lui qui a été mis à la porte, il y avait une justice. Il travaillait en noir en plus de son travail à la Stib !

In 2003, I worked for 9 months in a restaurant. Afterwards, my son got ill and I stopped working. I had not worked until 2009. I met a girlfriend who brought me into an office cleaning company. The boss did not want to declare me; I worked on the black market. He always said to me: “You must wait for this, wait for that, bring a copy of this, of that, …”. After a year and a half, they told me : “We are not going to declare you but you may go on working unofficially. You will earn more money”. One cannot believe that, how big companies get people doing illicit work! I worked very fast and when I had finished, I had a coffee. It was a good team, I have very good memories of my colleagues. One day, I replaced a woman at the Charleroi Airport and I was already replacing another woman in a big laboratory at the Atomium. I started at the Atomium at 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. At noon, I went with two women to Charleroi and we worked until 9 p.m. ! Afterwards I had a permanent post in Diegem, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., still undeclared. One day in the bus I spoke with a girlfriend who did the cleaning at HP, also in Diegem. She said they had been inspected at HP. With a colleague, we called the team leader to warn him and he told me: “Please go home until Monday and on Monday we will prepare the contract”. But on that day, I was told that I broke a vacuum cleaner and that they could not keep me. I said to him: “You are a liar, I have never broken the vacuum cleaner!” He answered to me: “I will not lie to you, I want to give your post to my son”. I insulted him, I threw a chair at his face and I left. One year after, it was him who was fired. There was a justice. He worked in the black market in addition to his work at the Stib !

Mon premier travail en Belgique My first job in Belgium

par Abdelilah

Mon 1er travail en Belgique était dans un garage, j’ai travaillé 2 ans. Avant c’était facile de trouver du travail, on passait dans la rue et le patron disait « viens travailler » , c’était il y a 20 ans. Maintenant, on dit « dégage ». Après je suis parti à Vilvorde dans une carrosserie pour camions, je faisais tout : réparer, peindre, souder. Trois personnes travaillaient avec moi. Maintenant ils demandent des diplômes, maintenant on prépare la peinture avec l’ordinateur. Puis la société de camions a fait faillite, j’ai alors trouvé travail chez un marocain, c’était la réparation des camionnettes, encore faillite. Maintenant je ne trouve plus. Beaucoup de garages travaillent en noir, mais il y a maintenant beaucoup de contrôle.

My first job in Belgium was in a garage, I worked there for 2 years. Before this, it had been easy to find work, one passed by in the street and a boss would say "come and work", but that was 20 years ago. Nowadays we call this to be "released". After that I went to Vilvoorde in a truck, I did everything: repair, paint, weld. There were three people working with me. Now they ask for diplomas. I am now painting with the computer. Then the trucks company went bankrupt, I then found a job with a Moroccan employer, it was repairing trucks again and it went bankrupt once again. Now I can not find anything. Many garages work in the black market, but there is a lot of control now.

Mon premier travail en Belgique My first job in Belgium

par Rhama

C’est à la maison. Préparer à manger, laver les vêtements, laver la vaisselle. J’ai commencé par la vaisselle. La bassine était déposée sur un petit tabouret.

My first job was at home. I had to cook, wash clothes and do the washing up. I used to start with the dish washing. The basin was on top of a small toll.

Un souvenir de travail A work memory

par Mohamed B I

En 1990, j’étais au Maroc, à Tanger. J’ai travaillé dans le bâtiment, dans une usine de fabrication de tapis. Le patron de l’usine était Syrien Une fois, on a reçu une machine pour imprimer les tissus. Elle était tellement grande qu’on a du casser les murs pour la faire rentrer. C’était une très grande usine.

In 1990 I was in Tanger, Marroco. I used to work on the floor of a carpet factory. The boss of this factory was Syrian. Once, we got a new machine to print textiles. It was so enormous, this machine, that we had to knock down some walls to be able to place it inside. It was a very big factory.

Mon premier travail en Belgique My first job in Belgium

par Mimount

C’était très mauvais. Je travaillais dans le nettoyage et un jour mon patron m’a téléphoné pour aller nettoyer un bureau. J’ai trouvé les toilettes bouchées. Elles ont débordé, cela coulait jusqu’à la cuisine. J’ai mis des gants, j’ai tout nettoyé, après je suis rentrée à la maison. Pendant 3 jours je n’ai pas mangé de pain. Une autre fois, mon patron m’a téléphoné pour que je retourne nettoyer là-bas. J’ai dit non.

It was terrible. I worked as a cleaner and one day my boss phoned me and asked me to go and clean an office. I found the toilets completely clogged and overflowing and the mess went all the way to the kitchen, I put on my gloves, cleaned up the whole mess and finally got back home. For three hours I had nothing to eat, not even some bread. On another occasion, my boss phoned and asked me to go again to clean up this place. I said no.

Un bon souvenir A good memory

par Abderrhamane

Dans les années 90, je travaillais au Maroc. Je vendais des fruits, des légumes. Mon père avait une alimentation générale. Comme j’avais un bon travail, un bon salaire, je dormais bien.

In the 90´s I worked in Marroco. I sold fruit and vegetables. My father had a general store. As I had a good job and a good salary, I slept just fine.

Mon premier travail c’Êtait la danse. My first job was dancing

par Mane Sane

Je commençais ma journée vers 15h et je terminais vers 19h, 2 jours par semaine. Je gagnais 700 €. Je donnais 600 € à ma maman et je gardais 100 € pour moi. A chaque fête, chaque spectacle, chaque festival, il y avait un groupe de danseurs. Et moi, je faisais partie d’un de ces groupes de danseurs. J’étais la plus jeune, les autres étaient des adultes. Entre mes 14 et mes 17 ans, j’ai donné aussi des cours de danse.

I used to begin my shift at 3 p.m. and finished at 7 p.m. twice a week. I earned 700 euros. I used to give my mother 600 euros and kept 100 euros for myself. At each party, each show, each festival, there was a troupe of dancers present. I was part of this troupe of dancers. I was the youngest member, all the other dancers were adults. Between the age of fourteen and seventeen, I also was able to give courses in dancing.

Mon travail My work

par Jamal

En 1990, je travaillais avec mon père comme jardinier. On plantait beaucoup de choses. Les oiseaux venaient manger dans le potager.

In 1990, I worked alonside my father as a gardener. We planted lots of different things. The birds used to fly by and peck the fruits and vegetables.

Le travail de mon père. My father’s job.

par Saïda

Il construit les maisons et il fait les finitions. On a grandi comme ça, à chaque fois il achetait une terre, construisait la maison, faisait les finitions. On vivait dedans, je l’aidais pour les finitions. Chaque fois que tout était fini on déménageait. Maintenant, je sais carreler. A ma maison, ici, je sais carreler. Si j’avais étudié, j’aurais aimé être architecte.

My father built houses and was in charge of the finishings. We grew up this way, everytime he bought some land he would build a new house, and see to all the necessary finishings. Then, it all ended and we’d move house. I am now a tile layer. Here, where I live, this is what I do. Had I been able to go to school I would have loved to be an architect.

Mon premier travail My first job

par Hafida

Mon premier travail c’était chez des Italiens. J’avais presque 17 ans, c’était en 1986 et j’y suis restée 10 ans. C’était un restaurant italien. J’aidais le cuisinier à éplucher les légumes, préparer les brochettes, préparer les assiettes. Des cuisses de grenouilles aussi, je ne savais pas ce que c’était, je croyais que c’était du poisson congelé. Il y avait 3 personnes en cuisine. Je ne savais pas parler français. Quand je devais aller quelque chose dans la chambre froide, le chef prenait un petit morceau et il me montrait. C’était à Bruxelles, près de la Place Sainte Catherine. C’était une ambiance familiale, j’avais les clés. Ils faisaient des cadeaux.

My first job was working with Italians. I was just 17, it was 1986 and I stayed there for ten years. It was an Italian Restaurant. Iused to help cook the vegetables, prepare brouchettes,and lay the tables. I also helped with the cuisses de grenouilles. I had no idea what i twas, at first I thought i twas some kind of frozen fish ! There were three people in the kitchen. I didn’t speak French. When I needed something from the freezer, the chef held a morcel of food so that I could see it. This was in Brussels near Saint Catherine Place. It was a friendly family atmosphere and I had the keys. They gave us presents.

Mon premier travail en Belgique My first job in Belgium

par Mohamed

J’étais compositeur dans une imprimerie dans la ville de Surat en Inde. Ce métier a presque disparu. On était en relation avec des écrivains. On écrivait le journal, il y avait un journal tous les mois. Les gens étaient éduqués. C’est un métier vraiment intéressant : on lisait le journal avant tout le monde. On imprimait le journal en gujarati et parfois en hindi.

I was a typesetter in a printer’s in the village of Surat in India. This job is almost non existent nowadays. We had direct contact with the writers. We wrote the newspaper, i twas a monthly issue. Everybody was well leanrt. It really was a very interesting job : we were able to read the newspaper before everybody else. We printed the newspaper in Gujarati and sometimes in Hindi.

Mon premier travail My first job

par Philippe

Menuisier, c’est un travail manuel. Quand j’avais 19 ans, j’ai fait beaucoup de choses, des fenêtres, de l’artisanat. C’était un bon travail, j’aimais faire ce travail. La machine à bois c’est pour scier les bois, on fait des planches droites. Je faisais des tables et des chaises pour le réfectoire pour les curés. J’aimais bien travailler le bois. Les machines n’avaient pas de protection pour les doigts.

Being a carperter is a manual job. When I was 19 years old I did many things, windows, handycrafts‌. It was a good job, I used to enjoy doing it. The wood slicing machine to cut wood turned it into even planks. I made tables and chairs for the priests. I loved working with wood. The machines did not have any protection to avoid fingers being cut.

Mon premier travail c’Êtait jardinier My first job was as a gardener

par Omar.

J’ai fait ça avec mon père en Iraq. Ici c’était jardinier pour la ville de Bruxelles au stade Roi Beaudouin. Tailler à 2 personnes, souffler les feuilles tout seul. Planter les arbres pour remplacer les arbres morts. Ca a duré 1 an. J’aimais bien. Au début c’était difficile, il y a toujours beaucoup de bruit à cause des machines. Souvent les gens n’aiment pas ce travail parce que c’est salissant et c’est dehors par tous les temps.

I used to work alongside my father in Iraq. Here I was a gardener at the at the city of Brussells and the Roi Beaudouin Stadium. When it was necessary to trim the branches two people were required, to blow away the leaves only one person was needed. I had to plant new trees and replace the ones that had died. This lasted one year, I loved it. In the beginning i twas quite hard there was always a lot of noise because of the machines. Because of this, people did not like this kind of work since it was a messy job and it had to be done in all weathers.

Un bon souvenir de travail A good memory of work

par Malika

J’ai travaillé il y a 25 ans dans un petit restaurant avec une famille grecque, pendant 8 ans. C’était en famille, à la cuisine. C’était magnifique. J’ai appris à cuisiner grec. Malheureusement la femme est décédée à l’âge de 47 ans, c’était une amie. J’ai arrêté à cause des enfants. C’était le plaisir d’aller travailler.

Twenty five years ago I worked in a small restaurant with a Greek family, for eight years. The work in the kicthen was a family affair. It was splendid. I learnt how to cook Greek food. Sadly the lady died at the age of 47, and by then she was a friend. I had to stop because of the children. It was a pleasure to work there.

Un mauvais souvenir de travail A bad work memory

par Samba

Il y avait une palette, je l’ai prise avec le transpalette. Les roues n’étaient pas bonnes. La palette était remplie de marchandises. En tirant, elle est tombée sur mon pied. Il était l’heure de fermeture et il n’y avait plus personne dans le secteur. Quelqu’un est passé par là et m’a entendu crier. Il est venu m’aider, sinon mon pied aurait cassé, j’ai eu de la chance. C’était 10 minutes avant la fin de la journée de travail, ils ont appelé l’ambulance et ils m’ont amené à l’hôpital Brugmann. Je suis resté plusieurs jours sans travailler.

There was a wooden palett which I grabbed with the palett transporter. The wheels were not very safe. The palett was filled with goods, far too much . It ended up falling on top of my foot. It was closing time and no one was around at that time. Then, someone happened to pass and heard my cries of pain. He came to the rescue and I was fortunate not to have broken my foot. This happened ten minutes before the end of the shift. An ambulance was summoned and then they took me to Brugmann Hospital. I was many days without being able to go back to work.

Le travail en 1990 The work in 1990

par Abdel

Mon premier travail c’était en 1990 au Maroc. Je travaillais dans une usine de couture à Tanger, j’étais magasinier. C’était une usine française de vêtements qui fabriquait des chemises, des pantalons et plein de choses. C’était un bon travail. C’était comme la famille, il n’y avait pas de difficultés de langue, l’ambiance était familiale.

My first job was in Morrocco in 1990. I worked at a clothes making factory in Tanger and I was a storekeeper. It was a French clothes factory that made shirts, trousers and many other items. It was a good job. We were like a family. There were no language difficulties and the atmosphere was friendly.

Le mĂŠtier de mes rĂŞves My dream job

par Suzanne

J’ai toujours rêvé d’être coiffeuse. Je suis allée à l’école d coiffure, mais comme je ne savais pas lire ni écrire, c’était difficile pour moi. Alors, je n’ai rien appris parce que je n’arrivais pas à suivre les cours avec les autres.

I have always wanted to be a hairdresser. I went to a hairdressing school, however I didn’t know how to read which made matters very hard for me. Therefore I wasn’t able to learn anything because I wasn’t able to conclude the course like the rest.

Le mĂŠtier de mes rĂŞves My dream job

par Viviane

Je rêvais d’être coiffeuse. La coiffure est un métier que j’aime bien. Coiffer, c’est comme de l’art. J’aime bien coiffer les femmes et les enfants

I wanted to be a hairdresser. Hairdressing was an activity that I really loved. Hairdressing is like an art. I love being a hairdresser to women and children.

Un mauvais souvenir A bad memory

par Ali

J’étais occupé à souder des barres de fer, des flammes ont atteint mes yeux. On a été tout de suite à l’hôpital, c’était à Louvain. C’est difficile de travailler avec des lunettes, il y a de la buée et tu ne vois rien. J’ai enlevé les lunettes. Le patron était un peu spécial. 2 jours après l’accident il m’a appelé pour aller travailler. Je suis parti travailler avec le pansement sur l’œil 3 jours après l’accident. Ce n’était pas reconnu comme accident de travail. La cicatrice est toujours là et ma vue n’est plus pareille.

I was in charge of welding iron bars and the sparks of the flames injured my eyes. I was taken immediatly taken to Hospital in Louvain. It is very hard to do this job while using glasses because the steam makes visibility impossible. I took off the glasses. The boss was a strange type of person. Two days after the accident he ordered me back to work and so I was back three days after the accident. To this day, it has never been recognised as a work related accident. The scar is still here and my eyesight has never been the same.

C’était à la campagne dans les années 1948, l’école n’était pas

Un bon souvenir A good memory

nécessaire, j’ai commencé à travailler à 13 ans. Mes parents avaient 15 enfants, j’étais la 9e. Maman m’avait trouvé un travail à 120km de Comines, à Bruxelles, comme servante, logée et nourrie. J’avais une chambre pour moi toute seule, des repas chauds, ma chambre était chauffée. Je rentrais une fois par mois mais j’avais hâte de retourner travailler. J’avais un lit pour moi toute seule. A la maison on dormait à 6 dans un lit et les petits faisaient pipi au lit. On travaillait dans les champs de tabac avec papa, j’aimais mieux travailler avec Madame. J’avais des beaux habits. Madame était parfois méchante parce que je parlais mal le français, je pleurais souvent pour ça. Je parlais le « chti ». On parle encore comme ça à Comines. Ils étaient radins : pour cirer les chaussures une fois c’était avec du par Gaby cirage, l’autre fois il fallait cracher. J’étais heureuse là.

It was in 1948. School was not considered necessary and so I started to work at the age of 13. My parents had 15 children and I was the 9th. My mother found me some work 120 Km from Comines in Brussells as a maid with food and shelter included. I had my own bedroom, hot meals, and my room was heated. I went home once a month but I loved being able to return to work. I had a room to myself. Back home we would be six in one bed and the youngest would wet the bed. We’d work with our father in the tobacco fields, this was far worse than working at « Madame ». I had some nice clothes. Madame was nasty sometimes because I didn’t speak French properly, I ended up crying sometimes because of this, the « chti » in my accent. This is the way we speak in Comines. They were tight with their money : to get shoes polished sometimes they used wax and other times they used spit . I was happy there.

Mon premier travail My first job

par Mouktar

J’étais cireur de chaussures en Guinée. J’avais un petit sac avec les boîtes de cirage et un morceau de bois pour poser le pied. Je ne gagnais pas assez alors j’allais chercher la suie où on brûlait les pneus : ça marche bien ! J’étais le meilleur cireur de mon village. Je n’achetais plus de cirage. J’avais 12 ans et j’ai fait ça pendant 3 ans. A 15 ans, j’ai voulu aller à l’aventure. J’ai vendu des cigarettes et des biscuits à la gare en Côte d’ivoire. J’étais un enfant difficile, je cherchais toujours quelque chose à faire.

I was a shoe-shiner in GuinÊe. I had a small bag with the necessary tools and a wooden fixture to serve as a foot stand. I didn’t earn all that much so I searched and found a place were tyres were burnt and collected the soot. It went well.I was the best shoeshinner in my village and I never needed to buy any wax. I was 12 years old and I worked at this for 3 years. At 15, I decided to break free and seek adventure ! I sold cigarettes and biscuits in the Ivory Coast. I was a difficult child, I was constantly looking for something to do.

Le mĂŠtier de rĂŞve The dream job

par Najia

Quand j’étais petite, je rêvais toujours de devenir un jour infirmière. Mais je n’ai pas eu de chance, ma mère est morte et mon rêve est devenu impossible. C’était difficile de travailler à la maison et en même temps aller à l’école. J’ai fini par quitter l’école, c’est la plus grave erreur de ma vie. J’ai vraiment regretté, c’est le plus mauvais souvenir de ma vie.

When I was little I used to dream of someday becoming a nurse. But I was not lucky enough, my mother died and my dream became impossible to achieve. It was difficult to work at home and go to school as well. I ended up by having to quit school and this was the biggest mistake of my life. I truly regret havind done this, and it is the worst memory of my life.

Souvenir de mon premier travail en Belgique Memory of my first job in Belgium

par Abdeslam

Je me rappelle quand je travaillais à la mine. J’ai conduit une petite locomotive et quand elle déraillait, ce n’était pas facile pour la remettre sur ses rails. Un jour, j’étais tout seul, c’était très lourd pour la remettre sur ses rails, alors je me suis mis à pleurer. Je me suis demandé pourquoi j’avais quitté le Maroc. Là-bas, j’étais coiffeur, c’était un travail facile, mais je n’avais pas de vacances, ni de congés. Je commençais à 7h du matin jusqu’à 23h, toute la semaine, le dimanche et les jours fériés aussi. C’était beaucoup moins dangereux que le travail dans la mine. La mine, c’était un travail dur et dangereux. Alors, j’ai changé de travail. Depuis ce temps là, je pense que j’ai bien fait de quitter ce travail.

I remember when I worked in the mine. I drove a small locomotive and when it derrailed it wasn’t easy to put it back on the tracks again. One day, I was alone and the the locomotive was just too heavy for me to put it back on it’s tracks, so I broke down and cried. I asked myself why did I ever leave Morrocco. There I was a barbar, i twas an easy job, but I never had any holidays. I used to start at 7 in the morning and work until 11 pm, every day of every week, on Sundays and also on national holidays, It was far less dangerous than working in a mine. Mining is a very hard and dangerous job. So, I changed to another job, Ever since, I have always thought that I was right in leaving that job.

Mon premier travail en Belgique My first job in Belgium

par Boubacar

Mon premier travail c’est les poires. J’avais un ami qui travaillait à Saint-Trond. Il a demandé pour que je puisse travailler. Arrivé là-bas, j’ai mis une salopette et des bottes. Les bottes ne m’allaient pas. On commence à cueillir les poires, je n’avais pas l’habitude, j’avais très froid. Je voulais rentrer à Bruxelles A midi, quand on a fait la pause j’ai demandé d’autres chaussures. J’ai travaillé comme ça 3 semaines puis je suis allé à Malines dans les tomates. J’ai travaillé là-bas pendant 4 ans. Nous étions plus de soixante à travailler là. Moi-même j’y ai fait rentrer des amis. Après, il a fait une faillite, mais nous on savait que ce n’était pas vrai parce qu’il avait de plus en plus de serres.

My first job was pear picking. I had a friend who worked in Saint-Trond. He asked to see if i twas possible for me to work there too. Once I got there I put on some overalls and boots. Unfortunately, the boots did not fit my shoe size. We began pear picking and as I was not used to this type of work I felt terribly cold. I wanted to return to Brussels. At noon when it was time for our break I asked for some new boots. I worked like this for the next three weeks. After that I went to Malins to pick tomatoes. I worked there for four years. There were sixty of us working there. I myself managed to help friends get work there too. Then, there was a so-called bankrupcy issue but we kknew this was not true since they were buiding more and more greenhouses.

Un bon souvenir de travail A good work memory

par Alia

Avant, j’ai fait la couture, robe, jupe, nappes avec des dessins, de la broderie. J’ai fait beaucoup de broderies que je vendais. Je les donnais à quelqu’un qui les vendait.

I used to work as a seam-stress and I made patterned towels, skirts, dresses and embroidery. I created many embroidered works which I was then able to sell. I would give them to someone for them to sell.

Le plus mauvais souvenir de travail My worst work memory

par Radi

Un jour j’étais en train de cimenter un mur, j’étais sur l’échafaudage et je suis descendu pour chercher une règle. J’ai mis le pied sur une planche avec un clou. Il a transpercé ma chaussure. C’était comme une piqure de serpent. Le clou était rouillé. J’ai fait le médecin moi-même. J’ai retiré le clou puis j’ai tapé sur mon pied avec une planche propre pour faire sortir les « microbes ». Le lendemain matin mon pied n’était pas gonflé.

One day I was in the middle of cementing a wall, I was on top of the scaffolding and I was going down to pick up a ruller. I put my foot on top of a plank that had a nail exposed and it tore through my shoe. It felt like I’d just been bitten by a snake. The nail was rusty. I had to look after my foot on my own. I removed the nail from my foot and I bandged myself with some cloth to prevent any microbes causing further damage. The day after, my foot was no longer swollen.

Mon premier travail My first job

par A誰ssatou

C’était avec les draps de lit. J’ai fait de la broderie en Guinée pendant deux ans. Je travaillais à la maison. Je faisais cela pour la maison. J’aimais beaucoup les fleurs.

My first job was working with bed sheets. I use to do embroidery work in Guinée for two years. I would work at home. I made these works for my home. I loved flowers.

Ma vie et le travail My life and the work

par Abdennabi

Je m’apelle Abdennabi, mon premier travail était dans un garage pour réparer les pneus, changer les pneus. Je travaillais avec une machine, une machine comme la voiture avec trois vitesses et un embrayage, des freins. Pour tourner à gauche, à droite au milieu pour ouvrir et fermer la jante. Pour les grands pneus des remorques et des tracteurs, on travaille à la main avec un marteau et …… Quand le pneu est lisse, on refait le dessin comme à l’origine. J’ai commencé à travailler à l’âge de 13 ans. Je gagnais beaucoup en pourboire 50 dirhams, 80 dirhams par jour, 200 dirhams la semaine. C’était surtout avec les pourboires que je gagnais beaucoup. J’ai travaillé pendant trois ans, j’ai quitté pour apprendre un autre métier, pour gagner de l’argent. Après, j’ai changé de métier et j’ai travaillé dans la carrosserie.

My name is Abdennabi, my fist job was in a garage, repairing tires, changing tires. I used to work with a machine, a machine like a car, with 3 gears, a clutch and brakes. To turn left, right, to go straight, to open and close the rim. For the big tires of lorries and tractors, we used to work manually with a hammer. When the tire is unruffled, we remake the drawing as it was first. I started to work at the age of 13. I earned a lot with the tips, 50 dirham, 80 dirham a day, 200 dirham a week. It was mainly with the tips that I earned a lot. I worked for 3 years, I left to learn another job, to earn money. Afterwards I changed jobs and worked in the bodywork repairs.

Le travail de mon père My father’s job

par Katarina

Mon père était commerçant. Il a quitté Chypre pour aller au Congo. Il vendait de la farine de maïs, du ciment, des vélos, du poisson. Il a ouvert un autre magasin pour vendre du pain. Il avait une ferme où il cultivait le maïs. Il a ouvert une école pour les enfants de s travailleurs. Il a été pillé 8 fois. Il a vécu 36 ans là-bas. On l’appelait « le monsieur qui vend des vélos ». On a quitté le Congo en 1997. Il vit à Chypre maintenant. Je suis arrivée à Chypre à 19 ans. Je ne parlais pas leur langue, le grec. J’étais perdue. Après 6 mois, j’ai appris le grec et j’ai trouvé un travail.

My father’s job : he was a tradesman. He left Cyprus to go to Congo He was selling flour, corn, concrete, bikes, fish. He has opened another store to sell bread. He had a farm where he was cultivating corn. He opened a school for the children of the workers. He has been plundered eight times. He lived there for thirty six years. People called him “the man who sells bikes” We left Congo in 1997, he lives in Cyprus now. I arrived in Cyprus when I was 19 years old. I couldn’t speak their language, Greek. I was lost. After 6 months, I’ve learned Greek and I found a job.

Le travail de mon père My father’s job

par Mimouna

Je vais vous raconter une histoire vraie, un peu de mon père, un peu de moi. Mon père a commencé à travailler en Belgique en 1962 avec un contrat pour aller travailler à la mine, au charbonnage. Deux ans plus tard, il est revenu au Maroc pour nous emmener en Belgique et rester avec lui. Il nous a fait les papiers, les passeports et on est venu ici avec mon papa. Il travaillait dans le charbonnage. Nous sommes arrivés en 1964 c’était à Herve, près de Liège. Mon père travaillait tous les jours la nuit. Avant de partir au travail, il nous embrassait tous et nous on avait très peur qu’il ne revienne pas. Si il revenait plus tard que l’habitude, nous on commençait à se tracasser ‘peut être est-il arrivé quelque chose’. A cette époque, plusieurs collègues de mon père sont morts. Il est resté là dans le charbonnage 30 ans. Après il a choisi un autre travail. Avant de travailler à la mine, il travaillait dans le métro à Bruxelles, mais il n’y est pas resté longtemps. Il préférait travailler au charbonnage parce qu’il avait un contrat pour aller travailler dans les charbonnages. Il a travaillé dans les charbonnages pendant 30 ans et nous étions encore jeunes. Moi, quand je suis arrivée en Belgique, le directeur de l’école est venu chez nous avec le curé pour nous souhaiter la bienvenue et nous demander s’il nous manquait rien. Le directeur est aussi venu nous dire qu’il fallait aller à l’école, tous les enfants. Moi, j’ai été quelques jours à l’école, mais comme les enfants se moquaient de moi, j’ai arrêté. Je ne voulais pas y aller. Ils se moquaient de moi parce que je ne parlais pas français. Le directeur venait souvent chez nous parce que si il nous manquait quelque chose, c’est lui qui nous l’amenait ; le lait, les couvertures, la cuisinière à charbon. Ca c’est lui qui nous amené ça à la maison. Parfois, il venait prendre le thé, parfois il venait manger le couscous. On était bien. On habitait à la campagne, c’était un petit village à Herve.

I will tell you a true story, a bit about my father, a bit about me. My father started to work in Belgium in 1962, with a contract to work in the mines, in the coalmining. Two years later, he came back to Morocco to take us to Belgium to stay with him. He dealt with the documents, the passports and we came here with my dad. He was working in the coal mines. We arrived in 1964. It was in Herve, near Liège. My father worked everyday at night. Before leaving, he kissed us all. We were very afraid that he would not come back. If he came back later than usual, we began to worry “maybe something has happened”. At that time, several of his workmates died. He spent 30 years in the coalmining. Afterwards he chose another job. Before working in the mine, he had a job in the metro of Brussels, but he did not stay for a long time. He preferred working in the coal mines because he had a contract to work there. He worked in the coalmining during 30 years and we were still young. When I arrived in Belgium, the school principal came to our home with a vicar to wish us welcome and to ensure that we missed nothing. The principal also came to say that school was obligatory, for all children. I went to school for some days but as children were laughing at me, I stopped. I did not want to go. They laughed at me because I did not speak French. The principal came often to our home because, if we were lacking something, it was him who brought it to us: milk, blankets, coal-fired cooker. That’s him who brought all that to our home. Sometimes he came for tea, sometimes to eat couscous. We were comfortable. We were living in the country, in a small village in Herve.

Motto: “My story is (his)story”.

vzw Stebo-GENK, BELGIA


Demirat Guloy Fatima

Anita Loix Deelnemer aan de schrijfcursus Straffe Verhalen te Zwartberg Ik ben geboren op 1 mei 1960. Ik ben een mijnwerkers kind, de oudste van vier. Mijn papa was een mijnwerker. Ik heb moeilijke jeugdjaren gekend. Mijn naam is Loix Anita – de familienaam is van Brussel afkomstig. Mijn lieve grootmoeder vond die naam heel mooi. Ik ben genoemd naar een nicht van mij die overleden is. Ik had ook een bijnaam gekregen en die was Chiquita - uit een liedje van de zanger Tony Corsari. Mijn voornaam is een fijn naam die mijn ouders gehoord hebben in een liedje op de jukebox op de kermis. Kort daarna was mijn moeder ziek geworden. Als jong meisje moest ik het huishouden doen. Onze papa was altijd een harde werker. In 1974 ben ik naar Zwartberg verhuisd. Over mijn jeugdjaren Ik heb een moeilijke jeugd gekend. We moesten heel hard werken. Onze papa en mama waren heel streng. In de jaren 60 en 70 was mijn lieve mama ziek geworden en ook mijn jonge broertje was bijna voor de dood opgegeven. Mijn papa werkte dag en nacht om zijn lieve zoontje te redden. Ook mijn grootouders waren lieve mensen. We mochten vaak bij hen gaan overnachten als onze ouders ziek waren. Mijn jongste broer was gered geweest. Mijn andere broertje moest ook geopereerd worden. Onze ouders hebben geleefd zoals het was. Toen ik jong was ging ik nooit weg van thuis totdat mijn papa op een dag zei, “Zo leer je geen jongen kennen.” Toen we moesten verhuizen naar Zwartberg had ik het heel moeilijk omdat ik mijn vrienden achter moest laten. In de jaren 80 toen ik trouwde had onze lieve papa het moeilijk en zei hij tegen mijn nieuwe man, “Zorg goed voor mijn dochter.” Nu heb ik het nog altijd moeilijk dat mijn papa er niet meer is.

De geur van koffie Onze ouders maakten ’s morgens altijd verse koffie. De koffiebonen werden gemalen. Dat deden ze met een molen die ze tussen hun benen vastklampten en dan draaiden ze aan het handeltje. ’s Morgens vroeg rook je de verse koffie al vanuit je bed. Mijn jongste broertje deed een oproep, “Onze papa heeft vers gemalen koffie gezet.” Wie dan als eerste onder was kreeg de eerste tas koffie. De koffie was uitstekend lekker, lekkerder dan de koffie van nu. In de winkels van toen was er geen gemalen koffie te koop. We zijn koffie leren drinken toen we zeven jaar oud waren. We moesten altijd uit dezelfde tas drinken, meestal ook zonder melk en suiker. Nu drink ik nog altijd veel koffie, af en toe een koffieverkeerd – dat is koffie met veel melk en weinig koffie. Als ik terug denk naar vroeger dan weet ik dat dit de aller lekkerste koffie was. Nu drink ik meestal Nescafé, maar die moet je ook wel warm drinken. Zo, dat is mijn verhaal over de koffie.


Op bedevaart We gingen ieder jaar op bedevaart in Lourdes met een fijne groep. We logeerden in een goed hotel dat kortbij was aan het oord. ’s Morgens moesten we al om 7 uur opstaan en dan maakten we een ochtendwandeling. Om 8 uur was er natuurlijk een uitgebreid ontbijt. Het eten was daar lekker. We hebben veel gerusten en ontspannen. Om negen uur ’s morgens was ik al aan het bidden. We hebben veel kaarsen laten branden voor vrienden en voor onszelf. We hebben veel gebeden voor iedereen. Daarna om 12 uur keerden we terug naar het hotel voor middageten. Tegen 21 uur ’s avonds deden we mee met de kaarsenprocessie. Er waren heel veel mensen in Lourdes uit verschillende landen. Toen het tijd was om te vertrekken hebben we de dag ervoor een afscheidsfeestje gehouden waar we veel plezier maakten. We gingen met veel verdriet naar huis. We namen de zon mee uit Lourdes en bracht die naar ons landje, België. In totaal zijn we negen keren in Lourdes geweest. Ieder jaar zijn we wel op verkenning gegaan. Toen konden we Frankrijk van binnen en buiten. Daar hebben we veel van genoten, hoor. Lourdes is een mooie stad in Frankrijk.

Brief aan de toekomst Aan de burgemeester van Genk in het jaar 2063, Mijn wens voor Genk is dat de burgervader macht blijven. Genk ligt in een mijngemeente tussen berg en dal. Er zijn verschillende nationaliteiten in Genk. Tot nu toe is er niets veranderd. We hopen alleen maar dat er veel meer werk zal zijn in de toekomst. Nu is Genk een grote stad geworden. We hopen dat het zo blijft, maar dat maken we misschien niet meer mee. Dan is het aan de andere mensen die dan leven die misschien lange kleren dragen en duur eten kopen. Het klimaat zal tegen dan ook veranderd zijn en alles zal modern geworden zijn. De mensen zullen veel gezonder gaan leven en ze zullen veel rust hebben. Er zullen ook weinig kinderen geboren worden. In de scholen zullen de leerlingen met computers werken. Ik hoop ook dat er veel vrijwilligers mogen zijn die zich blijven inzetten voor elkaar tot ze het niet meer kunnen. In 2063 heeft Genk een mooi uitzicht om naar te kijken, maar in het jaar 2063 is de wereld misschien ook al vergaan. De kinderen die er dan nog zijn hebben misschien heimwee naar vroegere tijden. Misschien moeten ze dan alles te voet doen. Dan zijn er ook geen activiteiten omdat iedereen in een woestijn leeft. Ik zal dan niets meer weten want dan ben ik in de hemel.


A Miner’s Daughter Anita Loix: 53-year old volunteer for Stebo Community Work, Genk, Belgium

I was born on Labour Day I am a miner’s child, the oldest of four. My father was a mineworker. I had a difficult youth. My name is Anita Loix. The surname comes from Brussels. My dear grandmother loved my first name. I was named after a cousin who passed away. I had the nickname of Chiquita – from a song by the singer, Tony Corsari. Anita is a good name. My parents heard it in a song playing on a jukebox at the fun fair. A short while later my mother became ill. As a young girl I was responsible for the house work. Our father was a hard worker. In 1974 we moved to another neighbourhood in Genk, to Zwartberg.

My youth I had a difficult youth. We had to work very hard. My father worked hard for his family. Our father and mother were very strict. During the 60’s and 70’s my mother was very ill and my younger brother was so sick he almost passed away. My father worked day and night to save his beloved young son. My grandparents were kind people. We were often allowed to spend the night with them when our parents were ill. My younger brother was eventually saved from death but then my other brother had to have an operation. Our parents took life as it came. As a young woman I was always home until, one day, my father said to me, “You’ll never meet a boy like this.” I had a very difficult time adapting when we moved to Zwartberg because I had to leave my friends behind. It was hard for my father when I eventually got married in the 80’s. He said to my new husband, “Take good care of my daughter.” It’s still hard for me to accept, even today, that my father isn’t here anymore.

A portrait of my father August Loix was a miner in Winterslag, Genk. When he came up from the mine he was black. On St. Barbara’s Day, the holy patron of mine workers, we always had to search the town to find him. It was an important celebration for him.


He was so pleased when a daughter was born to him on Labour Day – me. Again his brothers had to go searching for him on the town. My father suffered from black lung disease and died from it at the age of 53. He was a flagbearer for the Winterslag football team. When the team played away games he went with them to carry the flag. I was even allowed to go with him one time. He was a good, kind father, even though he could be very strict when we were naughty.

The smell of coffee Our parents made fresh coffee every morning. They ground the coffee beans with a grinder which they held fast between their knees, turning with the little handle. First thing in the mornings when you woke up, you could smell the coffee from your bed. My youngest brother would call out, “Our father has made fresh coffee.” Whoever was downstairs first, got the first cup of coffee. That first cup of coffee was excellent, better than today’s coffee. You couldn’t buy ground coffee in the shops in those days. We learned to drink coffee from the age of seven. We each had our own mug which we drank from, usually without milk and sugar. I still drink a lot of coffee today. When I think back to those days I know that was the best coffee ever. Now I mostly drink Nescafé, but you have to drink it hot. And that was my story about coffee.

My friend I had a friend at school called Nicole. She came from the suburb of Boxbergheide and we went to school together. She was two years younger than me. Nicole got up to a lot of mischief. She’d pull my hair and call me dwarf. When we went to high school we went our different ways. A few weeks ago I met up with her again. It was good to see her. Now we see each other almost weekly. Nicole isn’t married yet. Long ago she made a bet with me that we’d never marry. When she heard that I was getting married, she was shocked. Of course I invited her to my wedding. I asked her once why she didn’t want a husband but she never gave me an answer. Nicole works at the Ford factory. She hopes that she can keep her job (The Ford factory in Genk is closing down at the end of 2014). She still lives with her parents and does all of the house work. She can be a bit stubborn when her mother asks her something. Her hobbies are reading, sewing and embroidery. Sometimes she helps me when I’m having a hard time. I always phone first to hear if she’s got time.


Mother’s Day Mother’s Day is on the second Sunday in May. When we were children it was important to spoil our mother. We would go out for a meal with all four the children. We would all chip in money so we could buy her a present. Sometimes we forgot. When we did our mother would say, “You don’t have to get me anything. Save your money instead.” Then we’d go for a walk on the road to Hengelhoef (a local nature reserve). We’d do that every year. After a while we started with breakfast. She really enjoyed that. My youngest brother would go to the bakery for fresh rolls while we took care of the coffee and orange juice. I said to my brothers, “Let’s keep doing this every year.” Then one day my mother had to go to hospital. Our kind father took good care of our mother. We didn’t do anything for Mother’s Day when she became ill. Three years ago the four of us took our mother out to the Black Market in Tessenderlo for Mother’s Day. It was a big surprise for her.

Pilgrimage We used to go on pilgrimage to Lourdes every year with a pleasant group of friends. We stayed in a good hotel close to the holy site. We would get up at seven ‘o clock and go for a morning walk. At eight ‘o clock we had an ample breakfast. The food was really good. We got a lot of rest and relaxation. By nine ‘o clock I was already at prayer. We lit many holy candles for friends and for ourselves. We prayed for everyone. At twelve ‘o clock we would go back to the hotel for lunch. At nine ‘o clock we would take part in the candle procession. There were people in Lourdes from many different countries. The day before we had to leave we had plenty of fun at the farewell party. It was with heavy hearts that we returned home. We took the sun with us frim Lourdes to our little country, Belgium. We went to Lourdes a total of nine times. Every year we would explore the region until, at last, we knew it inside out. We really enjoyed our time there. Lourdes is a beautiful city in France.

Jantje Smit He was a good looking young man when he started singing and I felt like a young girl when I listened to him. He was in Blankenberge (a seaside city in Belgium) when I saw him perform for the first time. We heard him on the radio often. I would sit in my room and play his single and sing along with him. We bought many of his singles and CD’s. He also sang a duet with a female singer. He sang lovely songs about his mother and about his kind grandmother.


My dream is that I get to see him perform live again and that someone will start a fan club for him. Jantje Smit is married to a lovely woman and he recently became a father to a little girl. He sang a song for his new born daughter.

The Stebo story Many young women work at Stebo. You can go to them with your problems. Stebo Zwartberg was started up by our dearly departed Herman Cuppens. The building where Stebo is housed used to be the home of Sister Hendrika. The big director is Erwin de Bruyn. If Stebo has trouble with their computers then they call in the help of their technician, Karel. There are many meetings that take place there. If you need to make a photocopy you can go to them. They have an interchanging receptionist – each year there is a new one. There was even a male receptionist once. You can pop in at Stebo for a cup of coffee or to use the computer. I have good memories of Stebo because I won a computer from them. I do a lot of volunteer work for them. I get a lot of respect for the work that I do. Our Sister Hendrika goes there every morning for a cup of coffee. I don’t go to Stebo that often nowadays because, sadly, they don’t need me that much anymore. Colette and Debby are friendly girls who are always there for you. They have a lot of work and they’re always willing to listen if they have time. Colette and Debby help people who are in trouble. Many young women whom I knew well have left Stebo. The current receptionist could be a little friendlier though. I would be very sad if Stebo ever had to leave – then there’d be nothing left in Driehoven (a neighbourhood). The best memory I have was when someone gave me advice about my energy bill, giving me tips on how to save money and use less energy in the home.

A letter to the future To the mayor of Genk in 2063, My dream for Genk is that the position of mayor stays. Genk is situated in an ex-mining community between mountain and valley. There are many different nationalities in Genk. We all hope that there will be much more work in the future. Genk has become a big city. We hope that it stays this way but perhaps we won’t be around to experience that in the future. There will be other people alive then and they could be wearing long clothes and buying expensive food. The climate will have changed by then and everything will be modern. The people will live more healthily and they will have a lot of rest. Fewer children will be born. Children will work on computers at school. I hope that there will be many volunteers and that they keep on doing good deeds for one another until they can’t anymore. 4

In 2063 Genk will have a lovely view to look at, but by the year 2063 the whole world might have disappeared. The children who will be alive then might feel nostalgic for the past. Maybe they will do everything on foot. There will be no activities anymore because everyone will be living in a dessert. I won’t know about anything because I’ll be in heaven by then.


Demirat Guloy

Het verhaal van mijn vader begint met het feit dat hij de huur van zijn winkel niet meer kon betalen. Hij was op zoek naar een andere baan. Hij had zich ingeschreven om te gaan werken in Duitsland, maar er was geen plek meer. Ze hadden geen werkers meer nodig. Maar ze kwamen werkkrachten te kort in de mijnen van België. In 1963 ging mijn vader met de trein naar België. Hij deelde één kamer met 3 andere mannen en had een Nederlandse-Turkse woordenboek. Na één jaar keerde hij terug naar Turkije om mijn moeder en broer mee te brengen naar België. Mijn broer was toen één jaar oud. Nu is hij 51 jaar. Op deze manier startte het verhaal van mijn ouders. Ze hadden moeilijke tijden meegemaakt, omdat ze geen Nederlands konden. Ze kregen hier een huis waar ze in mochten wonen. Mijn moeder vertelde dat alle huizen op mekaar leken. Ze was bang om het huis te verlaten, omdat ze het huis niet zou terugvinden. Ze konden water halen van de gemeenschappelijke kranen in de straat om eten te koken en om hun huizen schoon te maken. Ze hadden geen meubels. Ze kochten van alles maar 1 stuk; 1 bord, 1 mok, enkele bedden en zetels. Ze kochten ook een koelkast. Mijn moeder had dozen op de zolder staan voor wanneer de tijd zou komen om terug te keren naar Turkije. Ze waren alleen maar hier om geld te sparen zodat ze een winkel in Turkije konden kopen, mijn vader was een kleermaker. Na de eerste koelkast hadden ze nog 4 koelkasten bijgekocht. Ik ben geboren in 1965. In 1970 is mijn zus geboren, die woont nu in Turkije. Mijn jongste zus is geboren in 1975. Zij werkt hier in België. Mijn broer heeft 2 jaar in de mijnen gewerkt. Hij is gepensioneerd en heeft 2 kinderen. In 1988 keerden mijn ouders voorgoed terug naar Turkije. Ze kochten een huis dichtbij de zee. Mijn vader heeft hartklachten en is geopereerd. Mijn moeder is ook ziek. Ze


heeft een chronische ziekte. Ze hebben nu voldoende geld, maar ze zijn beiden ziek. Ze proberen nog te genieten van hun leven zolang het nog kan.


Demirat Guloy My father’s story started when he couldn’t pay the rent of his shop anymore. He looked for another job. My father was registered to work in Germany, but this job opportunity turned out to be full. They didn’t need any more workers. But there was a shortage of labourers in the mines in Belgium. In 1963, my father went to Belgium by train. He shared a room with three other men and got a Dutch-Turkish dictionary. He returned to Turkey after one year to take my mother and brother to Belgium with him. My brother was one-year-old at the time. Right now, he’s 51. My parents’ story started that way. They’ went through hard times because they didn’t know any Dutch. Thet got a house here. My mother told me all the houses looked the same. She was scared to leave the house, in fear she wouldn’t recognize their house when she came back. They could fetch water from communal taps in the street to cook their meals and clean their houses. They didn’t have any furniture. They bought one of each; one plate, one cup, some beds and chairs. They also bought a refrigerator. My mother kept the box in the attic for when the time came when they would return to Turkey. They were only here to save enough money tot get a shop in Turkey because my father was a tailor. They had four more refrigerators after that first one. I was born in 1965. In 1970, my sister, who lives in Turkey now, was born. My youngest sister was born in 1975. She works here in Belgium. My brother worked in the mines for two years. He’s retired now and has two children. In 1998, my parents returned to Turkey. They bought a house close to the sea. My father suffered a heart attack and had to have surgery. My mother is sick as well. She has a chronic disease. They have enough money now, but they are ill. They try to enjoy their lives as much as they can.


Fatima Habou Gemeenschapswacht in Zwartberg

De betekenis en herkomst van mijn voornaam "FATIMA" Fatima is mijn naam, voor de vrienden "Fati". Mijn voornaam hebben mijn ouders destijds gekozen als referentie naar één van de dochters (waarschijnlijk de oudste) van de profeet Mohamed s.w.s. (God geprezen zijn naam) en zijn vrouw Khadija. Het is een Arabische naam die in de Koran (het Heilig Boek voor de Islamieten) ook wordt vernoemd. Het is daarom ook dat voornamelijk in de Arabische landen dat deze meisjesnaam wordt gebruikt. De ouders kiezen voor hun dochter deze mooie naam, gewoonlijk de eerste in de rij, van de enkele kinderen die er nog misschien zullen volgen. Ik vind het een eer om mijn voornaam te mogen dragen. Als oudste kind van het gezin ben ik wel best trots om als voorbeeld te fungeren voor de andere, jongere zussen en broers. Dank U mama en papa.

Letterlijke betekenis: = “vlekkeloos” = "zich onthouden van."

Wat een frisse lekkere appelsien geur! Het doet me even denken aan mijn kindertijd in de boomgaard van tante op het platteland in Marokko. Ik zie me nog als kind onder de schaduw van een geweldige appelsienenboom zitten. De plantage die zo enorm uitgestrekt was, leek me destijds zo oneindig imposant en indrukwekkend. De omgeving kleurde het landschap groen met talrijke boomstammen waarvan de sierlijke takken mooie, dikke, oranje appelsienen droegen. De laagstammige bomen waren toen op vruchtbare bemeste grond gepland; met goede, welriekende koeienmest… wel te verstaan. Lange rijen bomen stonden netjes op een rechte lijn en ze reikten zo ver mijn gezichtsveld waarnemen kon. De zon scheen hoog aan de blauwe hemel en het was er enorm warm. De sproeiers deden hun werk om de plantage vochtig te houden, want de broeierige hitte was niet te harden. Zo heet was het! Ik voelde de hitte vanuit de warme grond aan mijn voetjes stijgen. Om wat afkoeling te zoeken, speelde ik het liefst met het frisse water dat uit het sproeisysteem spoot tot ergernis van tante. Ik deed dat natuurlijk als zij het niet zag en wachtte ik geduldig totdat zij uit mijn buurt verdween. Want dat kon ze echt niet tolereren. Ooit had ik gedroomd dat ik alle bomen geteld had. Het waren er wel duizend stuks. Neen, vijf- of tienduizend in mijn zoete droom. In de realiteit geen idee - misschien “meer”, waarschijnlijk “minder”. Wat ik wel nog weet is dat ik heel veel appelsienen had geplukt en nadien met volle overtuiging geteld; met de blaadjes erbij. Donkergroene, glanzende appelsien blaadjes.

Trouwens had ik op deze manier leren tellen in het Arabisch. Eerst tot vijf – dan tot tien - en nog veel later tot…duizend! Uren lag ik daar in mijn eentje tussen de bomen ‘appelsienen’ tellen met als gezelschap enkele vogels die rond de schaduw fladderen. Vervolgens zie ik me als een klein meisje van vijf het appelsientje met mijn kleine scherpe tandjes pellen. De dikke, harde schil ging er moeilijk af. Ik had meermaals geprobeerd met duim en wijsvinger, maar dat lukte in geen geval. De korte, kleine vingertjes waren niet krachtig genoeg om ze te schillen. Maar eenmaal de schil eraf, rook ik met volle teugen de sterke geur van het frisse appelsientje – zo fris en zo lekker!!! De sappige halve maantjes (van de vrucht) spatten uiteen net zoals een mini-fonteintje en prikkelden niet alleen de smaakpapillen, maar ook mijn gevoelige reukorgaan met als gevolg dat de ogen ervan traanden. De overheerlijke en vooral de doordringende appelsien geur doet me nog steeds herinneren aan de zorgeloze kindertijd van toen. Een mooie tijd die spijtig genoeg nooit meer zal terugkomen.


The Fresh Smell of Oranges Fatima Habou: Community Service Officer in Genk, Belgium

Whenever I smell the scent of oranges it takes me back to my childhood, to my aunt’s orchard in the countryside of Morocco. I can still see myself as a child, sitting in the shade of a great, big orange tree. The huge expanse of the orchard seemed to me to be impressively unending and majestic. It coloured the landscape green with its abundance of tree trunks and graceful, thick branches carrying the most orange of oranges. The low hanging trees were planted on fertile ground, rich with the sweet smell of cow manure. Long rows of trees stood neatly in straight lines that stretched out as far as my eyes could see. The sun shone high against the blue sky and it was powerfully hot. The sprinklers did their work keeping the orchard moist, the stifling heat almost impossible to bear. That’s how hot it was! I felt the heat rising out of the warm earth into my small feet. To cool down I loved playing with the cold water that squirted from the sprinklers, much to my aunt’s dismay. Of course, I tried to do this when she wasn’t around to see. I’d wait patiently until she disappeared because this was something she truly could not tolerate from me. I had a dream once that I’d counted all the trees. There were one thousand. No, five thousand, even ten thousand in my sweet dream. In reality I had no idea how many there actually were. Perhaps more, probably less. What I can still remember is that I picked many, many oranges and sat down to count them, the fruit as well as their leaves. Dark green, shiny orange leaves. This was how I learnt to count in Arabic. Up to five in the beginning. Then up to ten and then, much later, up to a thousand! I’d sit amongst the trees all by myself for hours, counting oranges, my only company the birds fluttering around in the shade. I see myself as a little girl of five, peeling the orange with small, sharp teeth. The thick, hard peel was too difficult to get off. I had tried many times with my thumb and pointer finger but to no avail. Those short, small fingers weren’t strong enough to get at the peel. But once that peel was off, I’d smell the strong scent of the cool orange – so refreshing, so delicious!!! The juicy half-moons spattered apart like mini fountains, triggering not only my taste buds, but also my sensitive nose which always resulted in tears pricking my eyes. The delicious, but especially overpowering scent of orange reminds me to this day of the carefree time of my childhood. A beautiful time which, regrettably, will never return.

Motto: “My story is (his)story”.

Colegiul Tehnic “Alexandru Domșa”- ALBA IULIA, ROMÂNIA

Camelia Carmen




Cristina Ligia




When you feel a yearning For a face, a place, a story, Close your eyes and with a smile You’ll find it in your memory. Even if life keeps you apart From such a cozy place, The further life drives you away, The closer in your heart. From there you started with a thought To conquer the whole world, But every so often to return To grasp your true own self. Years wipe off while they pass through time , And Mom's no longer on the tread, But memories refuse to die, Reluctant, they await.


The village is surrounded by hills and forests. Satul este înconjurat de dealuri şi păduri.

The street where I grew up. Strada pe care am copilărit.

Parental Home Casa părintească

At home, my family has grown buffalo, which they used to agricultural work, but also for their milk. Acasă, familia mea a crescut bivoli, pe care îi foloseau la muncile agricole, dar şi pentru laptele lor.

The oven where mother baked bread and cakes. Cuptorul în care mama făcea pâine şi cozonaci.

I remember the cold water from the well. Îmi aduc aminte de apa rece de la fântână


Când simţi un dor, de-un chip De un loc, de o poveste, Închide ochii şi c-un zâmbet Ai să-ţi dai seama unde este.

Chiar dacă viaţa te desparte De locul ăla unde-i bine, Cu cât de el eşti mai departe, Cu-atât îl ai mai mult în tine.

De-acolo ai plecat c-un gând, Că lumea vrei s-o cucereşti, Dar să te-ntorci din când în când Ca să-ţi dai seama cine eşti.

Anii mai şterg în urma lor, Mama nu mai e pe treaptă, Dar amintirile nu mor, Sunt tot acolo şi te-aşteaptă.


Portrait of my parents that have been simple people and householders. Portretul părinţilor mei care au fost nişte oameni simpli şi gospodari.

Now,when I go back to my parental home together with my children, I see a house full of memories.

Acum, când mă întorc la casa mea părintească, împreună cu copiii mei, văd casa plină de amintiri.

With one of the two sons of mine, the eldest. Cu unul dintre cei doi fii ai mei, cel mai mare.


In search of a career

When I was a child I wanted to become a teacher. Later on, my wish came true only partly because I got to work as a music substitute teacher for four years. However, my first job was at a home for elderly in Germany. I was 19 at the time and had just finished high school and a family friend recommended me for the position of nurse which I actually got. My daily tasks included cleaning 16 rooms occupied by the residents as well as serving the meals. I had a colleague nurse and two supervising nurses working in the same department. The working program was from 7 am to 3 pm; I got my wage out of which I used to send a big portion to my family in Romania. I wore a white frock as a nurse. What I recall as a happy event while working there was when one of the residents, an old lady, became fond of me and offered me a pair of woolen red socks knitted by herself. It was a very touching moment. Another emotional moment, an unhappy one though, was when an old lady passed away. My current job gives me a lot of satisfaction because I work in tourism industry and the clients are quite relaxed and happy as they come to plan their holidays. My dream is to retire, when the time comes, to a seaside resort.


În căutarea unei cariere Când eram copil, îmi doream să devin dascăl. Mai apoi chiar mi s-a îndeplinit această dorință, parțial, urmând să lucrez în învățământ 4 ani de zile, ca profesor suplinitor de muzică. Primul meu loc de muncă a fost ca infirmieră la un azil de bătrâni din Germania. Aveam 19 ani, iar imediat după terminarea liceului o familie de prieteni m-a recomandat pentru a obține acest loc de muncă. Ca infirmieră, atribuțiile mele zilnice erau acelea de a întreține curățenia camerelor a 16 persoane vârstnice şi de a servi masa. Aveam încă o colegă infirmieră şi două șefe asistente. Programul de lucru era de la ora 7 dimineața până la ora 5 după-amiaza. Primeam un salariu mediu din care o parte trimiteam şi familiei mele din România. Ca infirmieră purtam un halat. Un eveniment fericit a fost acela când o bătrânica din azil s-a atașat destul de mult de mine şi mi-a dăruit o pereche de șosete roșii de lâna , tricotate chiar de dânsa. Un eveniment nefericit s-a întâmplat atunci când una dintre bătrâne s-a stins din viață. Actualul meu loc de muncă mă satisface deoarece lucrez în turism si clienții sunt destul de mulțumiți si relaxați pentru că îşi fac planuri de vacanță. Visul meu este ca la pensie, atunci când va veni vremea, să mă retrag undeva pe malul mării.



Childhood memories

Modest as it may seem, my childhood was beautiful and pretty quiet. My family and I lived a very small house having a single room and a narrow hall. It became very natural to share the space with my parents and two brothers. Being the only daughter, I never asked to be treated differently – it was the situation that required generosity and understanding – and I had to share one bed with my brothers before I grew up and my parents improvised a sleeping place for me alone. But we were happy. I still sense the smell of the cold water, freshly pulled out from a well – so crystal-clear and cold! My father used to take all the decisions in the household; my mother however had to take up several roles as Dad, being much older than Mom, was ill almost all the time. Living at the country kept me busy almost all the time (as the only girl in the family, I had a lot of responsibilities) and left me too little time to play. Whenever that was possible I played with my brothers because we didn’t have neighbors of our age. We invented different games, very similar to the activities performed by adults in their everyday activities in the household. We improvised a cart and we harnessed imaginary horses and drove them to imaginary places. My brothers and I worked very hard in the household. We returned from school and we took on the duties we had in turns either feeding the animals or doing other chores such as hewing woods for the fireplace. School was also important and we did our homework as much as we could. My childhood was very different from my children’s early years but as difficult as they may have been, those were really happy times. VIORICA SMEU-MARE

Amintiri din copilărie Copilăria mea a fost frumoasă, destul de liniștită, chiar dacă a fost modestă. Căsuța noastră era micuță , conținând doar o cameră şi o tindă sau hol. Fiind doar o cameră, era firesc să o împărțim toți cei cinci membri ai familiei, părinții mei şi trei copii, doi băieți şi eu, fiica mijlocie. Dar niciodată nu am pretins ceva în plus, era situația de așa natură, încât generozitatea şi înțelegerea erau un dat. O perioadă destul de lungă am împărțit acelaşi pat cu frații mei până când părinții mei mi-au improvizat un loc de dormit doar pentru mine. Eram fericiți cu toții. Mirosul care mi-a rămas întipărit în memorie este cel al apei proaspăt scoasă din fântână, atât de limpede si rece-cristalină. Tata lua toate deciziile în familie; mama, în schimb, a fost nevoită să îşi asume mai multe roluri în gospodărie pentru că tata, mai în etate decât ea, era adesea bolnav. Trăind la țară, nu prea aveam timp de altceva decât de muncă; fiind singura fată în familie, aveam o mulțime de responsabilități şi prea puțin timp pentru joacă. Oricând se ivea această ocazie, mă jucam cu frații mei pentru că nu aveam vecini de vârsta noastră. Inventam jocuri diferite, imitându-i pe adulți în activitățile lor zilnice în gospodărie. Am improvizat o căruță la care înhămam cai imaginari pe care îi mânam spre locuri imaginare. Frații mei şi cu mine munceam mult in gospodărie. Ne întorceam de la școală şi, pe rând, hrăneam animalele sau făceam alte treburi cum ar fi tăiatul lemnelor pentru foc. Școala era importantă şi ne făceam temele cât ne pricepeam. Copilăria mea a fost foarte diferită de cea a copiilor mei, dar oricât de dificilă ar fi fost, aceia au fost anii cei mai fericiți. VIORICA SMEU-MARE


School years I started school in 1960, when I was 7 years old, the same age like all the kids ready to go to the first grade primary school. We were 22 children in a simultaneous class (students from different grades/ages share a class for teaching-learning activities). Later on we were about thirty students in a class and during high school the average number was 36. Only 21 students in my class graduated high school; the rest either got transferred to other schools or repeated one of the school years. I loved most of my teachers but I feel particularly attached with my primary school teachers. They were special teachers, young, very well prepared professionally, correct, very close to their students… “old-school teachers”, good psychologists, rigorous, some of them quite severe, some very warm and open, but all of them were extremely dedicated to their profession. I will never forget my primary school teacher who taught us a lot of useful things, others than the ones you could find about in books; she entertained us with a multitude of games and other practical activities – she was the teacher of my heart. There were also punitive aspects of a student’s life, ranging from strikes in the palm and a bad grade for behavior to admonition in front of the class or in front of the parents. I remember I got a stroke with a stick in my palm; I don’t remember the pain or the reason for my punishment, but I remember being horribly ashamed. I have no clear memory of my graduation party which took place in the school canteen. I wore a black skirt and vest with a white blouse. I can’t remember anything about the music we listened to, whether we used a pickup or an old tape recorder, but I do remember we spent the whole night, there was no alcohol and, unfortunately, nobody took any pictures. I have no regrets about those times, just memories… VIORICA HORJA

Anii de şcoală Am început școala în anul 1960, când aveam 7 ani, ca toți copiii care se pregăteau să meargă în clasa întâi primară. Numărul elevilor din clasă, în anii primari de școală a fost de 22 intr-o clasă cu predare simultană. În anii următori am fost in jur de treizeci iar la liceu am început studiile 36 de elevi. Doar 21 de elevi din clasa mea au absolvit liceul, restul s-au transferat sau au rămas repetenți. Mi-am iubit aproape toți dascălii, dar am simțit un profund atașament mai ales față de învățătorii mei. Au fost dascăli cu totul şi cu totul speciali, tineri, foarte bine pregătiți, corecți, apropiați de elevi… “de formație veche”, buni psihologi, riguroși, unii dintre ei foarte severi, alții foarte deschiși şi apropiați de noi, dar toți erau dedicați profesiei. Nu o voi uita niciodată pe doamna învățătoare care ne-a învățat o mulțime de lucruri utile, altele decât cele pe care le puteam afla din cărți; ne antrena într-o mulțime de jocuri şi alte activități practice – a fost dascălul inimii mele. Pedepsele disciplinare au făcut tot timpul parte din viața unui elev, de la lovituri în palmă şi nota scăzută la purtare, la mustrare în fața clasei sau în fața părinților. Îmi amintesc că am primit o dată o lovitură de băț în palmă; nu-mi amintesc nici durerea, nici motivul pentru care am fost pedepsită, știu doar că mi-a fost foarte rușine. Nu-mi amintesc clar balul de absolvire a liceului care a avut loc in cantina liceului. Eu am fost îmbrăcată într-o fustă neagră, vestă şi o bluză albă. Nu mai știu nici ce muzică ascultam, şi nici dacă am avut un pick-up sau un magnetofon, dar îmi amintesc că am petrecut până către dimineață, fără băuturi alcoolice şi, din păcate, nimeni nu a făcut fotografii. Nu am regrete în legătură cu acele vremuri, doar amintiri…



A story

I think that this story has had some significance in my life. When I was about four years old, my parents took me shopping. We stopped in a carpet store and while looking at the carpets exhibited for the possible buyer, I fell on a piece of wood framing a carpet. I hurt myself and I still have the scar. The thing is that I had been drawn to carpets. I remember being very attached to a piece of rug which my mom used to put on the threshold of our house. It became my everyday playing item which I used when I tucked my cat and dog to prevent them from being cold. When I grew a bit older and went to my grandparents for a holiday, I wove a new rug to replace the old one. Eventually, I grew fond of weaving and I trained to become professional in this field of activity. After finishing high school, I got a job as a weaver at the local manufacture. I had this job for 18 years. Destiny, maybe ‌


O poveste

Cred că această poveste a avut o mică însemnătate în viața mea. Când aveam vreo patru ani, mergând cu părinții la cumpărături, am intrat într-un magazin de prezentare de covoare şi, în timp ce ne uitam la covoarele expuse, am căzut şi m-am lovit la gură cu o bucată de lemn ce ținea fixat covorul de perete. Bineînțeles că m-am lovit de mi-a rămas urma până acum. De fapt, lucrul evident este că eram atrasă de covoare. Îmi amintesc că acasă fusesem foarte atașată de o bucată de preș pe care mama obișnuia să îl pună pe pragul casei şi care a devenit un obiect pe care-l foloseam când mă jucam cu pisica şi cu câinele, învelind animalele ca să nu le fie frig. Când am crescut mai mare şi am mers la bunica în vacanță, am țesut un covor pentru a-l înlocui pe cel vechi. Pana la urma am ajuns să îndrăgesc meseria de țesătoare astfel că am urmat liceul de covoare şi m-am angajat la țesătoria din oraș. Am lucrat acolo 18 ani. Probabil că ăsta mi-a fost destinul…




It happened that some years ago, during some small talk with my colleagues at work, one of the ladies declared: “It is very difficult to raise a child nowadays”. I stared at her for a while wondering why she would say such a thing. We had known each other for many years, we had been working in the same office for a while and I had also known her family. She had a boy and both her husband and she were engineers and, from the material point of view, they were quite well off. They appeared to have a beautiful family which I was very fond of, and for that reason they represented role models for me and my family. The answer came later on. At that time I was pregnant and ready to become a mother. I had always wanted a boy as I have never seen myself as a mother for a little girl. And I had Dan. Both my husband and I searched for the most beautiful name - at least that was what we thought at the time , the most beautiful pram, and the most beautiful small pieces of clothing: we were learning together how to make good parents. We were almost kids when we had first met and now we had a child of our own. His first babbling, his first tooth, his first step, his first “mummy” and “daddy” were all welcomed with joy by both of us. Incidental fever would terrify us alike. However, it seemed strange to us hearing people say “small children, few worries; older children, more worries”. And that proved to be true. Years had passed and I felt the excitement of his first day at the kindergarten, than the first day of school and, finally the beginning of high school. The evening before this event he told me: “I hope you won’t come with me to school tomorrow!” It kind of hurt me as I hadn’t expected that. I looked at him and I realized that “my baby” had turned into a teenager. He was happy that a new stage of his life lay wide in front of him as a result of not so much an effort, that he had managed to enter the class he’d wanted with the promise of a career in a field that he considered to be appealing. All along these years we have been trying to build up a beautiful relationship with our son, willing to be both friends and parents at the same time. We all went through his first love story during the 6th grade holiday, we talked about less pleasant thinks such as cigarettes, alcohol, condoms, about his friends .I avoided scolding him too harshly before parent’s meetings at school as he had warned me about bad grades and skipping classes. His razor-sharp mind is barely put to work. We as parents are not “absurd”; we do not necessarily want straight A grades. We have given him a certain degree of freedom- and we still wonder whether that was a wise

thing to do – so that he won’t feel the pressure of accomplishing what we haven’t or being what we want him to be. We have reached to a sort of balance so far but for how long will be able to protect him from the bigger threats out there: entourage, alcohol, drugs or other. It is a joy to be a parent but it is certainly difficult as well and I don’t refer only to the material aspect of the matter. You’d want the best for your offspring but does the love that we give them make us “good” or “bad” parents in certain situations? I have already found some truth in my colleague’s statement: “It is very difficult to raise a child nowadays”. I love him now and I love him more each day. I see him grow and soon he’ll reach the age when his father and I first met. I often tell him: “I LOVE YOU, BUT DO I LOVE YOU THE RIGHT WAY?” But this is a question I haven’t found an answer. Yet.



S-a întâmplat ,cu ani în urmă , când, în urma unor discuții dintre colegii de birou , o doamnă a afirmat că :,, e foarte greu să crești un copil în ziua de astăzi ". Am rămas privind-o lung, întrebându-mă de ce spune așa ceva ? Ne cunoșteam de mai mulți ani, eram colege şi îi cunoșteam şi familia. Are un singur băiat. Este de profesie inginer , atât ea cit şi șotul ei . Era la vârsta la care situația lor materială era destul de comodă, erau realizați atât material cât şi profesional, aveau o familie frumoasă, dragi mie. Personal, îi consideram un exemplu. Răspunsul l-am aflat mai târziu. La vremea aceea eram însărcinată , urma să devin mamă. Îmi doream să am un băiat, nu mă văd mamă de fată. Şi l-am avut pe Dan! Împreună cu soțul meu i-am căutat , credeam noi, cel mai frumos nume, cel mai frumos cărucior , cele mai frumoase hăinuțe, învățam împreună sa devenim părinți. Am fost aproape copii când ne-am cunoscut , iar acum aveam copilul nostru! Ne-am bucurat de primul gângurit, de primul dințișor, de primul pas, de primul ,, mama" şi ,,tata" şi tremuram deopotrivă când termometrul medical ne indica mai mult de 37 de grade. Ni se părea ciudat când cei din jurul nostru ne spuneau că atunci când sunt mici ,, grijile sunt mici" , iar când sunt mari ,, grijile sunt mari ". Şi așa avea să fie. Anii au trecut şi am simțit emoția primei zile la cămin, apoi la școală gimnazială, apoi a urmat prima zi de liceu. Cu o seară înainte mi-a spus : sper că mâine nu vii cu mine la școală ! Era ceva la care m-am așteptat, dar ,,a durut" oarecum. M-am uitat la el şi am văzut cum copilașul meu de alta dată a devenit adolescent. Era bucuros că începe o nouă etapă din viața lui, liceul, că intrase unde își dorise, dar nu cu prea mult efort la școală, şi urma să facă ceea ce-i plăcea. De-a lungul timpului , până să ajungem aici, am căutat să avem o relație frumoasă , să-i fim nu doar părinți , dar mai mult prieteni. Am discutat şi iam văzut prima poveste de dragoste din vacanţa clasei a VI-a ,cu partea frumoasă şi mai puțin frumoasă, despre țigări, alcool, prezervative, despre prietenii lui, dar nu l-am certat foarte rău, consider eu, atunci când urma să merg la ședința cu părinții şi mi-a spus că are un patru la matematică, un trei la engleză, că au fugit de la oră , un șase la biologie etc. Discutam despre doamna dirigintă care l-a întrebat dacă fumează şi-l bănuia că o face şi care sa tuns mai frumos decât mine... Are o minte ,,brici" dar nu o pune suficient la contribuție. Noi nu suntem părinți ,,absurzi", care să vrem un carnet

numai de zece. I-am lăsat , şi nu știu dacă e bine sau rău , o oarecare libertate, unde sa nu se simtă produsul a ceea ce nu am fost noi sau ne dorim neapărat să fie. Am reuşit până acum să creăm un oarecare echilibru între noi, dar cât mai putem noi să-l apărăm de ,,grijile cele mari" date de anturaj, alcool, droguri, sau mai știu eu ce. E frumos sa fii părinte , dar e greu deopotrivă, şi nu mă refer doar la partea materială. Ai vrea tot ce e mai bine pentru copilul tău, dar oare din dragostea pe care le-o purtăm știm noi oare să fim destul de ,, buni " sau destul de ,, răi “ în anumite situații de-a lungul anilor ? Abia acum am aflat răspuns la afirmația colegei mele :,,e greu sa crești un copil în ziua de astăzi "!!! Mi-e drag de el , mai mult pe zi ce trece . Îl văd crescând , iar curând v-a ajunge la vârsta la care ne-am cunoscut eu cu tatăl lui. Îi spun mereu : „EU TE IUBESC , DAR OARE TE IUBESC CUM TREBUIE ?” Iar asta e o altă întrebare , fără răspuns deocamdată!



My first life experience My name is Turcu Viorica(Ibi), I am 47 years old and I come from a Hungarian family settled in Teius, a town 15 kilometers away from Alba Iulia. They raised me in a loving environment and made efforts to provide me with everything I needed. My first real-life experience started when I finished school in 1981. I had completed my 10th grade specialized in sales that summer and I had been waiting to apply for a job when I met a 19-year-old young man who, by the end of that year, became my husband although I was only 16 at the time. We integrated our lives in the communist way of life following a fixed cultural “route” that generally implied school – work – family. It was, however, a fine period for us until the birth of our son, who I am very proud of, in the winter of 1982. Soon, after this event, jealousy caused physical and verbal abuse which I tried to hide from family and friends, especially from our parents. But a bad thing cannot be long kept secret and a year later my black and blue swollen eyes and face revealed the embarrassing facts. My parents tried to convince me to move back home, promising me that they would help me raise the baby. However, I gave our marriage another chance which resulted in more beating so I decided that it was high time I had left to live with my parents. So here I was, in the spring of 1984, an 18 year old woman with a child in my care and divorced, coming to the realization that my life, good or bad, had already started for me. VIORICA(IBI) TURCU

Prima experiență de viață

Mă numesc Turcu Viorica, am 47 de ani, provin dintr-o familie de unguri stabiliți în Teiuș, jud. Alba, care m-au crescut cu multă dragoste și eforturi ca să îmi poată oferi totul și să nu îmi lipsească nimic. Pentru mine, prima experiență de viață a început când am terminat școala în 1981 și vara terminasem zece clase cu profil vânzător. În vara acelui an, când am terminat școala și așteptam să mă angajez, am cunoscut un tânăr de 19 ani cu care în iarnă eram deja căsătorită la casa mea, deși aveam doar 16 ani. În acea perioadă era politica ”ceaușistă” în floare, cu educația școală – serviciu – familie. A fost frumos și bine până în iarna lui 1982, după ce am născut un băiat frumos și cuminte de care sunt foarte mândră. Atunci au început să apară problemele de abuzuri fizice și verbale pe motive de gelozie pe care le ascundeam de toată lumea, inclusiv de părinții mei și ai lui, pe ideea să nu ne facem de rușine dar cum un lucru rău și ascuns nu poate dura mult, în iarna lui 1983 s-a descoperit secretul meu de care îmi era rușine, din cauza vânătăilor ce nu le puteam ascunde de pe față și ochii umflați și vineți, iar atunci părinții mei, mai mult mama, nu a mai vrut să mă lase să locuiesc cu soțul meu și a susținut că mă ajută să cresc copilul și să nu mai iau bătaie și să apară și alți copii. Bineînțeles că am mai încercat să îmi continui căsnicia dar cum rezultatul a fost încă o bătaie zdravănă și atunci am hotărât că nu mai merge și am plecat la mama și tata; și așa, în primăvara lui 1984 eram o femeie de 18 ani și un pic, cu un copil, despărțită, și abia atunci am realizat că viața, cu bune, cu rele, greu, ușor, începe pentru mine. VIORICA(IBI) TURCU


Childhood I grew up with my brother, my parents and my paternal grandparents. We all lived in a four-room apartment. When I was in the first grade primary school, grandpa died and soon grandma left Brasov, to live with my uncle’s family. My brother and I took over our grandparents’ bedroom but when we grew older I got my own room together with my own desk, bed and wardrobe. In my family I suppose that the most important decisions were taken by my mother. I used to play with my neighbours in front of our block of flats and sometimes with other friends or classmates. Boys and girls alike we would play different games: elastic ( a game played by at least three which , in turns, would jump over parallel strings of elastic, or step on them following certain rules), hopscotch, mom and dad or we would go roller skating. I played football, hide-and-seek with my schoolmates; in wintertime we played hokey and during summer we went cycling. Being the older son, I had a lot of responsibilities in the household. I had to make the beds and take my brother to the kindergarten. Later I had to do the washing up, vacuum and clean the carpets; I also did the shopping and I had to queue for bread and meat and other things necessary in the household. I cannot remember celebrating my birthday when I was a child. However, on Christmas we would go caroling with our parents and we, the kids, would play together. On Easter we visited our relatives, neighbours and family friends, spattering perfume onto the ladies as the custom required. Mother would cook in the kitchen keeping an eye on us while we were doing our homework. Dad used to have a place just for himself in the basement, where he kept his tools and would mend a thing or two in his spare time. There we would also keep the wine, the fruit and vegetables during the winter. My paternal grandfather was a tall handsome man. I loved him very much because he raised me until I went to school. Grandma was a short woman, wearing glasses and a kerchief on her head. She was a bit distant to us, the children. My maternal grandfather was also a tall man; he used to wear a tie at all times. He had been a noncommissioned officer at the prison and therefore he liked discipline and due to his stature he managed to impose it

upon everyone. Grandma, on the other hand, was a gentle woman but she got ill and was bedridden for seven years. Grandpa cared for her all that period though he was also ill. When my brother was born I was four years old therefore I can’t remember too much about that event. But I remember the night when the 1977 earthquake occurred. Mother was bathing my brother in a small bathtub and grandpa and I were watching TV. All of a sudden the pendant started swinging, and the glasses rattling in the cupboard. The TV programme broke in and I remember grandpa asking who was playing with the aerial. But just then he realized it was an earthquake. Mother grabbed my brother and tucked him in a towel and we all got out. As we went down the stairs, the neighbours were all going back to their apartments declaring that the quake ended. Once, we were redecorating our apartment and I went to school in the afternoon. In the morning I assisted the painters and one of them asked for a glass of water and I got one from the kitchen cupboard. In an instant, the cupboard fell over me. I was lucky though as it underpinned on the table and the sink. I was terrified because all the glasses and cups were broken. Indoors, we used to play different board games, chess, cards, ping-pong on the dining-room table. We watched films for children or cartoons; later I had my favourite radio programmes or I just listened to music on my cassette player. My first trip was to Miercurea Ciuc to one of my uncles. I think I was on the second or third grade. I stayed there for two weeks. My uncle took me with him on the building site and sometimes I went with my aunt at the hospital where she worked. I regretted when I had to go home. Mircea Orăsan

Copilăria Am crescut împreună cu fratele meu, cu părinții și cu bunicii din partea tatălui. Toți stăteam într-un apartament cu patru camere. Când eram în clasa I-a, a murit bunicul, iar bunica a plecat la Brașov la unchiul meu. După această, eu și fratele meu ne-am mutat în camera bunicilor. Când am crescut mai mari, eu am trecut în altă cameră, unde aveam biroul, dulapul și patul meu. În familie, deciziile importante, cred ca le lua mama. În fața blocului, mă jucam cu vecinii de bloc, iar în rest, cu câțiva prieteni, colegi de clasă. Fete și băieți, jucam împreună diferite jocuri: elastic, șotron, de-a tata și de-a mama, sau ne plimbam cu patinele cu rotile. Cu colegii de clasă jucam fotbal, ascunsa, iarna jucam hochei și vara mergeam cu bicicletele. În gospodărie, fiind cel mai mare copil, aveam multe responsabilități. Trebuia să fac paturile, să-l duc pe fratele meu la grădiniță. Mai târziu a trebuit să spăl vase, să aspir, să bat covoarele. Mergeam la cumpărături și trebuia să stau la rând la pâine, la carne etc. Nu țin minte să fi sărbătorit ziua mea de naștere în copilărie. În schimb, de Crăciun mergeam la colindat cu părinții pe la prietenii lor, iar noi, copiii, ne strângeam și ne jucam împreună. De Paști, mergeam la stropit pe la rude, pe la vecini și pe la prietenii de familie. Mama făcea mâncare în bucătărie, iar noi în acest timp ne făceam temele împreună cu ea. Tata avea în pivniță un loc al lui, unde își ținea sculele și mai meșterea câte ceva; tot acolo ținea vinul, și peste iarnă, fructe și legume. Bunicul meu din partea tatălui era un om înalt și binefăcut. L-am iubit foarte mult fiindcă, pot spune că el m-a crescut până am mers la școală. Bunica era o femeie scundă, cu ochelari și cu batic. Ea era mai rece cu noi, copiii. Bunicul din partea mamei era și el înalt și binefăcut. Tot timpul purat cravată. A fost subofițer la pușcărie și de aceea era un om căruia îi plăcea disciplina, și prin statura lui, o și impunea. Bunica, în schimb, era o femeie foarte blândă, dar s-a îmbolnăvit și a stat șapte ani la pat. În tot acest timp, bunicul a îngrijit-o și a stat tot timpul lângă ea, fiind și el în pensie de boală. Când s-a născut fratele meu, aveam patru ani, așa că nu îmi aduc aminte de nașterea lui. Țin minte doar seara în care a fost cutremurul din 1977. Mama îi făcea baie în văniță într-o cameră, iar eu cu bunicul ne uitam la televizor. Deodată, a început să miște lustra și paharele din vitrină. La

televizor nu s-a mai văzut nimic și bunicul a întrebat cine umblă la antenă. Apoi și-a dat seama că este cutremur. Mama l-a luat pe fratele meu în brațe, învelit în prosop și am ieșit toți pe ușă. În acest timp, vecinii deja urcau, spunând că s-a terminat cutremurul. Odată, când zugrăveam apartamentul, eu eram de după-masă la școală. Dimineață am rămas singur cu zugravii și unul din ei m-a rugat să-i aduc un pahar cu apă. M-am dus în bucătărie și am luat un pahar dintr-un dulap care era prins pe perete. În acel moment, a căzut dulapul peste mine. Am avut noroc că m-am lăsat jos, iar dulapul s-a proptit pe chiuvetă și pe masă. M-am speriat foarte tare fiindcă s-au spart toate paharele și cănile din dulap. Acasă ne jucam cu mașinile sau diferite jocuri: șah, ”Nu te supăra, frate! ” , Piticot, Sus-Jos, cu cărți joc, tenis de masă pe masa din sufragerie, remi, sau alte jocuri. Ne uitam la filmele pentru copii sau la desene animate. Mai târziu am avut emisiunile mele preferate la radio sau ascultam muzică la casetofon. Prima dată am plecat de-acasă la o mătușă la Miercurea Ciuc, într-o vacanță de iarnă. Cred că eram pe clasa a doua sau a treia. Am stat acolo două săptămâni. Am mers cu unchiul meu pe șantier, sau cu mătușa la spital. Mi-a părut rău când a trebuit să revin acasă.

Mircea Orăsan

Military application I was an artilleryman in the army when, in June, we prepared for a drill with a new cannon. We got at the aiming field and we installed the cannon and then we started target shooting as we were ordered. At sunset, the commander asked for four volunteers to guard the canon and ammunition. I offered to stay, together with other three soldiers. On the mountain behind the camp there were two folds. As the soldiers boarded in the trucks, a shepherd passed by heading the fold. I asked him whether he could give us some milk or cheese. He sent us to the fold but he warned us that we need to take some bats to protect ourselves from the dogs. We drew lots and it was me to go and fetch the milk. I took some bottles and a long and thick stick with me. When I got closer to the herd the dogs surrounded me and I could not pass until the old shepherd called off his dogs. He took me in his hut and I told him why I was there. He was b oiling some corn flour in a big caldron and he offered me some polenta with cheese and cream. He also gave me some milk and cheese. The old shepherd told me how his dogs and donkeys had ran away because of the terrible sound of the cannon and he could hardly bring them back on the mountain. I asked him whether there was something we could give him in return. We gave him some vaseline , gun oil, cans, sugar and some biscuits. The following day, when our colleagues came to the field, we told them about the barter. In the evening, we decided to stay in the camp but we asked for some more canned meat to change them for milk and cheese. They all agreed. Those were four beautiful days spent in the wilderness of the mountain. Mircea Orトピan

În aplicație În armată am fost artilerist. În iunie am plecat în aplicație cu un tun nou. Am ajuns în poligon și am instalat tunul, apoi am executat tragerile ordonate. Seara, comandantul a cerut patru voluntari care să rămână peste noapte de pază la tun și la muniție. Am rămas eu și cu alți trei colegi. Pe muntele din spatele nostru erau două stâne. După ce au plecat militarii cu camionul, a urcat la oi un cioban cu turma de oi. L-am întrebat dacă ne poate da lapte sau brânză. El a spus să mergem la stână că e baciul lui acolo, dar să luăm bâte la noi să ne apărăm de câini. După o tragere la sorți, am plecat eu după lapte. Am luat câteva sticle și o bâtă lungă și groasă. Când m-am apropiat de stână, m-au înconjurat câinii și nu am mai putut trece până nu a venit baciul și a strigat la ei. M-a poftit în colibă și i-am spus pentru ce am venit. Baciul făcea mămăligă într-un ceaun mare și m-a îmbiat să iau din bulzul pe care îl făcuse. Mi-a dat lapte și brânză. Baciul mi-a povestit că dimineaţa i-au fugit toți câinii și măgarii de la stână, fiindcă se speriaseră de zgomotul tunului nostru și abia spre seară i-a adunat de pe munte. L-am întrebat dacă putem să-i dăm și noi ceva în schimb. I-am dat vaselină, ulei de armă, conservele noastre, zahărul și biscuiții. A doua zi, când au venit colegii noștri, le-am povestit ce troc am făcut. Seara nu am vrut să mergem în tabără și am rămas tot noi de pază la tun, dar i-am rugat pe colegi să ne lase și conservele lor de carne, să le dăm ciobanilor, în schimbul laptelui. Colegii au fost de acord. Așa am petrecut patru zile frumoase în sălbăticia muntelui. Mircea Orăsan


Memories I get nostalgic when I remember the years during the primary and secondary school. When I was in the second grade I was accepted among the pioneers and I wore with great dedication the uniform and the tie. Unfortunately, I don’t have a material proof and the tie was lost forever. Later on, when I was a fifth grader I was invested a group commander and luckily I still have the red lace symbolizing that. The classmates appreciated and trusted me. I used to help them with math and I also see to their behavior in the class. Now I realize that it was a great responsibility that I carried on my shoulders successfully. I wish I had had more memories about that period, but it was more difficult to keep a visual record at that time, the possibilities were scarce… But I still have my memories…

Cristina Orăsan


Îmi amintesc cu nostalgie de perioada când eram în școala generală. În clasa a doua am fost primită în rândurile pionierilor și am purtat cu drag costumul și cravata de pionier. Din păcate nu mai am nici o dovadă și nici cravata de pionier nu am mai găsit-o. Mai târziu, în clasa a V-a am fost numită comandant de grupă și din fericire, am găsit șnurul roșu care simbolizează acest lucru. Elevii din grupă mă apreciau și aveau încredere în mine. Îi ajutam la matematică și la unele probleme de comportament. Acum îmi dau seama că a fost o responsabilitate pe care am dus-o cu brio la capăt. Aș fi vrut să am mai multe amintiri din acea perioadă, dar nu erau atâtea posibilități ca acum și astfel, am rămas numai cu amintirile.

Cristina Orăsan


Childhood and adolescence

I spent my first years at my maternal grandparents at the countryside until I was seven years old and went to school. Being the first niece I was privileged and I had a very happy childhood. When I started school I moved back to town with my parents and my four younger brothers. As we lived in a two-room apartment at the time, four of the children shared a room and the youngest of my brother slept with our parents. There was unity in cohesion in our family; decisions were taken by our parents when we, the children, were very young and almost always together as we grew older. We always played outdoors; skipping rope, the hawk and the doves, hideand-seek, and I always chose my own friends. Ever since I was little, I had had responsibilities in the household: feed the birds, bake the bread together with grandma, tidying up and later on, when I was 14, I managed all the household, cooking, feeding the animals, cleaning the house and the yard. I remember the first time I celebrated my birthday with a few friends when I was 18. Christmas and Easter were the most beautiful holidays. On Christmas my best friend and I went caroling and on Easter we went to church at midnight and we broke eggs the following day , first in the family and then with other children on the street. My maternal grandmother was away all through the summer as she cooked the meals for wedding parties. I remember though that in wintertime she would erect her loom in one of the rooms and wove carpets and towels. Grandpa was ill so I only remember him lying in bed at home or at the hospital. Mother was a dressmaker and, because we were so many children, you could always find her in the kitchen, either cooking or sewing. I don’t remember her sitting with us at the table, she would only eat after we had finished, always standing‌ Dad was at work all day. I remember when our youngest

brother was born – Dad took me to the hospital and Mom showed my brother from the second floor hospital window. We spent very little time watching TV, about 10 minute cartoons in the evening and sometimes watching a film on Sunday evening. We usually played outdoors with friends and we used to attend all the cultural events at the City House of Culture because our father worked there. Summers were always spent at our grandparents at the countryside. When I was in the seventh grade I won a free two-week camp holiday in Iasi. That was my first trip out, without my parents and my brothers.



Primii ani din viaţă, mai precis până la începerea şcolii(la 7 ani), iam petrecut la bunicii din partea mamei, care locuiau la ţară. Am fost privilegiată, deoarece sunt prima nepoată a bunicilor şi am avut parte de o copilărie foarte fericită. După începerea şcolii m-am mutat la părinţii mei care locuiau în oraş, împreună cu cei patru fraţi ai mei, toţi fiind mai mici decât mine. Deoarece aveam doar două camere în acea vreme, patru dintre fraţi dormeam în aceeaşi cameră, iar cel mic dormea cu părinţii mei. Am crescut într-o familie foarte unită, unde deciziile erau luate de către părinţi atunci când eram prea mici şi aproape întotdeauna le luam împreună atunci când am crescut mai mari. Jocurile din copilărie erau întotdeauna în aer liber: săritul coardei, uliu şi porumbeii, ascunselea, etc, iar prietenii mi-i alegeam întotdeauna singură. Întotdeauna am avut responsabilităţi, începând de când eram mică, trebuia să dau de mâncare păsărilor, făceam, alături de bunica, pâinea şi cozonacul meu, curăţenia în casă, iar mai târziu, respectiv la 14 ani, efectiv ţineam casa, adică făceam de mâncare, îngrijeam animalele şi făceam curăţenia în casă şi în curte. Ziua de naştere mi-am sărbătorit-o doar la 18 ani cu câţiva prieteni. Cele mai frumoase sărbători din copilărie au fost Crăciunul şi Paştele. Întotdeauna, de Crăciun mergeam la colindă cu cea mai bună prietenă a mea, iar la Paști mergeam la biserică noaptea la ora 12, iar a doua zi ciocneam ouă, prima dată în familie, apoi pe stradă cu copiii. Bunica la care am copilărit, toată vara era plecată deoarece era bucătăreasă la nunţi. Îmi aduc aminte că iarna îşi monta într-o cameră un război pentru ţesut covoare sau prosoape, iar bunicul a fost bolnav aproape toată perioada în care eu l-am cunoscut, deci îl ştiu doar în pat şi la spital.

Mama mea era croitoreasă şi, pentru că eram cinci fraţi, era doar în bucătărie la orice oră o căutai. Ori făcea mâncare, ori cosea la maşina de cusut şi nu îmi aduc aminte să fi mâncat cu noi la masă, mânca întotdeauna după ce mâncam noi şi în picioare. Tata era toată ziua la serviciu. Îmi aduc aminte de naşterea celui mai mic frate, când tata m-a dus la spital, iar mama mi l-a arătat de la etajul doi al spitalului. Foarte puţin ne uitam la televizor, seara, 10 minute la desene animate şi poate duminica seara la un film. De obicei ne jucam afară, cu prietenii. Mergeam la toate spectacolele care se ţineau la Casa de Cultură, deoarece acolo lucra tata, iar în vacanţe mergeam întotdeauna la bunicii de la ţară. În clasa a VII-a, am câştigat o tabără gratuită la Iaşi, pentru două săptămâni. Atunci a fost pentru prima dată când am plecat de acasă singură, fără fraţi şi părinţi.


Motto: “My story is (his)story”.

Escola secundária Marquês de Pombal-LISABONA, PORTUGALIA

Manuel de Sousa Dany


Leonel da Silva





My name is Arlindo da Costa Alves de Carvalho. I was born and raised in the lovely, warm Island of São Tomé e Príncipe in a place with the curious name of Boa Morte (Good Death). I started school at seven, at the “Mesquita school”. When I was eleven I entered preschool at the Patrice Lumumba and at fifteen I decided I wanted to learn auto mechanics, so I entered a vocational school. I then enrolled at national grammar school at seventeen. However luck was not on my side and at nineteen I failed the school year. It was then that I thought about working to help my father which in fact I did. I started working I began working in bus maintenance and lubrication in a garage. But since I was treated as an apprentice with no right to a salary, I left. I entered another garage to learn car panel beating and I earned 50 dobras (the São Tomé’s currency). Nevertheless this amount was still insignificant and I left. My first real job was farming and I worked in a vegetable garden earning two thousand five hundred dobras per month. I even went up to three thousand five hundred dobras per month in agriculture. Then with the help of my father I started working as a gate clerk. There we checked the cargo and merchandise that arrived in and out of the country. One day the mother of the worker in charge of removing the locks from the containers, sadly died and I was asked to take his place during the time he was on leave to mourn his mother’s loss. When he returned I went to the agency to turn over the books, I was overjoyed to learn that they wanted me to carry on doing this particular job. My salary improved a lot and each year I was raised until I reached the eight thousand dobras month.

Meanwhile I carried on with my cultural activity, since I belonged to a São Tomé´s drama group. Because of this I was able to open new doors and went all the way to Paris where we performed “Tchiloli” that is the tragedy of Charles Magne and Prince Carloto. I travelled with my heart full of dreams, leaving my family behind. When we finished our tour in Paris the person in charge of our group contacted Portugal and we travelled to the “white city” of Lisbon where we performed our play. When I left São Tomé I never imagined myself in Portugal but since one of my sisters was already Lisbon, destiny had it is way and so I stayed.

When I ended the touring show the drama group returned to São Tomé and as a way to earn some cash I found several jobs working for a scaffolding firm. In 2001 I decided to start studying again. I began the lower level of the Secondary school, at Marquês de Pombal and everything went smoothly. By 2004, I enrolled in the upper level of the secondary. That same year, I decided to visit my family and relatives, (particularly my parents and brothers) and travelled to my island. I returned in January, 2005. But it was then that my schooling became complicated. The school year was already in progress and as I worked during the day I found it hard to manage both work and school. My biggest difficulties were in Maths, Chemistry and English. Not long after, I quit. The following year I enrolled again, only this time my work gave me no chance to study. I worked outside Lisbon and returned only on weekends. But there was this teacher, Madalena Costa, who encouraged me to return and told me about the “New Opportunities System” .My personal life was going quite well too: in 2007 I married and in 2008 and returned to school. In 2009 my daughter was born and in 2010 I completed the adult Secondary Education. In the same year I managed to get a job in the school where I was a pupil and life was great. But I did not want to stagnate. It had been a while since I had heard of the course of Renewable Energies and I wanted to enroll and complete this course. One day the headmaster ordered me to help out one teacher of the area (Mr. Lobato). That teacher asked me if I would be interested in studying air conditioning and renewable energies and naturally I said Yes. The following year I summoned to study renewable energies and here I am. I hold a huge respect for our school, our teachers, our staff and colleagues. It is my school. It is also my family!!!

Chamo-me Arlindo da Costa Alves de Carvalho. Nasci e cresci na bela e acolhedora Ilha de São Tomé e Príncipe, numa localidade com o curioso nome de Boa Morte. Aos sete anos de idade principiei o ensino primário na “escola da Mesquita”. Aos onze anos entrei no ensino básico na escola preparatória Patrice Lumumba e aos quinze anos quis aprender mecânica auto e para isso entrei numa escola técnico profissional. Mudei para o liceu nacional aos dezassete anos, mas aos dezanove a sorte não me acompanhou e reprovei. Foi nessa altura que pensei em ir trabalhar para ajudar o meu pai e, de facto, fui trabalhar na manutenção e lubrificação de autocarros para uma oficina, mas como era considerado aprendiz e não recebia, abandonei-a. Fui para outra aprender bate-chapas e aí já recebia 50 dobras (dinheiro são tomense) mas mesmo na altura, era um pagamento insignificante e eu tive de deixar o trabalho. O meu verdadeiro primeiro emprego foi na agricultura, trabalhando numa horta e ganhando duas mil e quinhentas dobras por mês. Na agricultura cheguei a ganhar três mil e quinhentas dobras. Depois, com a ajuda do meu pai, consegui arranjar um trabalho de praticante de conferente a bordo dos navios. Nesse emprego, conferíamos as cargas e as mercadorias que entravam e saíam do país. Um certo dia, a mãe do funcionário que fazia a desconsolidação de contentores no porto das alfândegas havia falecido e pediram-me para eu o substituir. Fiquei incumbido de fazer o seu trabalho enquanto o moço estivesse de licença do falecimento da mãe. Quando ele regressou, fui à agência entregar os livros de anotações porque o tempo do compromisso já tinha findado e fiquei muito feliz porque, ao entregar os livros, disseram-me para continuar o trabalho. O meu ordenado melhorou muito e cada ano que passava tinha um aumento já a atingir cento oitenta mil dobras. Mas, entretanto, tinha uma atividade cultural e pertencia a um grupo teatral santomense. Foi por isso que a minha vida me abriu uma porta nova, levando-me até Paris onde representámos a peça do Tchiloli ou tragédia do Marquês de Mântua e do Imperador Carloto Magno. Eu viajava com uma alma cheia de sonhos, deixando a minha família. Quando terminámos a tournée em Paris, o responsável pelo grupo entrou em contacto com Portugal e viajámos até à cidade branca, a cidade de Lisboa para apresentarmos a peça teatral. Quando saí de São Tomé não

tinha ideia de ficar em Portugal, mas como tinha uma irmã já em Lisboa, quis o destino que também por cá ficasse. Quando acabei a tournée, o meu grupo teatral partiu para São Tomé e eu para conseguir algum dinheiro, arranjei alguns biscates até que fui trabalhar para uma firma de montagem de andaimes. Em dois mil e um, resolvi voltar a estudar. Comecei no ensino básico, na escola Secundária de Marquês de Pombal, e tudo correu bem: concluí o básico em dois mil e quatro e matriculei-me no ensino secundário. Nesse mesmo ano resolvi fazer uma visita aos meus familiares (principalmente meus pais e irmãos) e viajei até à minha ilha. Regressei em janeiro de dois mil e cinco. Mas aí os estudos complicaram-se. O ano letivo já ia adiantado, eu estudava e trabalhava e à noite já não conseguia assimilar as matérias. As minhas maiores dificuldades eram na matemática, na físico-química, no desenho e também no inglês, pois era o primeiro ano a estudar essa disciplina. Depressa desisti. No ano letivo seguinte, voltei a matricular-me, só que dessa vez o trabalho não me dava hipóteses de estudar. Trabalhava fora de Lisboa e só regressava os fins-de-semana. Mas houve uma professora, Madalena Costa, que me incentivou a voltar e que me informou de uns cursos novos chamados Novas Oportunidades. A minha vida pessoal também corria bem: em dois mil e sete casei-me e em dois mil e oito voltei à escola. No ano dois mil e nove nasceu a minha filha e em dois mil e dez terminei o curso EFA secundário. Nesse mesmo ano consegui um trabalho na própria escola onde andava a estudar e a vida estava simpática. Mas eu não queria estagnar. Já há algum tempo que ouvia falar de energias renováveis e queria fazer o curso. Como trabalhador da escola, um certo dia o diretor mandou-me ir ajudar um professor da área (o professor Lobato). Esse professor perguntou-me se não queria estudar climatização ou energias renováveis e eu respondi logo que sim e inscrevi-me. No ano seguinte, fui chamado para estudar energias renováveis e cá continuo. Tenho uma grande admiração pela nossa escola, pelos professores, pelos funcionários e pelos colegas. Essa escola já faz parte da minha família. É a minha escola. É também a minha família.

My name is Armando Vuvu Kimbamba, I was born in 1988 in the city of Luanda, the land of the prophetess Kimpa Vita. For my mother it was a moment of joy since I was her 5th son. What she always wished for me was that I would grow up to be happy, hardworking and that I had good health throughout my life. I have 3 sisters and 2 brothers, and I was born in the middle of the civil war which lasted 27 years and maybe because of this, my childhood memories are not the best. I grew up in the town of São Paulo de Luanda. These were difficult times, and one had to pay to be able to attend school. The only way to pay for my schooling was by selling cakes. I used to make the cake dough myself at night and in the morning and when I woke up I had to prepare the fire along with my cousin. Besides this, I also raised chicken. I didn’t like to go to school nor did I like the teacher. I never did get to do my homework so I was always being punished! We were made to kneel with our arms stretched open like Jesus Christ, with one stone in each hand and if you let one of the stones drop, or if you couldn’t remain any longer with your arms outstretched you were whipped. I didn’t have time to play football with my father, to walk with him or to sit on his lap all that much. He came to work in Portugal when I was 4 years old. We stayed behind with our mother but it was as if time had flown by. My mother then had to go to Portugal too; I remember, before she left, she gave me a little piano, and even today I can still remember the sound that piano used to make. The six of us became separated: I, my oldest sister, my youngest sister and my middle brother went on to live with my uncle. My older brother and my other sister went to live with my aunt in down town Luanda and so we only saw each other during the holidays. Between 1961 and 2002, Angola lived through two terrible wars. During these years many ships were abandoned in Luanda and towed to

Santiago beach. Today, this huge ship cemetery has become a meeting place for bathers who are able to enjoy this exotic landscape set in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. I left my country and arrived in Portugal when I was 11 years old and, the first days, I had some trouble adapting!!! I felt cold, I missed my siblings and family, but I also missed the beautiful Luanda because I didn’t know when I would be able to return. On top of this, I was very behind in my schooling. I was enrolled in the second grade and my class was a good one. During my schooling at the Apelação School we had the privilege of being able to visit several historical monuments: the Tower of Belém, the Navy Museum, the Planetarium…and we also had swimming lessons. I love to wrestle it was a way of showing my strength but at the same time to be able to defend the weaker ones, the ones that were bullied and would cry in the corridors. After I finished 4th grade, I had to “move up” and landed in a very complicated class, the worst of the whole school. The pupils sometimes hit the teachers, the school even got mentioned on television as the worst school in the country. By the time I was 23 years old, I had to deal with my documentation problems. I tried to enroll in two schools near my home but this was not possible. I had to have all my documentation in order to be able to continue schooling. But then, the Immigrant Aid Office sent me to the Marquês de Pombal School. Today I am very grateful for the opportunity this school has given me because even without all the documents ready, I was still able to register at the school. Today I am part of this great school, and my colleagues are part of my motivation. In the year 2012 I had another good surprise: our English teacher introduced us to the Grundtvig project “the power of life stories” and we

were invited to take part in this European project where Romenia, Turkey, Belgium, Northern Ireland and Portugal are also part of. It is a great way to get to know other life stories, other cultures and other people. It was with this project that we were able to visit Romenia and it will remain in my memory for ever. This year we have also visited a few museums, the Electricity Museum and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. In 2013 I got my certificate. I feel so proud!!! I hope I can get a good job, here or anywhere in the world. But to be frank, my biggest dream is to get back to my homeland. So I finish my life story saying:

I am a passenger without a ticket Being Angolan is being determined to be happy! In my Angola I don’t need a ticket to be able to circulate. My dream in life is to be happy, have children and a wife that loves me. I want to visit Vila Santa, Nkamba Nova Jerusalem, meet new people, travel. I want to belong to my country and to the world I will come to know. in the meantime.

Chamo-me Armando Vuvu Kimbamba, nasci em 1988 na cidade de Luanda, na terra da profetisa Kimpa Vita. Para a minha mãe foi um momento de alegria por eu ser o seu 5° filho. O que ela mais desejou para mim foi que quando crescesse fosse feliz, trabalhador e que tivesse boa saúde ao longo da minha vida. Tenho 3 irmãs e 2 irmãos, nasci a meio da guerra civil que durou 27 anos e talvez por isso as minhas recordações de infância não sejam as melhores. Cresci na cidade de São Paulo de Luanda. Eram tempos difíceis em que se tinha que pagar para ir à escola. O único meio de pagar os meus estudos era vender bolos. Eu próprio fazia a massa de bolo à noite e de manhã, quando acordava, tinha que preparar a fogueira juntamente com o meu primo. Além disso, também criava galinhas. Eu não gostava de ir à escola nem do professor. Eu nunca fazia o trabalho de casa e por isso ficava sempre de castigo! O castigo não era leve: ficávamos de joelhos com os braços abertos como Jesus Cristo na cruz, com uma pedra em cada mão e quem deixasse cair a pedra das mãos, ou deixasse cair os braços por falta de forças, apanhava com o chicote. Não tive tempo de jogar à bola com o meu pai, de passear com ele ou de me sentar muito ao colo. Ele veio trabalhar para Portugal tinha eu 4 anos de idade. Nós ficámos a viver com a minha mãe, mas foi como se o tempo tivesse voado. A minha mãe também teve que viajar para Portugal: lembro-me que antes de partir, ela ofereceu-me um pequeno piano, e ainda hoje lembro perfeitamente a música daquele piano. Os seis irmãos dividiram-se: eu, a minha irmã mais velha, a minha irmã mais nova e o meu irmão do meio, ficámos a viver com o meu tio. O meu irmão mais velho e a outra irmã passaram a viver com a minha tia na baixa de Luanda e só nos víamos nas férias.

Entre 1961 e 2002, Angola viveu duas terríveis guerras. Durante esses anos, muitos navios foram abandonados em Luanda e rebocados para a praia de Santiago. Hoje, o imenso cemitério de navios tornou-se um curioso ponto de encontro de banhistas que desfrutam dessa exótica paisagem banhada pelas águas do Atlântico. Deixei este meu país e cheguei a Portugal com a idade de 11 anos e, nos primeiros dias, tive algumas dificuldade em me adaptar !!! Tinha frio, tinha saudade dos meus irmãos e familiares, mas também da bela cidade de Luanda, porque não sabia quando é que poderia lá voltar.

Para além disso, eu trazia um grande atraso na escolaridade. Matriculeime na 2ºclasse e tinha uma boa turma. Durante este percurso na Escola Básica da Apelação tivemos o privilégio de visitar vários monumentos históricos como: a Torre de Belém, o Museu da Marinha, o Planetário, o Oceanário…Também tivemos aulas de natação. Eu gostava muito de lutar, era uma forma de mostrar a minha força e, ao mesmo tempo, de defender os mais fracos, os que passavam o tempo a chorar nos corredores da escola… Depois de terminado o 4º ano, tive que passar para a “escola de cima” como é conhecida por todos e fui parar a uma turma muito complicada, a pior de toda a escola !!!! Os alunos por vezes batiam nos professores, a nossa escola chegou mesmo a aparecer na televisão como a pior escola deste país.

Depois, já com 23 anos, tive problemas com a documentação. Tentei inscrever-me em duas escolas próximo da minha casa, mas não foi possível. Tinha que ter toda a documentação para poder voltar a estudar. O Gabinete de apoio aos imigrantes enviou-me para a Escola Secundária Marquês de Pombal.

Sinto-me grato pela oportunidade que me foi dada nesta Escola, pois, mesmo não tendo os documentos todos, aceitou-me a matrícula. Hoje faço parte desta linda escola, os meus colegas são uma parte da minha motivação. No ano de 2012 tive uma boa surpresa: a professora de inglês apresentou-nos o projeto Grundtvig “the power of life stories” e fomos convidados a fazer parte deste projeto Europeu, onde estão parceiros da Roménia, da Turquia, da Bélgica, da Irlanda do Norte e de Portugal. É uma boa maneira de podermos conhecer outras histórias de vida, novas culturas e outros povos. Foi com este projeto que fizemos uma viagem à Roménia que ficará viva na minha memória para sempre. Este ano também já fizemos algumas visitas a museus, nomeadamente ao Museu da Electricidade e à Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. Em 2013 recebi o meu certificado de habilitações. Sinto-me tão orgulhoso! Só espero vir a ter um bom emprego aqui ou em qualquer parte do mundo. Mas, para ser franco, o meu maior sonho é voltar à minha terra natal. É por isso que termino esta história da minha vida, dizendo:

Sou um passageiro sem bilhete… Ser Angolano é ter a determinação de ser feliz! Na minha Angola não preciso de bilhete de identidade para circular! O meu sonho é ser feliz na vida, ter filhos e uma mulher que me possam amar. Quero visitar a vila santa, Nkamba nova Jerusalém, conhecer novas pessoas, viajar. Quero pertencer ao meu país e ao mundo que entretanto possa conhecer.

In 1961, more precisely on the 14th of April, I was born in the old hospital of Almada. At 6 years old I went with my family to France having started my primary education there. I can remember the white snow and the games with other children very well. I can say that I spent a happy childhood, playing with the toys of the time: tops, roller cars made by us, balls to play football, marbles ... Meanwhile I kept studying and I was an average student. Primary education was completed without interruption, and in April 1974, I was in junior school António da Costa in Almada. Very soon, I joined a political party called MRPP. With my entire commitment to this revolutionary movement I neglected my studies, so that year I passed "administratively" like many other students. (This meant that we passed the school year just by attending classes and without final rating.) During the holidays I used to work in the construction, not by necessity but by imposition of my parents since the studies were not going very well. As the grades were not famous I started helping my father who had a restaurant in Trafaria and at the same time, I filled in the form for the 9th grade exam. However, as I failed in Maths, I never completed the 9th grade. Thanks to my knack for design I could, at the time, do a course in Construction Design and participate in various projects . Given my dual nationality, I served in the military service in Spain, in 1980, as a soldier serving the military commander of Avila. I might add that that year was a very enriching experience, both in terms of knowledge of people from other countries, as in terms of seeing the life of the Portuguese people with different eyes and also in personal terms. In 1981, I started working on Metaltagus an ink plant, where I remained for 3 years. One month after the terminus of the contract, I moved to the factory in front , a plant to produce ceramics called Constância”, where I worked for another 3 years .


After the terminus of the contract, I joined the Obrecol Buildings and Construction SA, where I was chairperson of the department budget, and where I remained for 4 years. In this company I met my fiancĂŠ. Meanwhile I was invited to work in Termovouga that trades and instals plasterboards and, the following year, I joined the House of Asphalt, having married my wife as a technician of that company. Here I remained for about two years. I left because I was invited to start a new company, which prospered for six years. During this time I did vocational training in the civil construction area and it was the trainer, engineer Vasco Franca, who made me join the company Gabinepla, where I participated in the construction of seventy villas in “Quinta do Lagoâ€? in the

Algarve (south of Portugal.) This

company, however, went into technical bankruptcy which forced me to change into the Real Estate activities. It was a golden professional era that allowed me to keep a relatively high standard of living. However, the year 2007 and the arrival of the crisis forced me to abandon the real estate industry. I joined another construction company which forced me to do projects in several parts of the country. I can quote the redevelopment of the downtown part of the city of Castelo Branco and the construction of the lower pedestrian walkway of Dukes of Palmela in Cascais. But even this company was forced to terminate the contract with a few hundred workers in 2010 because the crisis had also reached the State










Since then, I have, unfortunately, been unemployed. Currently, I am a worker /an unemployed /a student striving for better skills in order to achieve the minimum conditions to have something to provide for my family.

No ano de 1961, mais propriamente no dia 14 de abril, nasci no antigo hospital de Almada. Aos 6 anos de idade fui com a minha família para França tendo iniciado aí os meus estudos primários. Recordo bem a neve branca e as brincadeiras com as outras crianças. Posso dizer que passei uma infância feliz, brincando com os brinquedos da época: piões, carrinhos de esferas, bola, berlindes… Entretanto, fui estudando e sendo um aluno médio. O ensino primário foi concluído sem interrupções, sendo que em abril de 1974 me encontrava na escola preparatória D. António da Costa em Almada. Desde logo aderi a um partido político chamado o MRPP. Com a minha entrega a este movimento revolucionário descurei os estudos, pelo que nesse ano passei






(Passávamos de ano apenas por frequentar a escola e sem atribuição de classificação.) Durante as férias ia trabalhando na construção civil, não por necessidade, mas por imposição dos meus pais, dado que os estudos não iam muito bem. Como as notas não eram famosas, comecei a ajudar o meu pai que tinha um restaurante na Trafaria e, ao mesmo tempo, propus-me a exame do 9ª ano. Porém, ao reprovar a matemática, fiquei com o 9º ano incompleto. Valeu-me, na altura, o meu jeito para desenho que me permitiu fazer um curso de desenhador projectista da Construção Civil, tendo participado em vários projectos. Dada a minha dupla nacionalidade, em 1980, fui cumprir o serviço militar a Espanha, sendo impedido do comandante militar em Ávila. Posso acrescentar que esse ano foi uma experiência muito enriquecedora, quer a nível de conhecimento de outros povos e por ter passado a encarar a vida dos Portugueses de outra forma, quer a nível pessoal. Em 1981, comecei a trabalhar na Metaltagus“ Fábrica de tintas”, onde me mantive durante 3 anos. No mês seguinte ao do terminus do contrato, ingressei na fábrica “Cerâmica Constância”, durante outros 3 anos. Após

este contrato, ingressei na Obrecol Obras e Construções SA, onde fui assessor do departamento de orçamento, e onde me mantive durante 4 anos. Nessa empresa conheci a minha atual companheira. Entretanto, fui convidado para trabalhar na Termovouga, firma que se dedicava ao comércio e montagem de placas de gesso cartonado e no ano seguinte ingressei na Casa dos Asfaltos, tendo contraído matrimónio com a minha esposa enquanto técnico da CA. Aqui me mantive durante cerca de dois anos. Saí porque fui convidado para iniciar uma nova empresa, a qual prosperou durante seis anos.

Durante esse tempo efetuei uma formação profissional de encarregado da Construção Civil e, através do Engº Vasco Franca (formador), ingressei na empresa Gabinepla, onde participei na construção de setenta moradias na Quinta do Lago, Algarve. Essa empresa, entretanto, entrou em falência técnica o que me obrigou a dedicar ao imobiliário. Foi uma época profissional muito feliz que me permitiu manter um nível de vida com uma certa qualidade. No entanto, o ano de 2007 e a chegada da crise obrigou-me a abandonar o ramo imobiliário. Ingressei na empresa ACA, Sa que me obrigava a deslocar para obras em vários pontos do país. Destaco a requalificação do centro de Castelo Branco e a construção da passagem pedonal inferior Duques de Palmela, em Cascais. Mas mesmo esta empresa teve de rescindir contrato com algumas centenas de trabalhadores, em 2010, porque a crise também chegou ao Estado e também as obras públicas foram interrompidas. Desde aí tenho-me mantido (infelizmente) desempregado. Atualmente, sou um trabalhador/desempregado/estudante a lutar por melhores qualificações de forma a conseguir ter o mínimo para oferecer à minha família.


I was born in the newly independent country Guinea-Bissau, in the Cacheu region more precisely in a town called Pelundo, a place full of hardship and poverty with people still chained by the plight of the fierce war between the Guineans and the Portuguese.

It was there, in a small but harmonious village, that among the trees I started Primary School and went on until the 4th grade. After those first letters, I went to Bissau, the capital, in order to continue my schooling. But I met with great difficulty in adapting, because it was a different school and because there were more subjects and it was more demanding. However I was able to overcome these obstacles and in 2001 I finished the 10th grade of the Guinean School System.

In 2002 I decided to train as a Nursery School teacher, an idea set by the Evangelical Cultural Foundation (FEC), a Portuguese organization linked to the “Guiné-Bissau School+Project” with a duration of three years.

I was born into a big family with little money so it was hard for them to give me the kind of life they would have wanted me to have. The political situation in Guiné-Bissau didn’t help towards the country’s development; the State administration was badly run. Seeing that the establishment had no real wish to help its young people, I made the very hard and difficult decision to emigrate so as to be able to better my living standards, strengthen my knowledge and culture, and to fulfill one of my dreams: get professional training that would guarantee my future.

Before coming to Portugal, I experienced the harshness of agricultural work in the rice paddies and did all kinds of farm work with having my parents near me to help.

In my homeland, Guiné-Bissau, we speak Crioulo, Portuguese is spoken only at school and in the workplace. In Portugal I am living a very different culture from what I was used to, only Portuguese is spoken, I am learning subjects that I had not heard of before, nor would have ever been able to learn about back home. Alongside my studies I am also doing work in construction as a helper doing things I didn’t know how to do before. I can’t say it’s easy, it’s really hard actually but it is necessary.

Here, far away I miss my family but one day I will return to be with them taken by the sea of my eyes and quench this thirst with an embrace of tenderness. 2


no jovem país independente Guiné-Bissau, na região de Cacheu, situada a norte, concretamente numa vila que tem como nome Pelundo, um sítio habitado por pessoas com enormes dificuldades, acorrentadas pelas neblina que foi a feroz guerra entre os guineenses e os portugueses. Foi ali, nesta pequena mas harmoniosa vila, que entre as árvores frequentei os meus estudos do ensino primário e concluí a quarta classe. Depois dessas minhas primeiras letras, fui para Bissau que era a capital, para poder ter acesso ao ensino básico, mas aí tive grandes dificuldades de adaptação aos estudos, por ser uma escola diferente e mais exigente com diversas disciplinas. Porém, consegui ultrapassar esses obstáculos e no ano de 2001 concluí o décimo primeiro ano do ensino guineense. Em 2002, resolvi fazer uma formação de educador de infância, aposta da Fundação Evangélica e Cultural (FEC), uma organização portuguesa ligada ao “Projeto+ Escola da Guiné-Bissau”, com uma duração de três anos. Eu nasci de uma família muito numerosa e que não tinha condições financeiras, sendo pois muito difícil darem-me uma vida digna e luzente como eles desejavam. A situação política e social na Guiné-Bissau também não favorecia o desenvolvimento, havia uma má administração do Estado. Vendo eu que essa máquina estatal não tinha qualquer interesse em ajudar os seus jovens, decidi com grande mágoa emigrar para mudar e melhorar as minhas condições de vida, para fortalecer os meus conhecimentos e cultura e também concretizar um dos meus sonhos: ter uma formação profissional, que garanta o meu futuro. Antes de vir para Portugal, aprendi a árdua dureza da agricultura com o cultivo do arroz, e com outros cultivos, e todo o tipo de trabalho relacionado com a vida do campo sem ter os meus pais comigo para me ajudarem. Na minha terra natal, Guiné-Bissau, a língua que se fala é o crioulo, a língua portuguesa é falada só no ensino escolar e nos locais de trabalho. Em Portugal, estou a viver uma cultura diferente da do meu país, só se fala português, estou a aprender matérias que nunca tinha aprendido, nem iria ter a oportunidade de aprender. Além disso, estou a fazer alguns trabalhos na construção civil, como ajudante, trabalhos que eu não sabia fazer antes. Não posso dizer que é fácil, é até muito duro, mas a necessidade é mais forte. Aqui, longe, sinto saudades dos meus familiares, mas um dia penso voltar para junto deles levado pelo mar dos meus olhos e saciá-los com um abraço de ternura.


I was born in the most beautiful island in the world where cocks sing at dawn. The bells in the Church of the Madonna of Light were tolling, announcing my birth but I, myself, kept silent so as not to wake the kids up. I could have been born in a barn like Jesus, couldn’t I?, but I preferred to be born in the most important hospital in Cape Verde, located in the city of Mindelo, in the Island of São Vicente. I was born at 00.10 on the 4th July. People tell me it is the Independence Day of the United States of America and because it is such an important date for the world I was offered another day of birth: the 3rd July, a day important for my country because it is the Independence Day of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau. (We fought a war against Portugal and Amilcar Cabral was our hero). I celebrate both birthdays. When I was a child I used to like visiting my friends’ home, that “drum house” made of tin cracked barrels and wood, so poor, but which was the place where we had magical moments because when I am with my friend, everything changes. I had so many friends in my childhood!!! I was a terrible child, one of the most terrible children that my parents had already seen! But yes, I was very clever, though I wanted to do things unlike others, I mean, my own way. My parents struggled hard to convince me to go to school. The reason I didn’t like school was perhaps because the teacher hit me badly or because she demanded too much from me. I was not what you call a bad student but she wanted me to do better and better. She used to say I was good at Maths, though at Portuguese I was not so good. I managed Sciences well. At the age of nine, everything changed. I moved to Sal island to join my father. When I arrived to Sal I had to get used to new colleagues, I had a new teacher in a different school and another very different reality. I was quite a wanderer!!! Nothing or nobody could fasten me to the house for one only minute. But because of that, my father gave me a real spanking. I rebelled and I headed straight to the television station to complain. I was even on TV for it. Life always has sad things lurking and two other bad

things that affected me were the death of my grandfather and immediately after it, the death of my uncle who I was very close to. In my good memories I keep the image of me being a kid when my father went with me for a drive, sat me on the driver’s lap, trying to teach me how to drive. I grew up with “Capoeira” and sport, learning how to walk by myself. The first thing I wanted to be in life was to be an airplane pilot, but everybody was taking that delicious routine of thought away from me as they said: “That is for rich people, not for you!” Damn rich folks that crushed my dreams! I also wanted to be a car mechanic, as others were always spoiling my toy cars saying that I was going to fix them. And then there was my irreversible crush on sailing the seas. Thus with so many sea routes, I longed to be a Navy Captain. In the Sal island I finished the 4th grade and made many friends. Back to Saint Vincent, a new life awaited. I started wearing a uniform at school as if I were in the army. (And our school was near the army barracks). Everything was going so well, when a debilitating illness incapacitated me to the point where I was unable to continue my schooling In Cape Verde. When I was 19, I had to be assessed for military service. I was lucky enough to be rejected due to skin problems. Had I been recruited I would not be here in Portugal on the 24th of February 2012. That’s life. When I arrived in Portugal, all the houses seemed the same, and I still remember as if it was today that great moment that I was experiencing. I had never been on a plane before. From then on, everything became much easier. Upon my arrival in Portugal, things adquired a different rythm. I enrolled at the Marquês de Pombal School where I have continued my studies in a very agreeable way. This school seemed a little like my old school in Cape Verde but here, one does not need to wear a uniform nor have to tuck one’s shirt up. It is much more relaxed, which is how we should feel. One of my most memorable experiences here was the chance to take a trip to Romenia and also be able to pass through Germany because of the

Grundtvig project. We had to face a lot of hurdles during the trip, from the Embassy that made us sign a document that made our Romanian hosts responsible for our behaviour to all sorts of

unpleasant situations on the

German border and further still when we got to Romania. (They withheld our passports and we had to wait until they checked whether our passports where legitimate or not.) But‌ was well worth it. In Romania, we found loads of friendly people who made us feel extremely welcome and this is what matters most. For me, these hurdles work as targets, they are a victory against prejudice, the way to go forward. And God who is fair is with His own and knows of us all. Here in Portugal, I see a different situation when comparing to other countries. It is very much every man to himself and God for everyone, and in public transport you get in silent and get off also silent. People are feeling sad and all they talk about is the crisis, the crisis and the crisis. I have my certificate of basic schooling now but I would like to keep on studying. I was not allowed to enroll in day classes because of my age so I am waiting for the evening courses to be reopened. I keep on believing that happiness is an art form and so it does not matter whether you are rich or poor. You have to work on building meaningful friendships and collecting fond memories.

Nasci na Ilha mais bela do mundo onde os galos cantam pela madrugada. Batiam os sinos da igreja, anunciando a minha vinda à face da terra quando eu nasci e nem quis fazer barulho para não acordar os putos. Poderia ter nascido num estábulo como Jesus, mas eu preferi nascer no hospital mais importante para Cabo Verde que fica situado na cidade de Mindelo, em São Vicente. Nasci às 00:10 do dia 4 de julho de 1992. Dizem que o dia em que eu nasci é o dia da independência dos Estados Unidos da América e por ter nascido num dia tão importante para o mundo, no registo ofereceram-me mais um dia: o dia 3 de julho que é importante para Cabo Verde porque é o dia da independência de Cabo Verde e da Guiné Bissau. (Nós travámos uma guerra contra Portugal e Amílcar Cabral foi o nosso herói). Eu festejo os dois aniversários. Quando era criança, gostava de ir a casa dos meus amigos, aquela casa “de tambor” feita com latas de bidons rachados e madeira, tão pobre, mas onde realizávamos momentos mágicos porque quando estou com os meus amigos tudo se transforma. Tinha muitos amigos de infância. Era uma criança terrível, das piores que os meus pais já tinham visto! Mas, sim eu era muito inteligente apesar de querer fazer as coisas ao “contrário”, ou seja, ao meu jeito. Havia um longo esforço dos meus pais para me convencerem a ir à escola. Talvez eu não gostasse da escola por a professora me bater muito ou porque exigia demais de mim. Não é que eu fosse mau aluno, mas ela queria que eu me esforçasse sempre mais. Ela dizia que eu era bom aluno a matemática, apesar de achar que em português era mais fraco. Em ciências, eu “mandava-me” bem. Com nove anos, tudo mudou. Fui para o Sal, para ir viver com o meu pai. Quando cheguei ao Sal, tive de arranjar novos colegas, tive uma nova professora numa escola diferente, outra realidade muito diferente daquela em que vivi. Eu andava por demais! Nada nem ninguém me conseguia prender em casa por um minuto que fosse.

Por isso, levei uma das piores sovas da minha vida, dada pelo meu pai; fiquei revoltado e fui queixar-me à televisão. Até apareci na televisão por causa dessa queixa e do estado em que o meu pai me deixou… A vida tem sempre coisas tristes à espreita e duas outras que me marcaram muito foram a morte do meu avô e logo de seguida a do meu tio, a quem eu era muito ligado. Nas memórias boas guardo a lembrança de quando era pequeno e o meu pai me levava para dar voltas de carro e me punha ao colo do motorista, tentando ensinar-me a conduzir. Vim crescendo com a capoeira e o desporto, aprendendo a andar com os meus próprios pés. A primeira coisa que eu queria ser na vida, era ser piloto de avião, mas todos me vinham tirando sempre essa gostosa rotina porque me diziam: “Isso é coisa para ricos!” Raio de ricos que atrapalhavam os meus sonhos… Também queria ser mecânico e estavam sempre a estragar os meus carros, dizendo que eu os ia “acomodar”. … Também meu gosto para navegar nos mares era irreversível. Assim de tantas “vias” no mar, eu queria ser capitão. No Sal tirei a 4ª classe e fiz muitos amigos. De volta a São Vicente, vida nova. Comecei a usar farda como um tropa. (E ficávamos perto do quartel das tropas). Estava tudo a ir às mil maravilhas, mas uma doença que teimava em não se curar tornou-me incapacitado para continuar a frequentar a escola em Cabo Verde. Com 19 anos, tive de ir fazer inspeção para a tropa. Tive sorte e fiquei inapto, devido a problemas de pele. Se eu tivesse ido, jamais estaria aqui em Portugal. Cheguei em 24 Fevereiro de 2012. É a vida. Chegando a Portugal, parecia-me que as casas eram todas iguais, ainda lembro como se fosse hoje aquele grande momento que tinha acontecido. Nunca tinha andado de avião, era a minha primeira vez. Mas afinal, tudo tem a sua primeira vez. A partir dali, tudo foi mais fácil. Com a chegada a Portugal as coisas tomaram um ritmo diferente. Entrei na Escola Marquês de Pombal onde tenho prosseguido os meus estudos de uma forma muito legal. Esta

escola parecia-se um pouco com a minha escola de Cabo Verde. Aqui não é preciso usar farda nem colocar a “fralda dentro”, aqui a coisa é outra. À vontade, que é assim que nos devemos sentir. Uma das experiências marcantes que aqui tive foi a oportunidade de viajar para a Roménia e de ter passado pela Alemanha por causa do projeto Grundtvig. Durante a viajem tivemos que enfrentar muitas barreiras desde a Embaixada da Roménia em Portugal que nos obrigou a assinar um documento que responsabilizava os nossos anfitriões romenos pelos nossos atos; depois tivemos que enfrentar na fronteira da Alemanha várias situações desagradáveis, logo mais à frente chegámos à Roménia e voltámos a ter problemas. Eles retiveram os nossos passaportes e tivemos que esperar para que eles verificassem se os passaportes eram verdadeiros ou não. Mas…tudo isto foi compensado. Na Roménia, encontrámos uma gente muito simpática que nos acolheu e tratou bem e isto é que é o mais importante de tudo. A mim, as barreiras servem-me de metas, são vitórias sobre o preconceito, são o caminho sempre em frente. E Deus que é justo, está com os seus e é ele quem sabe de todos. Aqui em Portugal, vejo uma situação diferente da que se vive nos outros países. É cada um por si e Deus por todos e, nos transportes, entra-se mudo e sai-se calado. As pessoas andam tristes e só falam na crise, na crise e na crise. Agora, tenho o certificado do ensino básico, mas eu queria continuar a estudar. Não me deixaram matricular nas aulas de dia por causa da minha idade e por isso estou à espera que os cursos da noite reabram. Continuo a acreditar que a felicidade é uma arte que se cultiva e que não importa se se é rico ou pobre. Temos que viver a construir boas amizades e acolher boas recordações.

My name is Fernando and I was born on the 28th of December 1968 in Lisbon that is a city close to the sea and I am now forty six years old. I like nature, specially animals with all their varieties and the way they evolved and adapted to their environments, although I still prefer to see them in the wild where they belong and not on cages. I love my two children Margarida and Fernando and I am proud of them for all the joy that they bring to me. We like to go on trips and visit the country during the holidays in each other’s company and see the landscape around the different places where we stay. At the moment I work as a technician of air conditioning and refrigeration and we have an eight hundred Kw cooling chiller that is one of the two units existing in Portugal at the most important technical universities in Lisbon: IST that graduates most of our engineers and technicians in the country. In my professional area we can never work alone so it’s always team work, for my professional area we also need to be certified to work with the fluids that are very dangerous for our environment. These fluids contain Fluor that destroys the Ozone so we are required to be very responsible in keeping the machines functional and without leaks due to the danger of the fluids inside, also we need to collect the illegal fluids that still work in some machines for destruction so that they can’t do any harm to the environment. As a student I had some difficulties due to my dyslexia problems. In those days no one used to help the dyslexic students so I had to leave the studies earlier due to that fact. One of my bigger problems were with foreign languages like English, today I am a little rusty but by getting help here and there from my colleagues I am able to write a little bit better and make them have sense. Due to this dyslexic problem I was forced to abandon the studies but I almost completed the secondary school. I felt the need of improving my writing, reading and communicational skills because I was doing too many repetitive tasks every day, so I came back to my school where I studied as a child and I found a refrigeration and air conditioning course. I am very pleased to enter this course because I have nice classes and colleagues that help me improve.

O meu nome é Fernando Rodrigues, nasci no dia 28 de dezembro de 1968 em Lisboa, uma cidade perto do mar, e tenho 46 anos de idade. Gosto da Natureza e gosto de animais e das suas espécies diferentes, do modo como evoluíram e se foram adaptando ao ambiente, apesar de continuar a preferir vê-los soltos no seu habitat do que em jaulas. Amo os meus dois filhos, Margarida e Fernando e tenho tanto orgulho neles pelas alegrias que me dão!!! Gostamos de fazer viagens nas férias, de percorrer o país inteiro na companhia uns dos outros e de ver as paisagens diferentes dos sítios onde ficamos. Neste momento, trabalho como técnico de ar condicionado e refrigeração onde existe um frigorífico de arrefecimento de 800Kw e que é uma de duas unidades existentes em Portugal, localizada numa das mais importantes universidades técnicas de Lisboa: o IST que forma a maioria dos engenheiros e técnicos deste País. Na minha área profissional nós não podemos trabalhar sozinhos, mas sim em equipa. Precisamos também dum certificado próprio que nos dá a habilitação para trabalhar com aqueles fluídos extremamente perigosos. Estes fluídos contêm o flúor que destrói o ozono, logo é um trabalho de grande responsabilidade que requer uma constante vigilância para assegurar que não há fugas. Temos de recolher e destruir todos os fluídos ilegais que ainda existam nalgumas máquinas, de forma a que não prejudiquem o ambiente. Enquanto estudante, tive alguns problemas de dislexia. Nesse tempo ninguém tinha formação para apoiar os alunos com este problema de maneira que acabei por largar os estudos cedo demais. Um dos meus problemas maiores era com as línguas estrangeiras como por exemplo o Inglês: hoje estou um bocado enferrujado, mas com ajuda aqui e ali dos colegas sou capaz de escrever um pouco melhor e escrever coisas com sentido. A dislexia forçou-me a abandonar a escola, mas ainda assim já tinha o Ensino Secundário quase completo. Senti a necessidade de melhorar ainda mais a escrita, a leitura e a comunicação verbal uma vez que estava a executar demasiadas tarefas repetitivas diariamente, de forma que, ao decidir regressar à escola, a mesma escola da minha infância, fiquei feliz. Aqui, existe também um curso de refrigeração e ar condicionado e estou muito contente por me ter inscrito neste curso. As aulas são boas e os colegas também: ambos concorrem para me ajudar a progredir.

It was on the twentieth December, in 1961, that I first saw the white beautiful and sparkling light of Lisbon in the picturesque neighborhood of Ajuda. My family was made up of people with little or no formal education. Nevertheless they were very important in my upbringing as was my baptismal godfather who was crucial and whose influence was paramount. To him I owe the humble name of António and the fact that he was very helpful toward my own professional career.

At the time, my country lived under a critical political regime, involved in a colonial war with no reason or logic and enforced by the dictatorship’s own free course. Many people were caught up in that political web and were detained for speaking out against this state of affairs. Many ended up incarcerated in Tarrafal, an infamous prison in one of Cape Verde islands, where they were silenced by the dust of time.

My father worked at the Army's General Offices, and because of the war fever so prevalent then, he ended up having to go to Lourenço Marques, in Mozambique, today called Maputo. A few months later, my mother, brother and myself joined him there by ship. (“Perfect Prince” it was named)

The time I spent there was of great significance to me. There, I spent a happy period of my short infancy, finding my own space as an observer of a sky full of different sounds and colours, and of a rhythmic African people which was what, much later and as a self-taught painter, enabled me to apply oil brushstrokes fulfilling the dimension of my own self in a free area that we can call “the art of painting”.

I began school in October of 1968, and everything I learnt regarding letters and numbers were of great value later in my professional life. When I reached the 9th grade I decided to quit and started working in

order to make some money and get my driver’s license and buy my first car. This was the sort of reckless behaviour youngsters have for not listening to “grown-ups”. That was my first fall and at the same time my first entry into employment.

I began working as an electrician in a firm that no longer exists nowadays. When I first arrived there, I was asked what school I had attended. It was the Secondary School of Marquês de Pombal which then was high up in the official school rankings. So I was accepted and worked there until my Military Duties were required and compulsory. I ended up in the Regiment of Lanceiros of Lisbon. This was a period of my life where the loneliness of watching little tin soldiers pointlessly riding around in horses numbed me. When my Military Service duties ended, I got work in a factory that made scales. There I worked with a machine that rectified metal components: work conditions were not great, the smell of metal that filled the air was toxic and very intense, and to make matters worse none of us were made to wear protective mask to safeguard of health.

After one year of this hard and thankless work my godfather and second father, offered me the chance to go and work with him, as he had recently opened a car stand in the Estoril area. I didn't hesitate and accepted this immediately.

By now it was 1985, and life was not as rosy as the beautiful carnations of the 25th of April’s revolution had promised to be. I lived with my parents and didn't think of leaving that loving nest: I wanted to be by their side to help them in case of need.

At the car stand I used to help prepare cars to put them on display, and I also helped with the actual sales and external support such as dealing

with the legal paper work in the Registry Office, taking them to garages for repairs etc. It was a job that helped me achieve good relationships and communication skills with clients of all walks of live. This was very positive for me. At a certain point the idea was to branch out and become importers of auto-caravans. My boss and godfather asked all workers if we would agree to this and we all did.

The process to get this going began and new larger venues were acquired near the Estoril Racing Circuit. In the factories I became acquainted with the whole manufacturing and assembling of the autocaravans.

I was given the responsibility of the technical side of the business. I was working alongside other people and a new life was beginning to take shape for me. New doors were opening in order to meet new people from other countries and cultures such as Italians and Spaniards which was where these auto-caravans were made, as well as other foreign autocaravanists in the area of general assistance. My job, besides managing the service included doing a whole lot of other things such as repairs in the driving compartment hub, repairs in the electrical system, the assembly of accessories, solar panels, satellite dishes, central heating, accident repairs where I had to come in contact with the insurance companies. The years I worked there were very important on all sorts of levels. Then the firm expanded south where every week I gave assistance.













unemployment became the inevitable reality. The heir to the firm decided to end it and it was traumatic to watch the sadness of so many workers layed off with no hope of daily bread.

And because of finding myself jobless I decided to return to school, to solidify my knowledge and I went back to my first school, the MarquĂŞs de Pombal, this amazing house of knowledge where I have just written my modest life story.

Foi a vinte de Dezembro de mil novecentos e sessenta e um que no pitoresco bairro da Ajuda na branca e bela cidade de Lisboa contemplei, pela primeira, vez a luz cintilante do dia luzente. Os princípios da minha educação foram adquiridos num seio familiar composto por pessoas de poucas letras, mas que foram importantes para o meu crescimento e que me tornaram no adulto que sou. Também o meu padrinho de batismo, que me deu este nome simples de António, foi um homem muito importante e influente na minha educação e contribuiu para a minha carreira profissional. Na época, o país vivia os seus dias sob um regime político muito complicado, envolvido numa guerra colonial sem lógica, forçada pela corrente da ditadura. Eram muitas as pessoas que ficavam detidas nessa teia política organizada, por falarem contra o regime e que eram mesmo levadas para o cativeiro do Tarrafal, situado numa ilha de Cabo Verde. Muitos desses prisioneiros acabavam por lá, calados pelo pó do tempo. O meu pai trabalhava nas Oficinas Gerais do Exército e devido à febre louca da guerra no ultramar foi para a antiga e bela cidade de Lourenço Marques, Moçambique, hoje, Maputo. Alguns meses mais tarde, a minha mãe, o meu irmão e eu fomos para junto dele, numa viagem inesquecível no esbelto paquete Príncipe Perfeito. Foi marcante esse tempo que vivi em Moçambique; lá passei feliz um pedaço da minha pequena infância, encontrando o meu próprio espaço duma vocação como observador de um céu coberto de sons e cores e de um povo africano cheio de ritmos alegres, para mais tarde poder aplicar pinceladas de óleos, como autodidata, preenchendo a minha dimensão num espaço livre, na expressão da arte de pintar. Iniciei os estudos em Outubro de 1968. Todo o saber das letras e números que adquiri formalmente foi importante para o meu percurso na vida profissional. Quanto cheguei ao nono ano decidi não seguir os estudos para ir trabalhar. Queria ganhar dinheiro para adquirir a carta de condução e comprar um automóvel, ambições de qualquer jovem que

não quer ouvir os mais velhos. Foi a primeira queda que dei e o meu início no mundo do trabalho. Trabalhei inicialmente na construção civil como eletricista, numa firma que já não existe (Ilídio Monteiro). Quando me dirigi à empresa para procurar emprego fizeram-me algumas perguntas, eu disse o que sabia fazer e o que aprendi nesta escola onde estudei e que na altura tinha o nome









credenciada. Assim fui admitido e lá trabalhei como eletricista até à minha entrada para o cumprimento do serviço militar obrigatório em 1982, onde assentei praça no Regimento de Lanceiros de Lisboa. Foi um interregno no tempo e no espaço que pararam na solidão de ver soldadinhos de chumbo às voltas num corcel de morte e de indefinição!

Quando terminei o serviço militar, fui trabalhar para uma fábrica de balanças (António Pessoa) e aí laborava com uma máquina de retificar peças metálicas. As condições de trabalho não eram boas: na secção da mecânica onde eu manobrava, o cheiro do metal que andava no ar era muito intenso e tóxico e nós, os funcionários, não tínhamos máscaras de proteção para utilizar; éramos forçados a respirar aquele ar que tão mal fazia à nossa saúde. Ao fim de um ano de trabalho espinhoso e árduo na fábrica das balanças, a pessoa que me deu o nome, o meu padrinho de batismo e meu segundo pai, veio convidar-me para ir trabalhar para a empresa dele, pois tinha aberto um stande de automóveis na zona do Estoril. Não hesitei, não quis dar mais nenhuma queda e aceitei o convite. Corria o ano de 1985, a vida das pessoas não se tornara tão fácil como tinham sonhado nos cravos mais belos de Abril. Eu vivia com os meus pais e não pensava abandonar aquele afável ninho porque queria estar sempre ao lado deles para os ajudar. No stande de automóveis tinha a responsabilidade de apoiar na preparação dos automóveis para serem expostos no stande, de auxiliar

nas vendas e no apoio externo, como por exemplo ir às conservatórias para o registo dos automóveis, levar os carros às oficinas etc. Este emprego contribuiu de uma forma muito positiva para a minha forma de ser porque comecei a ter uma maior relação e comunicação com pessoas de vários extratos sociais. A certa altura, o meu padrinho pensou em ser importador de autocaravanas novas (carros equipados com uma estrutura habitacional). Então, como bom patrão, pediu um parecer a todos os funcionários que com ele trabalhavam. Esse mega projeto teve a concordância de todos. Neste contexto, foi realizado todo um processamento de contactos para se principiar o novo projeto. Abriram-se, junto ao autódromo do Estoril, umas novas instalações, com maior espaço. Com a minha ida às fábricas onde eram feitas as autocaravanas, tive conhecimento de todo o processo de fabrico e de montagem. Na firma foi-me dada a responsabilidade pela parte técnica, assistência e reparação; na parte da oficina tinha comigo a laborar mais pessoas. Estava a iniciar um mundo novo de trabalho, iam-se abrir as portas para conhecer e comunicar com novas pessoas de outros países e de outras culturas, principalmente com espanhóis e italianos -porque era onde se produziam as autocaravanas- e com os auto-caravanistas estrageiros que possuíam as marcas que nós representávamos, devido à assistência. A minha tarefa, além de dirigir o serviço, era fazer um pouco de tudo: ajudar nas reparações e montagem dos painéis da célula, avarias elétricas e nas montagens dos acessórios como painéis solares, parabólicas, aquecimento central.

Nas reparações causadas por acidentes, tinha que, primeiro, entrar em contacto com as seguradoras e elaborar um orçamento. Os anos em que trabalhei como técnico de autocaravanas foram importantes para o aprofundamento das minhas aprendizagens e conhecimentos de algumas técnicas de trabalho. A firma começou a expandir-se para o sul

do país, Algarve, onde eu tinha que me deslocar todas as semanas para prestar a assistência necessária. No ano de dois mil e onze, a triste morte do comandante da firma foi como uma barreira que apareceu e que trouxe o desemprego ao meu encontro. O herdeiro quis eliminar a empresa e foi uma enorme tristeza ver tão bons funcionários ficarem sem o seu pão! Em consequência deste final tão amargurado, de estar no desemprego sem hipótese de trabalho, eu resolvi voltar aos estudos para consolidar os meus conhecimentos formais. Assim, regressei e encontro-me a frequentar a minha antiga e grandiosa casa do saber, que me levou a escrever esta modesta autobiografia.

My name is Hugo Alexandre Gonçalves Furtado, I am 38 years old and I am from Lisbon. I am the son of Maria Fernanda Gonçalves who was born in a village in the north of Portugal in the district of Guarda, and of Boaventura Mendes Pina Furtado who was born in Cape Verde, in Santa Catarina in the island of Santiago. I am divorced and have no children. I live in Loures. I think of myself as a humble person, aware of the socio-economic problems around me, I am quiet reserved and very responsible. I am stubborn but I always accept constructive criticism be it in the work environment be it at a personal level. I work in Lisbon, in an University that teaches engineering called Instituto Superior Técnico, as a air conditioning technician in the maintenance department. My work consists in making sure the air conditioning equipments, the ventilation equipments, the automation equipments and the electrical switchboard components are maintained and repaired whenever necessary. I work with a team of four technicians who are spread out among several places connected to the University from Alameda to Tagus Park, Sacavém and at last the on-campus housing. I also help other colleagues that are part of the nucleus such as electricians. At the moment I am taking a course in the evenings on refrigeration and air conditioning in order to develop my skills and improve my knowledge thus enabling me to become even better at my work. I have very little spare time but whenever I can I practice sport; or I go on a hike or do some mountain cycling. It’s a good way of relieving everyday stress and a good way to avoid sedentary habits. This year I would to go on a trip to Cape Verde and meet the relatives I have not yet met. What I want is to get to know my father’s African roots.

Chamo me Hugo Alexandre Gonçalves Furtado, tenho 38 anos e sou natural de Lisboa. Sou filho de Maria Fernanda Gonçalves, nascida numa aldeia do norte de Portugal, no concelho da Guarda, e de Boaventura Mendes Pina Furtado, nascido em Cabo Verde, nomeadamente na ilha de Santiago, natural de Santa Catarina. Sou divorciado e não tenho filhos. Vivo em Loures. Caracterizo-me como uma pessoa humilde, simples e ciente dos problemas económicosociais da atualidade, sou uma pessoa reservada e responsável. Sou teimoso, mas aceito críticas construtivas tanto a nível laboral como a nível pessoal. Trabalho em Lisboa numa universidade de formação de engenheiros que se chama Instituto Técnico Superior como técnico de climatização no núcleo de manutenção. O meu trabalho consiste em manutenção e reparação dos equipamentos de climatização, de equipamentos de ventilação, de equipamentos de automação e de quadros elétricos de climatização. Trabalho com uma equipa interna da universidade com quatro técnicos distribuídos pelo pelos vários polos em que esta universidade funciona desde o polo da Alameda, passando pelo polo de Tagus park, pelo polo de Sacavém e finalizando nas residências desta universidade. Quando é necessário também presto auxílio a outros colegas que fazem parte do núcleo de manutenção do “Técnico”, como os eletricistas. De momento, frequento um curso noturno de climatização e refrigeração para que as minhas competências a nível teórico e prático aumentem e se desenvolvam mais a nível técnico para que possa ser um melhor profissional. O meu tempo livre é muito escasso, mas quando posso faço um pouco de desporto: ou uma caminhada ou um passeio de BTT. É uma forma de libertar um pouco o stress do dia a dia e de não criar rotinas sedentárias. Este ano gostava de fazer uma viagem até ao Arquipélago de Cabo Verde e conhecer a ilha de Santiago e familiares que nunca conheci. No fundo gostarias de conhecer as raízes africanas da parte do meu pai.

I was born on the 6th of April 1962, on the Santo Antão Island in Cape Verde. I was born in a small house and already had a brother and a sister. My mother had me baptized while I was still a baby. Because our council didn’t have a church, the priest would go to the primary school to perform the Christenings followed by the usual party. Even today and in this moment, I still keep fond memories of that green space where I was born and raised. I remember goats, pigs and chicken being raised in great numbers to help provide for our family. Today there is less cattle because my father lives on his own and he no longer has my mother to help him and on the other hand, the droughts that have affected the island have destroyed all agriculture. Even today, no cars can go in that area, there are no roads, all we have are dirt tracks that we can either walk or go by donkey. However the isolation today is lesser since we now have electricity and telephones. We do have a lot of trouble seeing television because it is hard to capture the satellite. When the sea is calm, we are able to reach other places in the island by boat. Internet has been a great discovery for me, now that I am abroad (living in Portugal.) Through the internet I have been able to “discover” and “find out” about my homeland in a new way. It makes me happy to be able to find so many photographs of my home place because this would have been impossible previously. Going back to the time I was a baby, memory tells me that both my mother and father left to work at dawn break. I remember when I was around four years old I was left along with my younger siblings at my great-grandmother’s home. At that age I already felt the responsibility of looking after them and making sure they didn’t fall over. My greatgrandmother was nearly blind so I had to rely on my small arms to drag my siblings away from danger.

The work stopped no more. Long before I went into Primary School the chores I had to do more often were: going to fetch water in the stream and carry it on my head to water the tobacco crop; I also swept the house and corridors. Not long after I was grounding corn between two stones and taking bran from the pestle. (I still have the calluses in my hands from those times.) I was 6 when I went to Ribeira Alta School which was not very far from my home. I didn’t have any trouble learning. I was especially fond of Maths and felt really proud to be able to teach the older ones the times tables. I liked my teacher and we were all friends in our class like one big family. My first daughter was born when I was 21 but my life remained full of hardship and hard work. Afterwards, I returned to São Vicente and became a road sweeper for the municipal council. Because of a problem I was having with my shoulder, I left that job and began work selling fish and later, vegetables. I almost had no life as a teenager. I had my 4th Grade exam on the 17th of July 1974 and passed. Much to my disappointment I didn’t carry on studying because that would mean being sent to São Vicente Island and my parents could not afford this. My only option was a life of hard work. My only consolation was being able to earn 15 escudos working for the State as a mason. In 1979, I ran away from home to São Vicente looking for my first real job. I fell ill and had to return to my Island and had to go back to working in construction sites. I returned to school around 1997 and finished the 6th grade. As before, I loved school very much, and here I am again learning all I possibly can with great enthusiasm, as always. In 1992 my second child is born, a boy, Dany Jorge. He was followed by Givany in 1996 and lastly Thierry in 2001. Meanwhile my eldest daughter Hermínia had married and left for Portugal. It was then that she got me a work contract in 2010 and that same year I made the trip here.

My ability to adapt is good and I am good at being able to make contact with people so I found it easy to integrate, although I missed my children very much who I had to leave behind. Fortunately I have been able to keep the same job and have kept stable and was able to return to my studies in 2011. The course I enrolled in had a project called “the Power of Life Stories”. Thanks to that project we were able to travel to a completely new country which I very much enjoyed: Romenia! I was made to feel very welcome. Although I did not know the language, my teachers helped us communicate and this way I was able to speak to everybody. When May arrived, it was time to greet the Romanian and all the other European guests here in Portugal. It was a great joy to have had them here and I hope they’ll want to return. We did a lot of schoolwork and took them to see some sights, and tried to make them feel very welcome. For my part, aside from walking about with them and being present in the work sessions, I took part in a play along with my classmates where I told part of my life story. I also cooked a meal of “cachupa” so they could get a taste of food from Cape Verde. All I wish now is for this project to carry on so that people can gain new knowledge. I will continue to be a simple housemaid but what I hope for my future is being able to travel a bit more and provide a good life for my children, to live in health and also be surrounded by happiness and joy.

Nasci no dia 6 de abril de 1962, na ilha de Santo Antão em Cabo Verde. Nasci numa pequena casa em que já existia um irmão e uma irmã. A minha mãe baptizou-me ainda eu era muito bebé. Como a nossa freguesia não tinha igreja, o padre deslocava-se à escola primária para realizar os baptizados e fazia-se a festa habitual. Ainda hoje, e neste momento, guardo gratas memórias daquele espaço verde onde nasci e cresci. Recordo-me da criação de cabras, porco, galinhas em grande número para sustento da nossa família. Hoje, já há menos gado, porque o meu pai já vive sozinho e não tem mulher que o ajude e, por outro lado, as secas que assolaram a ilha destruíram a agricultura. Ainda hoje não andam automóveis por aquela zona, não há estradas, há só caminhos por onde vamos a pé ou de burro. Contudo hoje o isolamento é menor porque já há luz, telefone. Temos dificuldade em ver televisão porque há muita dificuldade em apanhar o satélite. Quando o mar está manso nós vamos de bote para as outras zonas da ilha. A internet tem sido uma descoberta para mim. Através dela tenho conseguido “descobrir” e “ver “ a minha terra de outra forma. Fico feliz por ver tantas fotografias da minha terra natal porque lá era impossível conseguir ver da mesma maneira. Recuando ao tempo em que era bebé, a memória diz-me que a minha mãe e o meu pai saíam de madrugada para trabalhar. Lembro-me que por volta dos meus quatro anos eu já ficava a acompanhar os meus irmãos mais novos na casa da minha bisavó. Já nessa altura sentia que tinha a responsabilidade de tomar conta deles e de os amparar para não caírem. A minha bisavó era quase cega e, mesmo só com os meus bracitos de 4 anos arrastava os meus irmãos para os afastar dos perigos.

O trabalho não mais parou. Muito antes de eu entrar na escola primária as tarefas que eu tinha de fazer mais vezes eram: ir buscar água à ribeira e carregá-la à cabeça para regar a quinta de tabaco; também varria a casa e os corredores. Não tardou muito passei a ralar o milho entre duas pedras e a tirar o farelo no pilão. Ainda hoje noto os calos nas mãos que fiz nessa altura. Tinha seis anitos quando fui para a escola da Ribeira Alta que não era muito longe da minha casa. Não senti dificuldades na aprendizagem. Gostava principalmente de matemática e ficava vaidosa por ir ensinar os mais velhos já que eu estava adiantada e sabia muito bem a tabuada. Gostei da minha primeira professora e erámos todos amigos na turma, como se fossemos uma grande família. Fiz o exame de 4º ano a 17 de julho de 1974 e fiquei aprovada. Com pena minha, não estudei mais porque os pais tinham que me mandar para São Vicente e não tinham possibilidade. Não me restou outro remédio senão a vida dura de trabalho. A única consolação era poder ganhar 15 escudos por trabalhar para o Estado como ajudante de pedreiro. Em 1979, fugi de casa para São Vicente à procura do meu primeiro emprego a sério. Adoeci e tive de voltar para a minha ilha e lá tive de voltar a trabalhar nas obras. Tive a minha primeira filha aos vinte e um anos, mas sempre com uma vida de dificuldades e trabalho duro. Mais tarde voltei para São Vicente e tornei-me varredeira da câmara. Por problemas num ombro saí desse trabalho e tornei-me vendedora de peixe e mais tarde, de hortaliças. Quase não tive vida de adolescente. Retomei os estudos por volta de 1997 e concluí o 6º ano. Como sempre tive muito amor à escola, cá estou eu de novo com gosto em aprender tudo o que puder, como sempre me aconteceu. Em 1992, nasce o meu segundo filho, Dany Jorge. Seguiu-se o Givany em 1996 e por último o Thierry em 2001. Entretanto a minha filha mais velha, Hermínia, tinha casado e vindo para Portugal. Foi então que me arranjou um contrato de trabalho em 2010 e fiz nesse ano a viagem para cá.

A minha capacidade de adaptação é boa e tenho facilidade de contactar com as pessoas por isso a minha integração aqui não foi difícil, apesar das muitas saudades que sentia dos filhos que lá tinha. Felizmente não precisei de variar muito de emprego e tenho-me mantido estável e pude regressar aos estudos no ano de 2011. No curso onde me inscrevi havia um projeto internacional chamado “O Poder das Histórias de Vida”. Por causa desse projeto pudemos viajar para um país completamente desconhecido e de que gostei muito: a Roménia! Lá fui muito bem recebida. Apesar de não saber falar a língua, os meus professores ajudavam-me a comunicar e assim eu ia falando com todos. Apesar de eu não saber comunicar, fiz muitos conhecimentos. Em maio chegou a altura de os recebermos cá em Portugal. Para mim foi uma grande alegria e espero que eles queiram voltar ao nosso país. Fizemos muitos trabalhos na escola e fizemos algumas visitas e recebemo-los o melhor que pudemos. Eu pela minha parte, além de passear com eles e de estar nas sessões de trabalho, fiz um teatro com os meus colegas em que contei parte da história da minha vida e até fiz um jantar de cachupa para eles provarem a comida cabo-verdiana. Foi bom poder colaborar para o bem estar e o divertimento do grupo. Agora só desejo que este projeto continue no tempo para as pessoas poderem ter outros conhecimentos. O meu obrigada a todos os professores que organizaram e a todos os colegas com quem partilhámos a viagem e a todos os que nos acolheram e aos parceiros que nos acompanharam no desenvolvimento do trabalho e nos passeios. Para o meu futuro, o que eu mais desejo é poder viajar muito e dar uma boa vida aos meus filhos e viver com saúde mas também com alegria à minha volta !!!

I am Ismael Tchemba the son of Isaias Manuel Iala and of Quinta Louim, born in 1986 in the town of SĂŁo Domingos, GuinĂŠ-Bissau. When I was 9 years old my grandmother took me to the village where she lived 40 Km away from the town where I was born. At 10 I started primary school and that same year I began helping my grandmother in the rice paddies so that the harvest would be a good one and avoid the birds ruining the crop. I also helped shepherd lambs and cows; in 1998 at 14 I finished primary school. At the time, there was a famous military conflict going on which became known as the "7th of June". That year I returned to live with my parents in Canchungo, an administrative town in the North. When I was 15 my father enrolled me in the 4th grade at a catholic school because he didn't believe I had already completed primary school. At this school I was one of the best pupils because my father was also a teacher there and would make me study hard and would punish me by slpapping my hands if I got things wrong. At 16 I began secondary school and even though I respected my father a lot and always tried to follow his advice I was at a difficult age and began doing things he did not approve of such as going out at night and going to the disco. At 18 I started grammar school in the secondary level, and there I was much better behaved. I began to seriously think about my future, because my dream was to go to University and get a degree in Administration because I would like to administrate my country and make a difference in a land where up to now impunity reigns. I often talked about politics with my father and society and the faults of our country. He adored the idea of seeing his son doing something for our country. But, at the time, his salary was not good, so unfortunatly I was not able to pursue this dream.

At 22 I concluded secondary school and went off to Bissau, the capital, where most of the higher education schools were located. It was there that I applied to study History and Geography, because I wanted to save up money to be able to get into University. I was accepted but I had to leave in the second year due to health resons, a serious kidney problem, so I left everything and came to Portugal to seek treatment. On arrival everything worked out well, thank God, the One I always ask for help in times of need. I am now studying Renewable Energies with the aim of finding a job that will pay for my education in the area that is my passion. What would be of us if we don't believe in our dreams?

Sou Ismael Tchemba filho de Isaias Manuel Iala e de Quinta Louim, nascido em 1986 na cidade de São-Domingos na Guiné-Bissau. Com 9 anos de idade a minha avó levou-me para a vila onde vivia a 40 km da cidade onde eu nasci. Com 10 anos comecei a frequentar o ensino primário nessa vila e nesse mesmo ano ajudei a minha avó a cuidar das plantações do arroz para que a colheita fosse boa, para que os passarinhos não estragassem as colheitas. Também ajudava a pastorar as ovelhas e bovinos; com 14 anos terminei o ensino primário em 1998. Na altura houve um conflito militar famoso denominado “7 de junho”. Nesse ano, voltei para junto dos meus pais em Canchungo, uma cidade administrativa na zona norte. Com 15 anos o meu pai matriculou-me na 4ª classe numa escola católica, porque não acreditava que eu já tinha concluído o ensino primário. Nesta escola eu era uns dos melhores alunos porque o meu pai era professor dessa escola e obrigava-me a estudar em casa e era exigente e castigava-me com umas palmaditas nas mãos se eu não soubesse. Já com 16 anos iniciei o ensino básico e, apesar de eu respeitar muito o meu pai e tentar seguir os seus conselhos, estava numa idade difícil e comecei a fazer algumas coisas de que ele não gostava, como sair à noite e ir a discotecas. Com 18 anos de idade iniciei o liceu, ou melhor, o ensino secundário, aí já com mais juízo. Comecei a pensar mais a sério no meu futuro, porque o meu sonho é frequentar a faculdade e formar-me na área da administração porque quero administrar o meu país e fazer a diferença num país onde reina a impunidade. Sempre conversei com o meu pai sobre política e sociedade e comentei sempre com ele os defeitos do meu país. Ele adorava a ideia de me poder ver fazer alguma coisa pela terra onde nasci. Mas na altura, o seu ordenado era baixo e, infelizmente, não foi possível seguir esse sonho.

Com 22 anos concluí o ensino secundário e fui para Bissau, a capital, onde se concentrava a maioria das escolas superiores. Foi aí que me candidatei para estudar história e geografia, porque queria dar aulas e juntar o dinheiro para poder pagar a faculdade. Entrei no curso, mas no segundo ano abandonei, por motivos de força maior e tive que deixar tudo para vir para Portugal tratar um problema renal. Cheguei aqui e tudo correu bem, graças a Deus a quem eu peço ajuda e que sempre me ajudou. De momento, estudo energias renováveis com intenção de conseguir um emprego para poder pagar os meus estudos na área que é a minha paixão. O que somos nós se não acreditarmos nos nossos sonhos?

I was born on the 14th day of November in the year of 1964 in a remote village in Beira Alta. In 1970, I was enrolled in the local school with the hardships of those times. My father had emigrated to France, but after five years he came back home and left behind his life as an immigrant. But‌the hardships of the rural life were still present and so as to improve our lives, in October 1971, I travelled to Lisbon with my parents. I entered primary school in Loures (a suburb near Lisbon) where I managed to complete the 4th grade. At that playful age, with my classmates my favourite hobby was walking though the mountains collecting birds nests. I completed the 6th grade in 1979. My parents had two children and not enough money to make it possible for me to continue studying. As the eldest one, I had to start work at 15 at a locksmith. In my next job, also as a locksmith, I decided to marry and raise a family in the year of 1995. In 1998, I fathered my first child, a daughter. However the company where I worked at changed its activities. I was unemployed in 2002, much to my sadness for having to leave the job I had grown fond of in the production of electrical switchboard panels. Of these 15 years of work I keep the most wonderful memories once the atmosphere among my co-workers was so good. Then began what I consider to have been a dark period in my professional life. I went through six temporary work companies and one of these did not even pay its workers so I had to depend on the unemployment insurance fund. With little qualifications I was 6 months without any work. I took the chance to complete my 9th year at school under the "New Opportunities" scheme. I managed to find work in a firm in the same branch and worked there

for six years, but due to the big economic downturn that hit Europe and the rest of the world, the company was not able to keep up with the costs and once again I was made redundant. I decided to try the Renewable Energies course at the MarquĂŞs de Pombal School. In my social life I am somewhat reserved but I consider myself a normal person with good taste. I try to make the best of each day and of what life gives me, I like to spend my free time practising sports, football and athletics and going out with the family. I would love to complete this course. I have not given up being able to fulfill the life I have dreamed for myself.

Nasci aos 14 dias do mês de novembro do ano de 1964, numa aldeia do interior da Beira Alta. No ano de 1970 fui matriculado na escola da freguesia com as dificuldades da época. Meu pai tinha emigrado para França, mas ao fim de cinco anos deixou a vida de imigrante e regressou. Mesmo assim, as necessidades do meio rural continuavam e, para mudar de vida, viajei com os meus pais para Lisboa. Dei entrada numa escola primária do Concelho de Loures (perto de Lisboa) em Outubro de 71, onde completei com aproveitamento a escolaridade até à 4ª classe. Com idade para a brincadeira com os colegas, o meu hobby preferido era andar pelas serras aos ninhos de pássaros. Completei o 6º ano em setenta e nove. Os meus pais tinham dois filhos e não tinham dinheiro para me deixar continuar os estudos. Eu, como filho mais velho, comecei a trabalhar com quinze anos, numa serralharia. Já na segunda empresa do mesmo ramo, resolvi constituir família e casei no ano de noventa e cinco. Em noventa e oito fui pai de uma menina, mas a empresa onde trabalhava mudou de atividade. Fiquei desempregado no ano dois mil e dois, com muita tristeza, por ter deixado aquela profissão de serralheiro de bancada na área de produção de quadros elétricos, a que me tinha afeiçoado. São muitas as recordações que guardo dos quinze anos em que trabalhei naquela empresa porque o ambiente de trabalho entre colegas era ótimo. Deu-se início ao que eu considero um período negro na minha vida profissional. Passei por seis empresas de trabalho temporário, uma das empresas onde prestei serviço não pagava aos empregados, e acabei no fundo de desemprego. Com poucas habilitações, passei por um período de seis meses sem arranjar trabalho. Aproveitei para concluir o 9º ano nas “Novas Oportunidades”. Arranjei trabalho numa empresa do ramo e durante seis anos trabalhei lá, mas com a entrada da crise profunda que atingiu o nosso país e a Europa, a empresa não suportou as dívidas e encerrou portas no fim do ano de 2012, donde, mais uma vez, passei a contribuir para o aumento da taxa de desemprego.

Com poucos recursos

profissionais, resolvi alargar

a minha área de

formação e entrei num curso EFA de energias renováveis na escola Secundária Marquês de Pombal. Na minha vida social sou um pouco reservado, mas considero-me uma pessoa normal e de bom gosto. No dia a dia tento aproveitar ao máximo o que a vida me proporciona, gosto de ocupar os tempos livres no desporto (em futebol e atletismo) e a passear com a família. Na minha formação profissional, gostava de completar o curso EFA de energias renováveis. Ainda não desisti de um dia ver realizada a minha verdadeira vida.

I was born in the summer of 1962 in a poor and humble village in Portugal. As a baby, I moved to Lisbon where my father found a job after a time. He worked at the Port of Lisbon. Very early on, I began working as a hydraulic technician, and I was around machines all day and became familiar with all of them. But when the chance arose to take my pilots license I did not hesitate, because this had always been one of my dreams. But I was a proud youngster and all the jokes that my own family made about this idea made me quit. In 1983, I enlisted in the Portuguese Navy, in order to serve the mandatory military service where I learnt how to swim, all about infantry and armament. When I boarded the “Captain JoĂŁo Beloâ€? NRP Frigate, in 1983, I could deal with all the machinery even though I always had someone to supervise me. We made several trips along the coast of Portugal to ensure that the fishing boats had all the requirements needed (fire extinguishers, rubber rafts, and life jackets in check and up to date), as well as ensuring they were using the proper fishing nets and were fishing the fish they were licensed to. But I did not limit myself to doing this work. I would use my hours of rest and would take my bicycle so as to be able to visit the place I had just docked at. I cycled many kilometers sometimes with friends, other times on my own. I would usually choose the more attractive tourist routes of each place. I rode up many mountains to be able to admire those little lagoons. Since the whole scenery was very natural and since I knew how to cross fields and land I got to appreciate the most wonderful of picture perfect views you can imagine. As an added bonus, this enabled me to get a lot of physical exercise too, which was very good for my health considering the time at sea is quite a sedentary one. I travelled all over Europe. I had thought that not being able to speak other languages would be an obstacle but this never stopped me from not going to these places. I met other people and travelled to new places on

my bike and even on public transport, where I would buy postcards to send to my girlfriend. I returned inland to enroll a course to enable me to become a Machine Drivers Technician which has nothing to do with driving vehicle. This knowhow was to be used in the ships and on land. This course is mandatory if you want to go thorough and reach up to a higher position in the Navy. But inquisitive and restless as I was, I didn’t stop here. I also did some work in the refrigerating repairs of the vessels as well as the air conditioning maintenance. In 1987 on the 27th of February, in the L.D.S. 203 BACAMARTE Launch I set sail again. I was responsible for the outboard engines and for the fuel. We sailed many times along the Portuguese coast, as well as the Azores Islands and Madeira. It was a small vessel with only of 26 men. I would take my bicycle and diving equipment and I would use both as often as it was possible. On the 21st of May 1991 my first child was born, a girl, Sara. It wasn’t easy giving my wife all the support she needed. The ship was ready to leave and they did not want me to set foot on land. I hardly had time to see her. When I returned, my daughter ran away in fear; only the following day did she get to call me daddy. This is the difficult part of life, being able to meet all of our demands! Later on I ended up divorcing. In 1994 I went to the Hydrographic Institute of the Currents and Seas Division. All this was new to me and it had nothing to do with what I had learnt in the Navy. I became responsible for the installation and the follow up of the national sea graphic network and I was responsible for the device that enabled the direct reading of currents. We were supposed to make charts to foresee the

tides. It was a struggle and I had to learn fast. I took it upon myself to innovate by placing the stands of the sea graphs. Using my experience as a driver I would even fix things under water (drilling holes, placing nuts and bolts and keeping the equipment shipshape.) I learnt how to handle the current devices “Brestok”, to do the maintenance and small repairs, improving their stands. I also learnt how to level, and all this work required a lot of mathematical knowledge, but my boss, a teacher of Applied Maths did a good job teaching me everything I needed. I was invited to lecture hydrographic courses in the area of oceanographic instruments and in the devices I mentioned before of direct current reading. Between 1993 and 1998, I was responsible for the maintenance of the National Oceanographic network and also gave courses of hydrography. I accomplished all this despite having only studied up the 6th grade! As you may have already noticed I have always loved the sea and everything about it. After having started snorkeling (without air tanks) and watching the sea life I started to practice underwater hunting, (where I only hunted what I ate). Seeing the other drivers with their oxygen tanks who could look at the marine life closer I ended up buying the proper equipment. I became a close friend of Rui Guerra, an underwater photographer, and we began diving together and in one of those many dives in the Berlengas islands he invited me to become a photographic model. I accepted and I became both a model and an underwater photographer. Many and many national and international prizes were achieved by us both! But I wanted more: I enrolled in an Underwater Archeology Course which I didn’t complete but where I learnt a lot. Nowadays I volunteer between 15 and 20 days a year in several projects. I took part in the finding of the “Clipper Termopylae” (the sister vessel of the famous Cutty Sark, which was sunk by mistake and whose exact location nobody knew). I’ve kept all the records and videos of this event broadcasted in several channels of the Portuguese television with great pride. Finding it was a great joy and this

event was all over the media worldwide. I also researched and prepared the U-963 project, a World War II submarine that was abandoned when the war

was over, and so as to avoid the enemy getting hold of it, sinking was the frequent solution, and this took place near Peniche. I still find time to go kayaking and to repair compasses and sundials. I have for sure some faults. But my energy and will to live are boundless. Every human being is different. I am unique in the Universe. No one, however close to me has lived my own experiences. Only I can set my own destiny. However much someone tries to interfere with my life they are only helping me to become myself. What I am trying to say by this, is that I won’t give up doing the things I love, and even if someone tries to make things complicated for me, or if they try to deceive me, as sometimes has been the case: sometimes, at work, there are bosses who instead of making things easy they do their best to make everything as complicated as possible. We become saddened and fail to understand how is it possible for people with this level of responsibility to be in charge at all. In 2011, I entered a process called “validation and certification of pre-acquired knowledge” at the Marquês de Pombal School and was able to get equivalence to the 9th grade. At the moment, I intend to conclude the Renewable Energies Course at the same School. My future is now a little more exciting and promising, even if the responsibilities are higher than before, but this has never been a problem for me, I’ve always liked a challenge and I’ve never shunned responsibility.

Nasci no Verão de 1962 numa aldeia muito humilde e pequena de Portugal. Vim morar para Lisboa ainda bebé e o meu pai veio a empregar-se no porto de Lisboa. Cedo fui trabalhar como mecânico de hidráulica e mexia em máquinas todos os dias. Mas quando surgiu a possibilidade de tirar o brevet de aviões não hesitei, porque era um dos meus sonhos. Mas eu era um jovem orgulhoso e as piadas que a própria família fazia sobre isso, fizeram-me desistir.

Em 1983, ingressei na Marinha de Guerra Portuguesa, para cumprir o serviço militar e aí aprendi natação, infantaria e armamento. Quando embarquei no navio Fragata NRP, Comandante João Belo, em 1983, já mexia em quase tudo o que era máquinas, apesar de ter sempre a supervisão de alguém. No Continente, fizemos várias navegações ao longo da nossa costa, para verificar se os pescadores tinham todo o equipamento (extintores, balsas e coletes salva vidas dentro do prazo) e também se usavam as redes corretas e se pescavam o peixe para o qual tinham licença. Mas eu não me limitava a trabalhar. Roubava horas ao descanso e levava sempre a minha bicicleta para poder visitar um pouco mais do local onde iria atracar. Fiz muitos quilómetros, umas vezes acompanhado, outras, sozinho. Procurava sempre visitar os pontos mais turísticos de cada sítio. Subi muitos montes para ver pequenas lagoas. Como paisagem corresponde sempre a natureza, sabia bem andar pelos campos e apreciar os panoramas únicos, dignos de muitos postais. Como consequência, ia fazendo exercício físico, o que era muito bom para a minha saúde, porque a vida de embarcado é um pouco sedentária.

Fiz viagens por toda a Europa. Julgava que não saber falar línguas seria um obstáculo, mas isso nunca foi motivo para não conhecer outros países. Conheci outras pessoas e passei por outros locais, de bicicleta ou mesmo nos transportes públicos, onde comprava postais que escrevia para a minha namorada. Voltei a terra para tirar o curso Técnico Complementar de Condutores de Máquinas, que nada tem a ver com conduzir viaturas.

Os conhecimentos iriam ser aplicados nos navios e nas unidades em terra. Este curso é obrigatório, para se poder entrar para os quadros da marinha. Mas, curioso e irrequieto como era, não me fiquei por esta área. Também passei a trabalhar numa secção de reparação das câmaras frigoríficas dos navios e dos ares condicionados. Voltei a embarcar, a 27 de Fevereiro 1987, na Lancha de Desembarque, L.D.G. 203 BACAMARTE. Era o responsável pelos motores forda borda e combustíveis. Fizemos muitas navegações na nossa costa, Açores e Madeira. Era um navio pequeno, com apenas 26 homens. Levava a minha bicicleta e o material de mergulho e usava-os sempre que possível.

A 21 de Maio de 1991, viria a nascer a minha filha, Sara. Não foi fácil conseguir dar apoio à minha esposa. O navio ia sair para o mar e não me queriam deixar vir. Mal tive tempo para a ver. Acabada a navegação e, de regresso a casa, a minha filha fugiu com receio de mim; só no outro dia me chamou “papá”. É o lado difícil da vida, conseguir conciliar tudo! Mais tarde, acabei por me divorciar.

Em 1994, fui para o Instituto Hidrográfico, Divisão de Mares e Correntes. Era tudo novo para mim. Não tinha a ver com o que tinha aprendido na marinha. Fiquei a ser o responsável pela instalação e funcionamento da rede maregráfica nacional e responsável pelos correntómetros de leitura direta. Deu luta, mas depressa tive que aprender. Fui inovando a colocação dos suportes dos marégrafos e, aproveitando a minha experiência como mergulhador, ia fazendo trabalhos mesmo de baixo de água (fazendo os furos, colocação de pernes e manutenção dos equipamentos). Aprendi a manusear os correntómetros, Brestok, a fazer manutenção e pequenas reparações, melhorando os suportes. Aprendi a fazer nivelamentos, com Nível Automático Universal NAK2 e digitais. Todos estes equipamentos e trabalhos requeriam muita matemática, mas o meu chefe, professor de matemática aplicada, encarregou-se de me explicar.

Fui convidado a dar aulas nos cursos de hidrografia, na área de instrumentação maregráfica e correntómetros de leitura direta. Entre 1993 e 1998, fui o responsável pela manutenção da rede maregráfica nacional e pela instrução aos alunos dos cursos de hidrografia. Tudo isto, tendo apenas o 2º ano do ciclo preparatório como escolaridade! Como já devem ter percebido, sempre gostei muito do mar e de tudo o que ele envolve. Começando por fazer apneias, vendo os peixes e toda aquela vida, comecei por praticar caça submarina, (uma caça mais seletiva e onde se mata só para comer). Vendo que os outros mergulhadores com garrafas podiam observar a vida marinha de mais perto, acabei por adquirir o equipamento apropriado. Torneime amigo de Rui Guerra, um fotógrafo aquático, começámos a mergulhar juntos e, num dos muitos mergulhos nas Berlengas, ele fez-me o convite para ser modelo fotográfico. Eu aceitei e tornei-me ao mesmo tempo modelo e fotógrafo submarino. Foi assim que muitos, muitos prémios nacionais e internacionais surgiram para este “dueto”. Mas eu queria mais: fui tirar o curso de Arqueologia Subaquática em 2002, que não completei, mas onde aprendi imenso. Atualmente, participo como voluntário, cerca de 15 a 20 dias por ano, em vários projetos. Participei no achado do Clipper Termopylae (um barco “irmão gémeo” do famoso Cutty Sark que foi afundado por









orgulhosamente as reportagens das televisões RTP, SIC e TVI, revistas, jornais e










acontecimento foi divulgado pela nossa imprensa e pela dos restantes países. Também pesquisei e preparei o projecto U-963, um submarino da segunda guerra mundial que foi abandonado quando a guerra acabou e, para o inimigo não se apoderar dele, era normal afundá-lo, o que aconteceu, perto de Peniche.

No meio disto tudo ainda me sobra tempo para passeios de Kayak e para reparar bússolas e relógios de sol. Tenho, decerto, vários defeitos. Mas energia e vontade de viver não me faltam!

Todo o ser humano é diferente. Eu sou único no Universo. Ninguém, por muito próximo que de mim esteja, viveu as minhas experiências. Só eu posso traçar o meu destino. Por muito que alguém interfira na minha vida, apenas está a ajudar-me a ser eu próprio. Quero dizer com tudo isto, que agora não desisto de fazer aquilo que pretendo, mesmo que me tentem dificultar, ou me tentem enganar, como já aconteceu. Por vezes, no trabalho, há chefes que em vez de nos facilitar nos dificultam a vida e as formações de aprendizagem e de valorização profissional. Ficamos tristes e não percebemos como é que há pessoas com responsabilidade que ainda pensam assim. Em 2011 inscrevi-me no processo de validação de conhecimentos, na Escola Marquês de Pombal e, provando as minhas competências fiquei com a equivalência ao 9º ano de escolaridade. Atualmente, pretendo concluir o Curso de Energias Renováveis de nível secundário, na mesma escola.

O meu futuro, agora, torna-se um pouco mais aliciante e prometedor, embora as responsabilidades sejam um pouco maiores do que as que tenho atualmente; mas isso para mim nunca foi um problema, pois sempre gostei de novos desafios e nunca me mostrei renitente perante as responsabilidades que tenho que assumir.

My name is Manuel António Carrão Vieira de Sousa and I am 54 years old. I`m married and I´ve three children whose names are Ana, Hugo and Beatriz. th

My qualifications are the 12 grade and at this moment, I am doing a course in renewable energies. I think it is interesting because we can think about the problems of the planet. I also have two jobs: one is technician of electricity and the other is Chief coordinator of the maintenance of the public tram-cars in Lisbon. I was born in the area of Ribatejo, near a town called Tomar, in a little village named Corujo, where I go to visit my mother and to “recharge my batteries” in direct contact with the fields.

My father is dead and so for that I have a strong relationship with my children. I hope at any time to be a grandfather.

I live in Seixal, a town situated in the south side of river Tagus, in front of Lisbon. This land was inhabited by Romans and Muslims in the old times, people that developed the agriculture, the fishing techniques and the pottery.

I feel proud of the place where I live, of my roots, of my family and I suppose I can say I am a happy person.

O meu nome é Manuel António Carrão Vieira de Sousa e tenho 54 anos. Sou casado e tenho três filhos chamados Ana, Hugo e Beatriz. As minhas qualificações são o 12 º ano e neste momento, estou a fazer um curso na área das energias renováveis. Eu acho que é um curso interessante porque podemos refletir sobre os problemas do planeta. Além disso, ainda tenho dois empregos: o primeiro é ser técnico de eletricidade e o segundo é ser coordenador chefe da manutenção dos elétricos de Lisboa. Nasci na região do Ribatejo, perto de uma cidade chamada Tomar, numa pequena aldeia chamada Corujo, onde vou visitar a minha mãe e onde vou sempre que preciso de " recarregar baterias " em contato direto com o campo e com a natureza. O meu pai já faleceu e talvez por isso eu tenha uma relação muito forte com os meus filhos. Um dos meus maiores desejos é vir a ser avô em breve. Vivo no Seixal, uma cidade situada no lado sul do rio Tejo, em frente de Lisboa. Esta terra foi habitada pelos romanos e muçulmanos nos tempos antigos, povos que desenvolveram a agricultura, as técnicas de pesca e a cerâmica. Orgulho-me do sítio onde vivo, das minhas raízes, da minha família e, acho que posso considerar-me uma pessoa feliz.

I was born in a hospital in Cidade da Praia in Cape Verde on the 19th of February 1985. I am the first of three children my mother had. We were poor but I have many wonderful memories of playing games on the street with my cousins and friends. When I was two years old, in 1987, I had to move to my grandmother's because my mother had to work so it was there I grew and spent most of my childhood and adolescence, close to my cousins. At 4, I began nursery school and it was called Girassol and I would never skip a day because my godmother worked there and used to give me Maria biscuits which I loved. I started first grade in 1990 and it was there that I started to become aware of me and to know myself. I had many friends and a teacher that to this day I have never forgotten. We played and went of school trips/visits and I adored this. When I got from the third grade to the fourth I met a little girl in my class who had arrived from the inland to study because her parents had moved to the town.




beautiful and I got on very well with her. We were always together though we had no idea of what courtship was, we were always playing and running










classmates began teasing me, saying she was my girlfriend and the fact is that by the 6th grade we began courting and kissing for the first time. In 1996 she started secondary school far away from my hometown and my mother had to get me a bus pass so I could get to school. I was so overjoyed at having a bus pass that I sometimes missed school so as to be able to ride on the bus. But my mother found out, through one of my cousins who also studied there and I had to walk to school: she took the bus pass away from me and I too had to walk to school from then on, 3 or 4 Kms every day. It actually was fun this, because everything used to happen: from arguments about football to sweethearts fights... I had never flunked but when I got to 9th grade I did and was very upset to see all my classmates happy going on and me being left behind. That

year was not good for me because I had just lost my grandfather who died from a prolonged illness and I also lost my father. I wasn't prepared for these events in my life and went to work in another island. I returned the following year and passed. I met some of my friends who had not passed that year. But I failed once more and left school. My mother used to say this was due to the bad influence these friends had on me, but I really didn't agree that this was the cause. It was me who no longer had the mental powers to study and I was already 17. My mother decided this was not a good way to live and so I started to work in construction and doing some odd jobs for my uncle. For a while, I left construction and studied to be a grade 2 mechanic, in a course offered by the Job Centre. I spent three great years there and I was then able to work in garages, a work I enjoyed a lot. In 2008, my sister who is three years younger than myself came to Portugal and I really wanted very much to follow her. I had to wait one more year. In December the 23rd 2009, I arrived in Portugal to work or to study with the goal of a better life. But not everything worked out as I had hoped. I spent 3 months at my aunts home, then I went to work in Sines in construction but the boss did not pay me because I was illegal and had not gained residency permit. So I returned to Lisbon, started doing odd jobs and I wanted to study again. I enrolled in the EFA course (Renewable Energies at the MarquĂŞs de Pombal School) and this is what I am dedicating myself to now. I plan to get a job contract work permit and get my residency papers approved.....without this, my life will not have the security it needs and it will drift aimlessly.

Nasci na Cidade da Praia em Cabo Verde, no hospital, no dia 19 de fevereiro de 1985. Sou o primeiro dos três filhos que a minha mãe teve. Era uma família humilde e guardo muitas lembranças das brincadeiras de rua com os meus primos e amigos. Aos 2 anos de idade, em 1987, tive que ficar na casa da minha avó porque a minha mãe tinha de trabalhar, e lá cresci e passei a maior tempo da minha infância e adolescência, junto com meus primos e primas. Aos 4 anos de idade frequentei um jardim de infância chamado Girassol a que nunca faltava porque a minha madrinha que lá trabalhava dava-me bolachas Maria de que eu gostava muito. Passei a frequentar a primeira classe em 1990, e aí comecei a ter consciência de mim e a conhecer-me. Tive muitos amigos e um professor de que até hoje não me esqueço. Brincávamos e fazíamos visitas de estudo que eu adorava. Quando passei da terceira classe para a quarta classe conheci uma menina na minha turma que veio do interior estudar porque seus pais mudaram para cidade e ela era muito linda, dei-me muito bem com ela. Estávamos sempre juntos, mas nem tínhamos ideia o que era namorar ou coisa assim, nos estávamos sempre a correr pelo pátio da escola. Até que os meus colegas começaram a brincar dizendo que ela era minha namorada e o facto é que pela sexta classe começámos a namorar e dar os primeiros beijos. Em 1996 fui para um liceu que ficava distante da minha zona e a minha mãe teve de me fazer o passe escolar para poder ir de camioneta. Eu estava tão, mas tão contente com o passe que às vezes até faltava às aulas para andar de autocarro. Mas a minha mãe descobriu, pela boca da minha prima que também lá estudava e ia a pé para liceu: tirou-me o passe e passei a ir a pé para o liceu, andando três ou quatro quilómetros todos os dias. Era até agradável porque éramos muitos e nesse caminho acontecia de tudo: discussão de futebol, brigas de namorados… No liceu estudei até ao nono ano e reprovei pela primeira vez, e fiquei muito triste ao ver os

meus colegas que passaram de classe todos contentes. Esse ano foi muito mau para mim porque já tinha perdido meu avô por causa de uma doença prolongada e também perdi o meu pai. Não estava preparado para esses acontecimentos na minha vida e fui trabalhar para outra ilha. Voltei no ano seguinte e passei. Encontrei alguns dos meus colegas que não passaram nesse ano. Mas voltei a chumbar e desisti da escola. A minha Mãe dizia que era dos maus colegas que eu tinha, mas nunca achei que fosse isso. Eu é que já não tinha cabeça para estudar, já estava com dezasseis anos, só queria saber de festas e mulheres. A minha mãe achou que isso não era vida e pôs-me a trabalhar nas obras e a fazer alguns biscates junto com meu tio. Por algum tempo, deixei as obras e fui fazer uma formação de mecânica auto de nível dois, oferecida pelo Centro de Emprego. Foram três anos bons porque dali já começava a trabalhar nas oficinas, trabalho que também gostava muito de fazer.

Em 2008, a minha irmã que era três anos mais nova do que eu, veio para Portugal e eu também queria muito vir, só que tive de esperar mais um ano. E em 23 de Dezembro de 2009 vim para Portugal para trabalhar ou estudar com o objectivo de ter uma vida melhor. Mas nem tudo correu como eu tinha pensado. Passei três meses na casa da minha tia depois fui para Sines trabalhar nas obras, mas o patrão não me pagou porque estava ilegal e não conseguia ter o termo de residência. Com isso vim para Lisboa de novo, comecei a fazer biscates e queria estudar. Consegui inscrever-me no curso EFA de Energias Renováveis na Escola Secundária Marquês de Pombal e neste momento dedico-me totalmente ao curso e procuro, ao mesmo tempo, obter um trabalho com contrato para obter título de residência… Sem isso, a minha vida vai ficar à deriva.

My name is Paulo Oliveira and I am 33 years old. I’m from Lisbon. I live in Vila Franca de Xira which is a county of Lisbon metropolitan area. Every day I drive about 40 km to go to work in Sintra. In the place where I live, there is the MARL – a wholesale Market supplier of the Lisbon region. There is a quarry where raw material for cement manufacture is extracted. The cement industry is an important industry in the area , but also a serious environmental problem.

One of the reasons why I quit school was because failed twice at the age of fourteen and fifteen. When I finally succeeded it was too late to keep on studying during the day because of my age. I didn’t feel like going to the evening classes and I quickly found a job. I’ve been taking a lot of professional courses and that’s the reason why I am in Marquês de Pombal at this moment. After I complete the course which I enrolled on, I´ll be a technician of refrigeration level IV and I will get the diploma of the twelfth grade of secondary education. This time I will finish my school with success.

I work in Tabaqueira, the tobacco company, an affiliate of Philip Morris International located in Sintra. Here I develop my job as a refrigeration technician. I am conscious that tabacco is harmful and the consumer has to be “frightened” by the warnings in the packs, but anyway, that is my job.

I am keen on travelling and hunting. I am into watching TV and be with my friends. I enjoy playing football and tennis. I am fond of hip-hop, rock and reggae music.

I hope I will open my own business, one day.

Chamo-me Paulo Oliveira e tenho 33 anos. Sou de Lisboa. Eu moro em Vialonga, Vila Franca de Xira, que é um município de área metropolitana de Lisboa. Todos os dias conduzo cerca de 40 km para ir trabalhar em Sintra.

Na zona onde eu moro, há o MARL - um mercado abastecedor da região de Lisboa. Há uma pedreira de onde a matéria-prima para a fabricação de cimento é extraída. A indústria do cimento é uma indústria importante na área, mas também um grave problema ambiental.

Uma das razões que me levou a abandonar a escola foi o ter reprovado duas vezes com a idade de catorze e quinze anos. Quando, finalmente, consegui passar era tarde demais para continuar a estudar de dia por causa da minha idade. Não tinha vontade de frequentar aulas à noite e rapidamente encontrei um emprego.

Frequentei variadíssimos cursos de formação profissional e essa é a razão para me encontrar a frequentar a escola Marquês de Pombal, neste momento. Depois de terminar o curso em que estou, serei técnico de nível IV de refrigeração e vou receber o diploma do décimo segundo ano do ensino secundário. Desta vez, vou terminar a escola com sucesso.

Eu trabalho na Tabaqueira, uma empresa de tabaco, filial da Philip Morris International e situada em Sintra. É lá que desenvolvo o meu trabalho como técnico de refrigeração.

Estou consciente de que o tabaco é prejudicial à saúde e que o consumidor tem de ser "assustado" pelas advertências nas embalagens, mas seja como for, é este o meu trabalho.

Os meus maiores interesses são viajar e caçar. Gosto de ver televisão e de estar com os meus amigos. Adoro jogar futebol e ténis. Ouço hip-hop,

Os meus maiores interesses são viajar e caçar. Gosto de ver televisão e de estar com os meus amigos. Adoro jogar futebol e ténis. Ouço hip-hop, rock e reggae.

Um dia, espero vir a abrir o meu próprio negócio.

I was born on 6 August, 1988 and when I became 6 years old I went to a private school called D. Afonso V and I took up Judo classes there. I practiced self-defense and so began my small judo career. I entered many tournaments and became the Lisbon district champion for two years without any defeats. With all my victories by Ippon I was invited to go to the national tourney but as I had no one of my weight to do combat I had to go to a class above mine, the one of the 70 kgs. In the end I turned to be 3rd in the national ranking. It was my last tourney due to my school change. I went to another state school in 2001 where I had to leave the judo behind and practice other sports. I became interested in basketball and cycling and practiced both every day. I started to race every week and train every single day until I finally entered at 17 to a cycling club called TAP where I learned the basics and slowly developed new skills riding my bike. One day I got a real racing bike that was bought for me on my 18th birthday. From then on I started to train every single day twice a day morning and afternoon, I was invited by other teams like Torres Vedras and Movistar. In Spain I was also invited to private races where only a few teams can go. Unfortunately ‌this sport has a dark side to it that many do not know. Even some champions admit that every single victory and trophy they have was not them on top of the bicycle; it was an invisible helper that some carry inside!!! I was never in the professional races due to my pride and ethics if I am to be a champion I will be on my own merit, not because they have the ultimate products to make me win. With my decision not to take doping they also rejected me on their teams. Today I am taking a course in refrigeration and air conditioning: it will qualify me up to the 12th grade but I still ride my bicycle now and then. I am teaching my fiancÊ and her daughter how to ride on racing bikes so that one day I can ride with both of them and also give them the opportunity to go around our country, to see the landscape that is one of the most beautiful in the world, due to our way of building the cities and towns. (I think we damage the environment less than other countries.)

Lately I also have been fighting with both our countries to get married so they can stay permanently here in Portugal. Our lives can then be more pleasurable and less stressful and free from all the rush. In the future I hope to get my degree in school and get a job so that I can finally create my family and support the child that is to come.

Eu nasci a 6 de agosto de 1988 e quando cheguei aos 6 anos de idade, fui para uma escola particular chamada D. Afonso V onde frequentava aulas de judo. Praticava auto defesa e assim começou a minha breve carreira de judoca. Participei em muitos torneios e tornei-me o campeão distrital por Lisboa durante dois anos sem ter sofrido nenhuma derrota. Com todas as minhas vitórias por Ippon, fui convidado para o torneio nacional, mas não tinha ninguém do meu peso com quem combater o que me obrigou a ir para uma classe acima da minha, a dos 70 kgs. Acabei por ficar em terceiro lugar a nível nacional. Foi esse o meu último torneio, uma vez que tive de mudar de escola. Eu fui para uma escola pública em 2001 e tive que deixar o judo e passar a praticar outros desportos. Interessei-me pelo basquete e pelo ciclismo e praticava os dois, todos os dias. Comecei a correr todas as semanas e a treinar todos os dias, até que finalmente, aos 17 anos, entrei para um clube de ciclismo chamado TAP onde aprendi o mais básico e, onde, lentamente, fui desenvolvendo a minha habilidade para andar de bicicleta. Um dia, no aniversário dos meus 18 anos recebi uma bicicleta de corrida verdadeira. A partir de então, comecei a treinar todos os dias, duas vezes por dia, de manhã e à tarde. Fui convidado por outras equipas, como a Torres Vedras e a Movistar. Espanha também me convidou para corridas privadas, em que só certas equipas podem participar. Infelizmente... este desporto tem um lado negro que muitos desconhecem. Mesmo alguns campeões admitem que em todas as corridas em que conseguem vitórias e troféus não são eles que estão em cima da bicicleta, é um ajudante invisível que alguns carregam dentro de si! Eu nunca participei nas corridas profissionais, devido ao meu orgulho e moral, pois se tenho de ser um campeão, que o seja por mérito próprio, não porque outros têm produtos que me fazem ganhar imerecidamente. Com a minha decisão de não tomar doping todos eles me rejeitaram nas equipas. Hoje eu estou a estudar num curso de refrigeração e ar condicionado que irá qualificar -me com o 12 º ano. Mas ainda ando de bicicleta de vez em

quando. Estou a ensinar a minha companheira e a sua filha a andar em bicicletas de corrida, para que um dia eu possa andar com as duas e possa dar-lhes a oportunidade de viajar pelo nosso país para ver a paisagem que é uma das mais belas do mundo, devido à nossa maneira de construir as cidades e vilas. (Creio que prejudicamos o meio ambiente menos do que outros países.) Ultimamente, eu também tenho tido uma luta com os nossos dois países para poder casar de modo a que elas possam ficar a viver permanentemente em Portugal. As nossas vidas poderão, então, ser mais agradáveis e menos stressantes sem esta correria toda. No futuro espero conseguir o meu certificado de habilitações e conseguir um emprego para que possa finalmente criar a minha família e apoiar a criança que está para vir.

My name is Renato Correia and I was born on the 29th of March 1992, in Cape Verde. I am the son of Maria Monteiro and JosĂŠ Lino. I was born and I grew up in a small village where I stayed until I was 17. The first years of my childhood, I remeber them only vaguely. I lived on a farm where my parents worked and I would play with my friend Gerson. I used to love playing around in the farm, there where fruit trees, flowers and pidgeons...all in all, a slittle paradise where one could breathe fresh air, be in contact with nature right next to the town of Assomada. I learnt to read and write outside school, thanks to the solidarity of a kind teacher who would prepare caligraphy text books, reinforced by a black pencil at the margins as well as lines on the paper. I used to use a ruler so as not to go beyond the limits of my paper. In the year 2000, I started 1st Grade and I still remember the first day. My mother took me to schooland my anxiety was enormous because I was finally about to learn to read and write, meet new friends. I was so happy. My parents then lost their jobs and we had to go back to our origins, that is, we went back to live with my grandmother in Assomada. This was a radical change in my life: everything was different, my friends, my area, my habits and the atmosphere at the school where the teacher was young and very demanding. My parents have always passed on to me the values that were important for my development and growth as an individual such as respect for my elders, to study and behave myself at school, not ask for anything nor accept anything from strangers, not to lie to anyone, including my parents, be a true friend to my friends, and respect other people, etc. I am very proud of them and the education and values they instilled in me throughout my childhood and adolescence because somehow they made me be what I am today. All my life one of the things that has shaped my character was the fact that my father always had work and prefered that my mother did not have to work outside the home: because of this she was able to look after my brothers and do the housework. This set up made me look up to my father as an example to follow and at the same time served for me to realise that I could not ask for more than

what they were capable of giving me due to the fact that my father was the only bread winner in the household. Times were hard, only my father delivered the income and yet there was no lack of the essential. Meanwhile my parents came to Portugal in search of a better life. Some time later, I too made the trip to Portugal on the 27th of August 2010. When I arrived I did not want to go to school, I wanted to work to help my mother. Only she made a point of making me go to school and I followed her advice, so in 2010 I started my EFA course (the basic level) Now I attend the secondary level and I intend to go all the way through. In the end some kind of job will show up, isn’t it?

O meu nome é Renato Luís da Silva Correia e nasci no dia 29 de Março de 1992, em Cabo Verde. Sou filho de Maria Monteiro e José Lino. Nasci e cresci numa pequena aldeia e lá fiquei até aos 17 anos de idade. Dos primeiros anos da minha infância, lembro-me apenas vagamente. Vivia numa quinta onde trabalhavam os meus pais e brincava com o meu amigo Gerson. Adorava brincar na quinta, onde existiam árvores de fruto, flores, um pombal, …enfim um pequeno paraíso onde se podia respirar ar puro e estar em contacto com a natureza, mesmo ao lado da assomada. Aprendi a ler e escrever fora da escola, graças à dedicação de uma professora meiga que preparava cadernos de caligrafia, reforçados com lápis preto nas margens e nas linhas do papel. Eu usava régua para não ultrapassar os limites demarcados. No ano de 2000, fui para o 1º ciclo da escola primária e ainda me recordo do primeiro dia de aulas. A minha mãe levou-me à escola nesse dia e a ansiedade era muita pois, finalmente, ia aprender a ler e a escrever, conhecer novos amigos. Estava muito contente. Os meus pais ficaram sem o emprego nessa altura, tendo regressado às suas origens, ou seja, fomos para a casa da minha Avó na assomada Foi uma mudança radical na minha vida: tudo era diferente, amigos, local, hábitos, clima e uma escola com uma professora nova e muito exigente. Os meus pais sempre me transmitiram valores importantes para o meu crescimento e desenvolvimento como pessoa, tais como respeito pelos mais velhos, estudar e comportar-me bem na escola, não pedir nem aceitar nada de ninguém desconhecido, não mentir, muito menos aos pais, ser amigo dos nossos amigos, respeitar o próximo, etc. Tenho muito orgulho neles e na educação e valores que me transmitiram, durante a minha infância e adolescência, porque de alguma forma contribuíram para ser a pessoa que sou hoje. Ao longo da minha vida, uma das coisas que moldou o meu carácter foi o facto de o meu pai ter sempre mais do que um emprego e preferir que a minha mãe não trabalhasse, ficando em casa como doméstica e a cuidar de mim e dos meus irmãos. Esta situação ao longo dos anos foi de certo modo um motivo para que visse no meu pai um exemplo a seguir e ao

mesmo tempo ter a consciência de que não poderia pedir mais do que aquilo que me podiam dar, porque o meu pai era a única fonte de rendimento do agregado familiar. Os tempos eram difíceis e só o meu pai trabalhava e ganhava dinheiro para casa e mesmo assim nunca me faltava nada. Entretanto os meus pais vieram para Portugal à procura de uma vida melhor. Algum tempo depois, viajei também para Portugal no dia 27 de agosto de 2010. Quando aqui cheguei eu não queria ir para escola, queria era trabalhar para ajudar a minha mãe. Só que ela queria que eu fosse para estudar e eu segui o seu conselho e, em 2010, comecei a estudar nos cursos EFA. Neste momento encontro-me no EFA secundário e pretendo ir até ao fim. No fim terá de aparecer algum trabalho, não é verdade?

Motto: “My story is (his)story”.

Havran Halk Eğitim MerkeziBALIKESIR, TURCIA




Ozgur Serife Alan

Ben Özgür SAVUR. 1975 yılında Balıkesir İvrindi’de  doğdum.  İlkokul  ve  ortaokulu  kasabamda  bitirdim.  Lise  eğitimi için Balıkesir’e gittim. Balıkesir’de Endüstri Meslek  Lisesine  yazıldım.  Liseyi  1993  yılında  bitirdim.  Okuldan  sonra  babam  ile  birlikte  kasabamızda  çalıştım. Babamın küçük bir lokantası vardı. Lokantada çalıştığım sürede  aşçılığı  öğrendim.  2  yıl  sonra  askerlik  görevimi  yerine  getirmek  üzere  kasabadan ayrıldım aslında mutluydum çünkü babam bir alkolikti. 18 ay  sonra  terhis  oldum.  Kasabaya  döndüğümde  babam  hala  içiyordu.  Kasabadan  uzaklaşmak  zorundaydım  tek  çözüm  yolu  buydu.  Tekirdağ’a  taşındım.  Tam  20  ay  özel  güvenlik  olarak  çalıştım.  İşten ayrıldıktan sonra Balıkesir Ayvalık’ta bir restoranda aşçı olarak işe başladım. 1998 yılında KPSS  sınavına girmiştim. 1999 yılında memur olarak işe başladım. Çok mutluydum çünkü sonunda gerçek  bir  iş  bulmuştum.  Mutluluğum  sadece  5  ay  sürdü.  Ciddi  şekilde  rahatsızlandım  ve  bütün  hayatımın  değişeceğini bilmiyordum.   1  yıl  boyunca  Balıkesir’deki  bütün  hastanelere  gittim.  Fakat  hiçbir  netice alamadım. Hastalığımın ne olduğu anlaşılamadı, teşhis koyulamadı.   Daha  büyük  bir  şehre,  Türkiye’nin  3.  büyük  şehri  olan  İzmir’e  gittim.  Ege  Üniversitesindeki  pek  çok  testten  sonra  kahredici  sonucu  öğrendim.  “Hoçkin  lenfoma”.  Öğrendiğimde  tek  düşündüğüm  öleceğimdi.  Çok  çaresiz  hissettim  kendimi.  Doktorlar  derhal  kemoterapiye  başladılar.  Fakat  bir  sonuç  alamadılar  çünkü  hastalığım  son  evresindeydi.  Tek  çözüm  kemik  iliği  nakliydi.  Uygun  ilik  bulundu. Nakilden sonra 1,5 yıl yaşam kalitem gayet iyiydi. 1,5 yıl sonra hastalığım nüksetti. Doktorlar  kemoterapi  ve  radyoterapiye  başladılar.  Fakat  yine  bir  sonuç  alınamadı.  Bu  aralar  ölümü  düşünüyordum.  Kasabama  gittim  ve  annemin  yanından  kendime  bir  mezar  yeri  aldım.  Sonum  yaklaşıyordu.  Başka  bir  kemik  iliği  nakline  ihtiyacım  vardı.  Erkek  kardeşim  2005  yılında  iliğini  bana  verdi  aslında  bana  yeni  bir  yaşam  verdi.    Vücudum  nakli  tamamen  kabul  etti.  Hastalıktan  kurtulmuştum. Hastalık kötü anılar ve ciddi yan etkiler bırakarak hayatımdan çıkmıştı.     Bu  yan  etkiler  nefes  darlığı,  göz  kuruluğu  ve  kanaması,  kalçalarımda  kemik  erimesiydi.  Su  anda  iki  kalçamda  protez  var.  Katarak  ameliyatı  oldum  çünkü  hastalığım  boyunca  aldığım  kortizon  gözlerime zarar verdi. Ciğerlerimde katetral var. Kendime çok dikkat etmeliyim.   2006  yılında  evlendim.  Evliliğim  3  yıl  sürdü.  Eşim  beni  her  zaman  destekledi.  Hiçbir  zaman  onun  yardımlarını  unutamam.  Fakat  bazı  akrabaları  beni  dışladı.  Benimle  aynı  sofrada  yemek  yemediler.  Ben  tuvaleti  kullandıktan  sonra  çamaşır  suyu  ile  yıkadılar.  Bazıları  benimle  tokalaşmadı  bile. Bunlar benim için psikolojik ve fiziksel olarak zor günlerdi. Bu günlerde her zaman yaşamı sevdim  ve  yaşamın  bir  parçası  olmaya  çalıştım.  Tabi  ki  bazen  kendimi  çaresiz  hissettim.  Her  zaman  güzel  günleri hayal ettim. Halk eğitim kurslarına yazıldım yeni arkadaşlar edindim değişik hayatları tanıdım.   2012 yılında yeniden evlendim şu anda bir kızım ve mutlu bir ailem var  yaşamın kıymetini biliyorum.     Her ne olursa olsun ASLA VAZGEÇMEDİM!    %90 engelli olduğumu ve emekli olmaya hak kazandığımı belirten raporum  olmasına rağmen hala çalışmaktayım. Çünkü çalışmayı ve toplum içinde olmayı  seviyorum. Beni en çok mutlu eden şey ise sağlığımı ve hayatımı yeniden elde  etmiş olmamdır.    HAYAT GÜZEL ve YAŞAMAYA DEĞER!   

I am Özgür SAVUR. I was born in İvrindi, Balıkesir  in 1975. I completed my primary and secondary education  in my village. For high school education I went to Balıkesir.  I  attended  technical  high  school.  I  finished  the  high  school in 1993. After school I worked  with  my father in the village. My father used to have a small restaurant in the  village  during  my  work  I  learned  how  to  cook.  I  left  my  village  for  military service. I was happy in fact to leave because my father was an  alcoholic.  I finished my military service after 18 months. When I came back from military my father  was  still  drinking.  I  had  to  go  away  this  was  the  only  solution.  I  moved  to  Tekirdağ.  I  worked  20  months  there  as  a  special  guard.  After  20  months,  I  came  back  to  Balıkesir.  I  was  in  Ayvalık  in  a  restaurant near seaside as a cook. In 1998 I attended an exam and in 1999, I was sent to Havran as  official. I was very happy because at last I found a real job. My happiness lasted only for 5 months. I  was seriously ill. I did not know that all my life was going to change.   I  went  to  all  the  hospitals  in  Balıkesir  for  my  illness  for  one  year  but  there was no solution even they could not understand the problem. There was  no diagnostic.   I  went  to  a  bigger  city  in  fact  the  third  biggest  city  in  Turkey,  İzmir.  After  many tests I learned that the problem was “hodgkin lenfoma” –a kind of cancer. A  big  problem.  When  I  learned  it  I  only  thought  that  I  was  going  to  die.  I  felt  very  helpless.  The  doctors  immediately  started  the  chemotherapy.  Unfortunately  there  was no result of chemotherapy because my illness was at the last stage. The only  solution was bone marrow transplant. They found it and did the transplant. After this operation my  life  quality  was  good  for  1.5  years.  1.5  years  later  the  illness  recrudesced.  The  doctors  started  chemotherapy and radiotherapy but there was no solution again. I was thinking about the death all  times.  I  went  to  my  village  and  bought  a  grave  for  myself  near  my  mother.  The  end  was  coming.  I  needed another bone marrow transplant, my brother gave it to me in fact he gave me the second life  in 2005. My body accepted it totally. I beat hodgkin lenfoma with the help of my brother. The illness  went away with the bad memories and serious side affects.   They were shortness of breath, eye dryness, eye hemorrhage, osteolysis (bone loss) in my both hips.  Now  I  have  prosthesis  in  my  both  hips.  I  had  cataract  surgery  because  the  cortisone  damaged  my  eyes. They put catheter into my lungs. Now I have to care myself.   I  was  married  in  2006.  My  marriage  lasted  for  3  years.  My  wife  always  supported  me.  I  can  never  forget her help to me. But some of the relatives excluded me. They did not eat with me.  They washed  the toilet with bleach after me.  Some  even did  not  shake hands  with me.  They were hard  days for  psychological and physical and during all these hard days I always loved the life tried to be a part of it  but  of  course  sometimes  I  felt  helpless.  I  always  dreamed  about  the  good  days.  I  attended  public  education center’s courses. I met many friends. I learned about different lives.  In 2012 I got married again. Now I have a daughter and a happy family. I know the  value of the life.  Under all circumstances I NEVER GIVE UP!   Although I have a report saying % 90 disabled and have the right to be retired, I  am still working. Because I like working and being in the society and the thing that  make me happy most is to gain my health and life again.    LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL AND IT IS WORTH LIVING! 

Bu hikaye 36 yaşındaki İsmail MACAN’ın hikayesidir. İlk olarak hikayeme çocukluğumla başlamak istiyorum. 1977 yılında Ayvalık’ta küçük bir evde doğdum. Orta gelirli bir ailede büyüdüm. Üç erkek kardeştik. Bu resimde annem ve babamla birlikteyim. On yaşındayken Edremit’e taşındık. Çevreye uyum sağlayamadığım için okul hayatım boyunca sorunlar yaşadım. Öğretmenlerimi ve çalışmayı sevmeme rağmen okulu bırakmak zorunda kaldım. İş hayatıma garsonluk yaparak başladım. Birçok farklı restoranda çalıştım. Bunlar benim için çok zor günlerdi. Yirmi yaşında askere gittim. 18 ay boyunca askerliğimi komando olarak yaptım. Askerden döndüğümde garson olarak çalışmak istemedim. Kendi işimin patronu olmak istiyordum. Bu fikri bir arkadaşımla paylaştım ve bana ortaklık teklifinde bulundu. Elbette kabul ettim. Kendi şirketimizi kurduk ve çok çalıştık. Bütün paramı bu işe yatırmıştım. Her şey yolunda gidiyordu ta ki ortağımın özel durumunu öğrenene kadar… O bir bağımlıydı. Kasadaki tüm parayı uyuşturucuya harcamıştı. Bunu öğrenir öğrenmez ortaklığı bozdum ve şirketten ayrıldım. Hayal kırıklığına uğramış işsiz, beş parasız bir adamdım. İki yıl boyunca depresyondan çıkamadım, kalbimin sahibini görene dek !!! Sonunda şans yüzüme güldü ve sevdiğim kadınla evlendim. Asla vazgeçmedim ! Şimdi kendi işimin sahibiyim. Bir internet cafe işletiyorum.Bu işe evlendiğim gün başladım. İki yaşında bir kızım var. Hayatımdaki en mutlu an biricik kızımın doğumuydu.

Eşim ve kızım… Onlar benim tek yaşam kaynağım.

This story is about a thirty-six-year old man called İsmail MACAN. First of all I want to begin my story with my childhood. I was born in a small house in Ayvalık in 1977. I grew up in a middle income family. I have three brothers. These are my father and mother in the picture. When I was ten, we moved to Edremit. As I couldn’t adapt the environment I had difficulties in my school life. Although I love my teachers and study I had to leave the school. I began to work as a waiter. I worked too many different restaurants. They were very hard days for me. When I was twenty I joined the army. I served in the army as commando for 18 months. After the duty in the army, I returned home and didn’t want to work as a waiter. I wanted to run my own bussiness. I shared this idea with one of my friend and he offered me partnership. Of course I accepted. We opened our company and work very hard. I give all of my money for this job. Everything was OK until I learnt his special situation. He was an addicted man. He used all the money in the cash for drugs. As soon as I learnt it I give up the partnership. I was a disappointed and coinless man without a job. I was very depressive along two years until I saw the owner of my heart. Finally, luck started to smile my face and I married to my love. I didn’t give up. Now I am running my own job. I am the owner of an internet cafe. I started this job at the same day of my marriage. I have a twoyear old daughter. The happiest time in my life is her birth.

My wife and my daughter… They are my only breath of life.







ediyorsunuz, biliyorum. Adım Kemal DURAK. 1939’da Çoruk Köyü’nde doğdum. Doğduğumdan beri bu küçük köyde yaşıyorum. Fakat babam bir Selanik göçmeniydi. Çok başarılı ve çalışkan bir öğrenciydim ancak babam okumama izin vermediği için eğitimimi bırakmak zorunda kaldım. Tarlasında çalışmamı istiyordu.

Bir çiftçiydim ama şimdi emekli oldum. Bu arada, iki dönem köyün muhtarlığını yaptım. Hatice ile evlendim. İki kızımız bir de oğlumuz var. Bir kızım ev hanımı ve evli. Oğlum da evli ve okul servisi şoförlüğü yapıyor. Hayatımdaki en mutlu an torunumun dünyaya gelmesiydi.





bulamıyorum. Torunuma benim adımı verdiklerini öğrendiğimde mutluluğum kat be kat arttı.

Tek istediğim şey torunumun iyi bir eğitim aldığını görebilmektir şu hayatta!

This is my story. I know you are wondering who I am. My name is Kemal DURAK. I was born in Çoruk village in 1939. I have been living in this small village since I was born. But my father was an immigrant. He was born in Salonika. I was a very successful and hardworking student but I had to leave my education because my father didn’t let me study. He wanted me to work in his farm.

I was a farmer but now I am retired. Meanwhile, I was the village headman for two periods. I got married to Hatice. We have a daughter and a son. My daughter is a housewife and married. My son is a school service driver and he is married, too. The happiest time in my life is the birth of my grandson. I can’t find any word to describe my happiness. It grew more and more when I heard they called their son with my name, Kemal.

The only thing I want is to see my grandson’s successful graduation!

Ben Muhammet Yıkar. Havranda yaşıyorum. Bir anıtta bekçiyim. Kimin anıtı biliyor musunuz? Size kahraman dedem Koca Seyit’in gerçek hikâyesini anlatacağım. Çanakkale kahramanı Koca Seyit. Koca Seyit 1889 yılında Havran’da doğdu. Çocuklukta ve gençliğinde güçlüydü. Güreşi severdi. Bu yüzden askerlikte pehlivanlığından dolayı Koca lakabı verilmiş ve Koca Seyit olarak tanınmıştır. 1909′da vatani vazifesini yapmak üzere askere giden Koca Seyit üç senelik asker iken 1912′de Balkan Harbi patlak vermiş, Seyit de birliğiyle birlikte savaşa katılmıştır. 1913′te Balkan Savaşı’nın sona ermiş olmasına rağmen Seyit terhis edilmemiştir.1914′te Birinci Dünya Savaşı patlak verince Seyit de Çanakkale’de topçu eri olarak vazife almıştı. Çanakkale Boğazı’nın Rumeli yakasında, Kilitbahir denilen mevkide 28’lik Mecidiye bataryasında Seyit’le birlikte kırk kişi vazifeliydi. 17 Mart 1915′te Çanakkale’deki bütün birliklerde yoğun bir faaliyet görülmekteydi. Ertesi gün, düşmanın büyük bir hücuma geçeceği haber alınmıştı. Seyit Onbaşının bataryasında da hazırlıklar tamamlanmış ve düşmanın taarruzu beklenmeye başlanmıştı.18 Mart 1918′de ilk önce Fransız daha sonra İngiliz zırhlıları Çanakkale boğazında görülmüşlerdi. Kıyıdan yoğun top ateşine tutan düşman zırhlıları aynı şiddette karşı ateşle karşılaşınca duraklamışlar, fakat ateşlerini kesmemişlerdi. Anadolu ve Rumeli kıyılarından ateş ve dumanlar göklere yükselmekteydi, düşman ateşi aralıksız devam ediyordu. İngilizlerin en büyük savaş gemilerinden Queen Elizabeth ve Ocean zırhlıları Koca Seyit’in bataryasının bulunduğu Kilitbahir önlerine gelmiş, kıyıyı top ateşine tutmuştu. Ateş çemberi genişleye genişleye Koca Seyit’in bataryasına ulaşmıştı. Bataryanın sağına soluna mermiler peş peşe düşmeye başlamıştı. Durumun kritik oluşunu gören batarya komutanı “sığınağa!” emrini vermişti. Fakat batarya erleri sığınağa ulaşmadan müthiş bir gürültü kopmuş, sanki yer yerinden oynamıştı. Koca Seyit de o gürültüden sonrasını hatırlamıyordu. Düşman gemilerinden atılan bir mermi cephaneliğe isabet etmiş, cephanelik havaya uçmuştu. Bataryadaki erlerden on dördü şehit olmuş, yirmi dördü ise yaralanmıştı. Sadece Seyit ile Ali isimli arkadaşı yara almadan kurtulmuşlardı. Sağlık erlerinin müdahalesiyle kendine gelen Seyit gözlerini açınca etrafta şehit olan arkadaşlarının cesetlerim görmüş ve arkadaşlarından durumu öğrenmişti. Bataryada ikisinden başka kimse kalmamıştı. Bataryanın toplarından ikisi toprağa gömülmüş ve kullanılmaz hale gelmişti. Sadece bir tanesi kullanılabilir haldeydi. Onun da vinci kırılmıştı. Koca Seyit, bir denizde hâlâ ateş püsküren düşman zırhlısına bir yerde yatan şehitlere bir de topa bakmış ve büyük bir hırsla her biri 215 okka (276 kilo) ağırlığındaki mermilere yönelmişti. Arkadaşı Niğdeli Ali şaşırmıştı, Koca Seyit ne yapmak istiyordu. Seyit, şaşkın şaşkın kendisine bakan arkadaşına “yardım et de mermiyi yükleneyim” demiş,

ardından da Ali’nin yardımıyla sırtlamıştı. 276 kiloluk yüküyle 28′lik topun altı basamağını çıkan Koca Seyit mermiyi topun ağzına yerleştirmeyi başarmıştı... Şimdi bütün dikkatini vermiş önünde duran Ocean’ın üzerine çevirmişti topun namlusunu. Hedefi iyice tespit edip nişanının doğru olduğuna kanaat getirdikten sonra topu ateşlemişti. Topun gürlemesiyle birlikte karşıdaki düşman gemisinden yoğun siyah bir duman yükselmişti. Anında yalpalamaya başlamıştı. Koca gemi isabet almıştı. Vurmuştu Koca Seyit, düşman gemisini. Düşmanın koca gemisi battı… Düşmanlar Mecidiye bataryasının saf dışı edildiğini zannetmekteydiler. Kilitbahir cephesindeki komutanlar da aynı kanaate varmışlardı. Fakat Mecidiye bataryasından ateşlenen bir top düşman gemisini batırmıştı işte. Batarya komutanı Hilmi Bey derhal Mecidiye bataryasına koşmuş ve topu Seyitle arkadaşının ateşlediğini öğrenmişti. Hemen oracıkta onbaşı rütbesini takmıştı Seyit’e. Komutanlar takdirlerini bildirmekteydi. Koca Seyit’in Ocean’ı batırışı bir anda her tarafa yayılmıştı. Mehmetçik taze moralle düşmanı şiddetli top ateşine tutmuştu. Gün batımına kadar devam eden şiddetli savaşta düşman perişan edilmişti. Düşman Çanakkale’yi geçememişti. Koca Seyit Çanakkale’de bir kahramandı. Herkes Koca Seyit in hikâyesini biliyordu. Savaşın kaderini belki de tarihin akışını değiştirmişti. Cevdet Paşa bir gün birlikleri ziyaret ederken Koca Seyit’in birliğinde kahramanı görmek ister. Cevdet paşa Koca Seyit’i tebrik eder, bir şey isteyip istemediğini sorar. Koca Seyit bir talebi olmadığını, yaptığı her şeyi vatan, özgürlük ve şehit arkadaşları için yaptığını söyler. Paşa Koca Seyi’ten topu yeniden kaldırmasını ister fakat Koca Seyit kaldıramaz. Paşa o gün nasıl kaldırdın topu diye sorar. Koca Seyit düşman gemisini yeniden göreyim yeniden kaldırırım der. Daha sonra gelecek nesillere Seyit Onbaşıyı hatırlatmak için Cevdet Paşanın emri üzerine boş bir top mermisiyle Seyit’in fotoğrafı çekilir. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk de o sırada Eceabat'ın “Maydos'un Biga'lı Boğalı” köyündeki karargâh merkezi olarak kullanan 19. Fırka Tümen Komutanıdır. Seyit’in gerçekleştirdiği bu olayla ilgili haberi duyar ve bu mucize kahramanı görüp yakından tanımak ister. Bu nedenle de o yılın Nisan ayı başlarında yani 18 Mart Zaferi'nin yaklaşık yirminci gününde kendi atıyla

hizmet erini özellikle gönderip, birliğinin çok yakınında görev yapan Koca Seyit'i birliğinden aldırıp köydeki evine getirtir. Onu konuk eder. Kahve içerken aralarında şöyle bir konuşma geçer: Büyük Gazi: —Koca Seyit isimli topçu onbaşı sen misin evlat? Koca Seyit: —Benim Komutanım! —Tek başına nasıl kaldırabildin koca gülleyi (mermiyi)? —İşte!.. Allah'ın izniyle oluverdi Komutanım. Sanki gülle ufacık tefecik bir çam bölmesi gibi geliverdi. —Peki asker, sen komutanlarından hiçbir para, altın gibi ödüller kabul etmemişsin, varlıklı da değilmişsin, acaba bu nedendir? —Olsun Komutanım. Memleketimize kırk yılın başı bir iş, bir hizmet yaptıysak, hemen ödül, mükâfat mı olurmuş. Sonra benim askerliğimdeki en büyük mükâfatı siz verdiniz. Beni yanınıza çağırıp, bir fincan kahve sunmanız benim için en büyük mükâfattır, Komutanım! —Asker gülleyi kaldırdığın gibi beni de kucaklayıp kaldırabilir misin? Koca Seyit biraz durakladıktan sonra, Atatürk'ün yüzüne anlamlı şekilde bakıp, sorusunu yanıtlar: —Hayır komutanım —Niye, ben koca gülleden daha ağır mıyım sanki? —Gülle başka, siz gene başka Komutanım. Sizi ben değil kimsecikler kaldıramaz. Çünkü sizin büyüklüğünüz, ağırlığınız gülleyle ölçülemez, komutanım! Koca Seyit'in bu cevabı Atatürk'ü fazlasıyla memnun eder. Kahramanı saygılı, yiğit ve güvenilir bulur. Atatürk'ün aklına bir soru daha yöneltmek gelir: —Sanıyorum eski bir askersin. Askerlikten bıktın mı, terhis olup da evine döndükten sonra bu ocağa seni yeniden çağırsalar severek, isteyerek, gönlünce yine koşar gelir misin? Koca Seyit hiç düşünmeden: —Tabi gelirim Komutanım. Değil dokuz sene on sekiz sene de askerlik yapsam sizin gibi Komutanlar haydi asker ocağına gelin dediği an hemen gene koşup gelirim, cevabını verir. Koca Seyit'in bu cevabı Atatürk'ü pek memnun eder. Aynı cephede oldukları sürece Koca Seyit'i her zaman sever, onunla ilgilenir ve onu hiç unutmaz.

Koca Seyit 1918 yılında terhis olur köyüne döner fakat Yunanlıların İzmir işgal ettiğini duyunca orduya katılır. Büyük taarruzda görev alır 28 Ağustos 1922’de yaralanır. Düşmanın yenildiğini ve zafer kazanıldığını hastane odasında öğrenir. Savaştan sonar köyüne döndü. Dağlardan odun getirip onu kömür yapıp şehirde satıyordu. Ne maaş ne de madalya talebi hiçbir zaman olmamıştı. Atatürk 1934 yılında Havran’a gelir. Koca Seyit’i yeniden görmek ister. “Kaymakam Bey kazanız dâhilinde oturan bir kahraman olacak, adı Koca Seyit Kendisini tanır mısınız? Şu an ne iş yapar? Eğer halen yaşıyorsa bulup hemen bana getirin” der. Bu soru üzerine onunla hiç görüşmemiş olan Edremit Kaymakamı telaşlanır ve şaşırıp kalır. Herkes seferber olup Koca Seyit’i ararlar. Havranın Manastır(2) köyünde ikamet ettiği öğrenilen Koca Seyit sonunda bulunur. Edremit Kaymakamı, apar topar yanına getirilen Kocaseyit’i baştan aşağı süzer ve üstünü başını düzensiz, eski ve kirli bulur ve bu şekilde Atatürk’ün huzuruna çıkarılamayacağını düşünür, hemen üstünün başının değiştirilmesi için yanındakilere talimat verir. Nihayet Koca Seyit, çeki düzen verilmiş şekliyle Gazi Paşanın huzuruna gecikmeli olarak çıkarılır. Atatürk olanı biteni anlamıştır ve cepheden tanıdığı Koca Seyit için üzülmüştür. Balıkesir valisi ile Edremit Kaymakamına ve yanındakilere dönerek: “Beyler, efendiler bu insanları iyi tanıyor musunuz? Siz vatanı için, milleti için, namusu için, canını ortaya koyan böyle insanları bu kadar mı tanıyorsunuz. Bu Kahramanın durumuyla yakından ilgilenin. Memleketimizi bunlar kurtardı, bu duruma bunlar sayesinde geldik ve Cumhuriyet bunların desteği ile kuruldu. Kahramanlarımızı kimselere muhtaç etmeyin, el avuç açtırmayın” der. 1934 tarihinde yürürlüğe konan soyadı yasasıyla "ÇABUK" soyadını alan Koca Seyit akciğerlerindeki rahatsızlık nedeniyle 1939 yılında vefat etmiştir. 8 Eylül 2006 Tarihinde Havran Kaymakamlığınca Koca Seyit’in anısına Köyünde Bulunan Mezarının yakınına bir anıt ve bir Müze yaptırılmış olup ziyaretçilere açılmıştır.

I am Muhammet Yıkar. I live in Havran. I am a guard at monument. Whose is it, do you know? I want to tell you the true story of my grandfather The Great Seyit. The hero of Çanakkale war. Great Seyit was born in Havran in 1889. From he was strong and he liked wrestling when he was a child and young. Because of these abilities, in the military service his nickname was Great. He joined the army in 1909 for his military service. When he was in the military for 3 years the Balkan war started so his troop joined the war. The Balkan war ended but he wasn’t released because there was the danger of the 1st World War. W hen the 1st World War began in 1914 he was on duty in Çanakkale as an artillery man. He was in the European side of Çanakkale in Mecidiye artillery battery with his friends. In 17 March 1915, all the troops were in a hurry. They knew that the next day the enemies would attack with all their forces. Like the others Seyit’s troops were ready for the attacks too. In 18 March, first the French and then the English battleships were seen in the Hellespont. The battleships were firing both the European and the Asian part of the Hellespont. There were fires and smokes all over the land. The Turkish troops were shooting too. The biggest battleships of English navy, Queen Elizabeth and Ocean, were firing without stopping. The fire was a very near to Seyit’s troops so the commander of the artillery battery ordered to go in the bunker. But before the soldiers reached the bunker, a great explosion occurred. Kocaseyit could not remember the rest after the explosion. A bomb hit the arsenal and the arsenal blew up. 14 of the soldiers died and 24 of them were injured. Only Great Seyit and another soldier called Ali was alive and able to fight. After the some examinations made by health soldiers Great Seyit wake up, saw his friends’ deaths and learned everything. There were only two men in the troop. Two cannons were under the soil only one was able to use but its winch was broken. Great Seyit looked at the battleships on the sea, his friends’ death body and the cannon balls which were 275 kgs. He moved to the balls his friend Ali was surprised. What was Seyit trying to do? Seyit wanted help from his friend and took the ball walked and climbed the 6 steps of the cannon. He put the ball into the cannon. He fired the cannon and there was a black smoke on Ocean battleship, ten minutes later the biggest battleship of the English navy sank. The enemies thought that the Mecidiye artillery battery was out of order. And the Turkish commanders were thinking the same. But when they saw the fire and the result, the commander of the garrison rushed to the Mecidiye artillery and learned about Great Seyit. The commanders were congratulating Great Seyit. He became a corporal after that. Everyone learned The Great Seyit. The clashes lasted till evening and the enemies could not pass Çanakkale.

Great Seyit was a hero in Çanakkale. Everyone heard about his story.He changed the course of the war, may be the history. While General Cevdet was visiting the troops he wanted to see Great Seyit. General Cevdet congratulated Great Seyit and asked him if he wanted anything. Great Seyit says he wants nothing all he did he did for the freedom of the country and for his friends. The general wanted him to hold the ball again but the Great Seyit could not do it. The Genaral: How did you do it? Great Seyit: If I see the enemies’ battleship again in front of me I can do it again. They take the photo Great Seyit with an empty cannon ball for a memory. Ataürk the founder of Turkish Republic was in Çanakkale too. He was on duty in Çanakkale. After he heard about Great Seyit he invited him to his headquarter, talked with him and congratulated him. There was a dialogue between Atatürk and Great Seyit. Atatürk: Are you the Great Seyit, the hero? Great Seyit: Yes sir! Atatürk: Great Seyit, I want to congratulate you. How did you do that? Great Seyit: I did it suddenly it was like a little thin wood in my hand Atatürk: You wanted nothing from your commanders such as money or gold. And I learned you are poor. Why did not you take anything? Great Seyit: I did it for my country not for money I can’t take anything. And you gave me the biggest prize as inviting me here talking and drinking coffee with me. This is enough for me. Atatürk was very proud of this honorable and hero man. Atatürk: Can you hold me like the bullet? Great Seyit was surprised he looked in a meaningful way to Ataturk’s face and sai: Great Seyit: No commander! Atatürk: Why? Am I heavier than it?

Great Seyit: The cannon shell and you are different. Not only me but nobody can hold you. Your greatness and heaviness can not be measured with the cannon bullets. Atatürk was smiling to this hero . Atatürk: I think you are old soldier. After you went to you home back if we call you again do you come to the arm willingly again? Great Seyit: Of course my commander. I come again immediately if the commanders like you call me I can stay there for years. Atatürk was very happy to hear these from a soldier he was sure from independence and freedom again. He never forgot Great Seyit. Great Seyit was free in 1918. He went to his village but when he learned the Greeks invaded İzmir. He joined the army again. He was again on duty in the Great Assault and in 28 august 1922 he was injured. He learned that they beat the enemy while he was in the hospital. After the war he returned to his village. He carried woods from the mountains and sold them in Havran. He refused the salary and the money all the time. When Atatürk came to Havran, he wanted to see him again. Atatürk turned to Edremit governer and asked : Atatürk: Mr governer I know a hero who lives here his name is Great Seyit. Do you know him? What does he do know? If he is still alive find him and bring him please. The district governor was surprised. He had never met with him and hadn’t known about him everybody was seeking for Great Seyit. They found him. They brought him but his clothes was not suitable. He ordered the servants to change his clothes. Great Seyit was ready to see Atatürk But Atatürk noticed everything and he was very upset for his old friend. He turned to Balıkesir governor and Edremit district governor; Atatürk: Dear sirs do you know these people? They fight for freedom, for honor, for our country and you don’t know about these people. Please care about this hero. They saved our country. We founded the Republic with the help of these people. Help these people and don’t forget about them. In 1934 everybody was taking a surname with the law. He took the surname Çabuk (quick). He died in 1939. In 2006 Havran district government constructed a memorial and a museum near his grave in his village.

1955 yılında Kütahya’nın fakir bir köyünde doğdum. Köyümüz merkeze 23 km idi.     4 kardeştik. En küçük kardeş bendim. Annem ve babam çiftçiydi. 6 yaşında ilkokula başladım. İlkokulu  bitirince  il  merkezine  gelerek  ortaokula  başladım.  Kalacak  yerim  olmadığı  için  vakıfların  yurdunda  sınavdan  sonra  kalmaya  hak  kazandım.  Köyde  ilk  defa  şehir  merkezine  gidip  okuyan  bendim.  Bu  yüzden  pek  çok  sorun  yaşadım;  ekonomik  sorunlar,  adaptasyon  sorunları  ve  kıyafet  sorunu.  Kılık  kıyafetim  ile  çok  büyük  sorunlar  yaşadım.  Saçımı  açarak  okula  gitmem  toplumda  tepki  topladı.  Pek  çok kimse ailemi ayıpladı bizimle konuşmadı. Onlara göre kızlar okumamalı köyde kalıp evlenmeliydi.     Buna  rağmen  babam  beni  okuldan  almadı  ve  devam  ettim  okumaya. Fakat ne zaman okuyup mezun  oldum,  para  kazanmaya  başladım  ve  aileme  yardım  ettim,  evlenip  güzel  giyindim;  o  insanlar  da  pişman  olup  çocuklarını  okutmak  istediler  ve  bizden  yardım istediler.    

  İlkokul öğrencisiyken ben…  Annem ve babam.  Ortaokulu  bitirdim  ve  öğretmen  okuluna  gitmek  için  sağlık  raporu  almam  gerekliydi  fakat  ailemden kimse yanımda yoktu. İlk defa hastaneye gitmiştim hayatımda. Sıraya girdim akciğer filmi  çektirmek için. o zamanlar üstünü çıkararak film çekiliyordu fakat sıram gelmesine rağmen teknisyen  bir  türlü  beni  içeri  almıyordu.  İki  saat  bekledim.    Bir  kadın  daha  geldi  film  çektirmeye  o  kadın  ile  birlikte  beni  içeriye  aldı.  Meğer  tek  başıma  olduğum  için  beni  içeriye  almıyormuş.  Dedikodudan  korktuğu  için  beni  çağırmamış.    Aynı  gün  asabiye  doktoruna  gittim.  Doktorun  odasına  girdiğimde  içeride  başka  birisi  daha  vardı.  Doktor  bana  5  kere  5  kaç  yapar  dedi,  ben  25  dedim.  Doktor  ısrarla  yanlış söylüyorsun dedi. Ben sinirlenmeye başladım ve şaşırdım içimden bir doktor nasıl bunu bilemez  diye geçiriyordum. Doktorun yanındaki adam bana sus işareti yaptı o zaman sustum. Dışarı çık dediler  dışarı  çıktım  ve  beklemeye  başladım.  Daha  sonra  doktor  odadan  çıkıp  saçlarımı  okşadı  inşallah  hayatta başarılı olun dedi.     Ve  böylece  öğretmen  okulunun  kapısından  girdim.  Okula  başlamıştım  artık.  Bu  üç  sene  içinde  köydeki bütün arkadaşlarım evlendi ve  çocuk sahibi oldular.  Ben yaz tatilinde  köye  gidip  tarlalarda  çalışıyordum.  3  sene  sonra  17  yaşında  öğretmen  oldum.  Mahkemede  yaşımı  büyütüp  öğretmenliğe  başladım.  İlk  görevim  evden  uzakta  Karadeniz  kıyısındaydı.  Babam benimle geldi.     Öğretmen okulundayken… 

Öğrencilerimle birlikte… 

İki yıl sonra evlendim. Kocam da öğretmendi. 14  sene  elektriği  ve  suyu  olmayan  köylerde  çalıştık.  İki  çocuğum  oldu.  İlk  çocuğum  büyüyüp  okul  yaşına  geldiğinde  daha  iyi  eğitim  alması  için  babaannesinin  yanına il merkezine gönderdim. 1980 yılında askeri darbe  oldu.  Ülkede  iç  karışıklık  olduğu  ve  darbelerin  yapıldığı  zamanlar köydeydik. Ben ve eşim işimizden atılmıştık. Biz  de  balık  satmaya  başladık.  Saat  dörtte  kalkıp  taze  balık  almaya  gidiyorduk  balıkları  alıp  satıyorduk.  Seneler  sonra yine öğretmenliğe döndük.   Eşim ve ben.  Kızım ve oğlum.      1984  yılında  Edremit’e  geldik.  1984  yılında  elektrik  ve  su  ile  tanıştım.  Hiçbir  elektrikli  eşyam  yoktu. İlk defa şehirde çalışacaktım.     Evime  çamaşır  makinesi  buzdolabı  aldım.  Bunların  taksitlerini  ödemek  için  işime  yürüyerek  gittiğim  günler  oldu.  Çocuklarımı  bırakabileceğim  bir  yer  yoktu  bu  yüzden  çocuğumu  da  işe  götürüyordum.     Şehirde  yaşamak  zor  olduğu  için  daha  fazla  çalışıyorduk.  Öğrencilere  folklor  çalıştırdım.  Bir  takım oluşturdum. Üç yıl birinci olduk.     O zamanlar küçük bir zeytinliğimiz vardı. Her zaman tarlada çalıştık. Odunumuzu, yağımızı biz  ürettik.  Daha  sonra  deniz  kenarına  bahçeli  bir  eve  taşındım.  Çocuklarım  üniversiteye  gidiyordu.  O  zaman makarna kesip satmaya başladım. Sonra oğlum ve kızım meslek sahibi oldular, ben de emekli  oldum. Oğlum ve kızım evlendiler ve çocukları oldu. Kızım doktor, oğlum ise öğretmen.   Şu anda Halk Eğitim Merkezinin açmış olduğu Zeytincilik kursuna gidiyorum. Çünkü 275 tane  zeytin  ve  15  çeşit  meyve  ağacımın  olduğu  büyük  bir  tarlam  var.  Halen  tarlada  çalışıyorum.  Tarlam  sayesinde sağlıklıyım ve Avrupa’da pek çok yeri ziyaret etme şansı buldum.     O küçük köyden çıkıp bunları başarmak gerçekten bir hayaldi.   










Şerife ALAN 

I was born in a poor village of Kütahya in 1955. Our village was 23 km away from Kütahya.  We were four children. I was the youngest at home. My father and mother were farmers. I started the  primary school when I was 6. When I finished the primary school, I moved to the city center to go to  secondary school because the nearest secondary school was at the city center. As I had no place, after  an examination I began to stay in a boarding house. I was the first girl in the village who came to the  city center and went to a school so I had many difficulties such as economical, adaptation problems  and unfortunately I had problems with my clothes as I had to put off my head scarf. The community  had a pressure on me and my family. Many of the families did not talk with my family. They thought  that I must not go to the school.   But my father insisted on and he did  not take me from the school.     When  I  finished  the  school,  I  had  a  job. I was dressed in a modern way. I began  to help my poor family. People realized that  we  did  the  right  thing.  They  were  very  regretful  and  wanted  us  help  their  children  to go to school.     In primary school… 

Mom and Dad. 

When I finished the secondary school, I was successful at an exam and in order to attend the teacher  training high school, I had to get a report from hospital. I was alone in the hospital. There was nobody  with me. I was in the queue for lung film but as it was my turn, the technician did not call me. I waited  for two hours. When a lady came, the technician invited me with the lady to film. After I learned that  the  man  did  not  call  me  because  I  was  alone  and  he  was  afraid  of  gossip.  The  same  day  I  went  to  psychologist. When I entered the doctor’s room, there was another man in the room. He was sitting.  The doctor asked me “what is 5 times 5?”. I answered 25. But the doctor said it was 20. I said 25, he  was insisting that it was 20. I was getting angry and I was really surprised and thought how a doctor  he was. He even did not know 5*5 . The other man signed me with his hand and wanted me to not to  answer.  Then  I  stop  answering.  The  doctor  ordered  me  to  go  out.  I  was  out  of  the  room  and  I  was  waiting. After the doctor came out and smiled me, “I hope you can be very successful in life” he said.   After  that  long  day  I  was  a  student in teacher training school. After  three hard years I was a teacher. During  these 3 years all my friends in the village  were married and had children. I was in  the village in the summer working in the  fields.  I  was  a  teacher  at  the  age  of  seventeen.  But  I  had  to  go  to  the  court  to increase my age because you cannot  work as a teacher if you are under 18.  

I was in teacher training school. 

With my students… 

I was teaching away from my family. I started my job in Black Sea Region. My father came with me.   After  2  years  I  got  married.  My  husband  was  a  teacher,  too.  We  worked  in  the  villages  for  14  years  with  no  electricity  and  water.  When  my  son  was  at  the age to go to school, we send him to the city center  near  his  grandmother  for  a  better  and  qualified  education.  In  1980  there  was  a  military  coup  and  there was an inner war in Turkey. We were dismissed  from  our  jobs  with  my  husband.  My  husband  started  to sell fish. And I was helping him.   Daughter & Son 

Me and my husband   

We used to get up at 4 am in the morning and drive to the sea to buy fresh fish and brought the fish  and sold them. After years we were teachers again.   After 14 years in the villages we moved to Edremit. For the first time in my life I was going to  have a house with electricity and water. The year was 1984. I had nothing with us when we came to  Edremit.  We  bought  washing  machine  and  fridge  to  our  new  house.  We  had  a  lot  of  debt  so  sometimes we walked to our work with my husband because we had no money. There was no place  for my little daughter so I brought her to my school.     It was harder to live in the city so we worked hard. I was the trainer for a folklore team. We  were  the  number  1  for  3  years  in  Edremit.  We  bought  a  small  olive  farm.  We  worked  in  the  farm,  produced  our  olive  and  vegetables  and  cut  our  wood.  Later  my  son  and  my  daughter  went  to  university. I started to sell homemade pasta to my neighbor. After my son finished the university I got  retired. My daughter became a doctor and my son became a teacher. My children got married and  they have children. Now I attend the courses in public education center about tree caring because I  have a big farm with 275 olive trees and 15 kinds of fruit. I still work in the farm, by the help of my  farm I am healthy and had the chance to visit many European countries.     Coming out from a small village and achieving all these, was a dream.      Şerife ALAN 

EARTHQUAKE İt was a very hot summer in August in 1999. In 16 August it was again a hot day and we were sitting in the garden of our blocks with our neighbours. We went to sleep at about 12, 00 and

I felt asleep.

We woke up with a big noise and shock. It was so huge that ı could not know what to do. The electricity went out but our house was teetering like a cradle. There were voices coming from everywhere from the apartment. I don’t think you can imagine the terrible moments if you have never lived such a thing. I was so terrified that ı did not go near my children and ı did not let my husband to go too. I felt always guilty because of that. It lasted about 1 minute in fact I had learned this from the TV because ı thought that it lasted for hours. When it was over the electricity came again. We went out the house. We met a family in the stairs they were all afraid of the earthquake. Everyone was trying to know if any building were collapsed. In our street there were no problem but we were sure that something bad happened because the Earthquake strength was so big. Some of the people who had their car keys opened their cars and started to listen the radios. The bad news started to come. The center of the earthquake was İzmit in Istanbul there were 1000 people died. But in İzmit unfortunately later it was announced that 40000 thousand people died. In the following days some people left Istanbul who had this opportunity. Most of the people stayed in the streets. We put our beds in safe palaces. We stayed outside four days and the aftershocks went on. People who preferred to sleep at their homes were sleeping with their clothes and shoes on and the car keys in the pockets. Some people stayed outside for months. We went slowly to our houses. We were watching the programs about earthquake. From these programs ı learned that earthquake in Istanbul was so strong and fault line was not broken. After learning this ı moved to Edremit . I have still a house in Istanbul but ı don’t want to live there anymore. My fear is still alive.


DEPREM İstanbul'da 1999 yılının ağustos ayı çok sıcak geçiyordu. 16 Ağustos günü de yine o sıcak günlerden biriydi, o nedenle tıpkı diğer sıcak yaz akşamlarında olduğu gibi apartmanımızın bahçesinde komşularımızla oturduk. Gece 12 gibi de yatmak için evlerimize dağıldık. Sonra uyumuşum... Gece saat 3 gibi büyük bir sarsıntıyla hepimiz uyandık. O kadar şiddetli bir sarsıntıydı ki ne yapacağımı bilemedim. O an elektrikler de kesildi ama evimiz bir beşik gibi sallanmaya devam ediyordu. Apartmanın her yerinden sesler ve uğultular geliyordu. Bu anı yaşamamış birinin durumun korkunçluğunu tahmin etmesinin mümkün olmadığını düşünüyorum. O kadar korkmuştum ki yataktan kalkıp çocuklarımın yanına gidemediğim gibi eşimin de yataktan kalmasını engelliyordum. Çocuklarımın yanına gidemediğim için de kendimi sonradan hep suçlu hissettim. Deprem yaklaşık 1 dakika kadar sürdü, aslında bunu daha sonra televizyonlardan öğrenmiştim. Çünkü bana saatlerce sürmüş gibi gelmişti. Sarsıntı durunca elektrikler de geri geldi. Hemen hep beraber kendimizi sokağa attık. Apartman boşluğunda da bizim gibi şaşkın bir aile ile karşılaştık. Onlar da bizimle sokağa indiler. Her apartmandan insanlar sokağa iniyordu. Herkes etrafını inceliyor, yıkılan bir ev var mı, anlamaya çalışıyordu. Bizim sokakta bir problem gözükmüyordu. Ancak sarsıntı o kadar güçlüydü ki, bir yerler mutlaka zarar görmüş olmalıydı. Yanında arabasının anahtarı olanlar hemen arabalarının radyolarını açtılar ve haberleri dinlemeye başladık. Sabaha kadar gözümüzü kırpmadan oturduk. Yavaş yavaş göçük ve ölüm haberleri gelmeye başlamıştı. Depremin merkez üssünün İzmit olduğunu ve İstabul'da da bazı evlerin yıkılıp 1000 kadar kişinin öldüğünü daha sonra öğrendik. İzmit'te ise kayıp çok daha fazlaydı.Daha sonra İzmit’te 40000 insanın öldüğü açıklandı. İzleyen günlerde İstanbul dışına çıkma şansı olanlar şehri terk etti. Birçoğumuz ise sokaklarda yattık. Her aile evinden dışarıya çıkarttığı yatakları sokakta boş bulduğu güvenli yerlere serdi. Çoğu aile yaklaşık 3-4 günü dışarıda geçirdi. Bu arada artçı sarsıntılar da devam ediyordu. Evlerinde uyumayı tercih edenler ise tekrar bir deprem olur korkusu ile ayakkabıları ile yatağa giriyor, arabalarının anahtarlarını ceplerinden çıkarmıyorlardı. Bazı İstanbullular aylarca sokaklarda ya da arabalarında uyudular. Yavaş yavaş evlerimize dönüyorduk. Tüm günümüz evde deprem ile ilgili televizyon programları izlemekle geçiyordu. Bu programlardan asıl İstanbul'u ilgilendiren fay hattının kırılmadığını öğrendim bunu öğrendikten sonra Edremit e taşındım İstanbul’da hala bir evim var fakat orada artık yaşamak istemiyorum. Ve deprem korkum hala canlı.


I am Feride Durusoy. I was born in 1951 Balıkesir Susurluk. İn A small house and a small town but a big and poor family.My father was making meatballs in the house and was selling them to the passengers in the train station. I had lost two of my brothers, they were younger than me. We were there children at home after these losts. For long years my father, my mother, my uncles and aunts in law gradpa and grandma lived in that small but crowded house. When my father joinded the army for his military service we had economical problems. I was going to school and ı was a successfull student. When my father came back he opened a bike shop. He was repairing ther bikes and waas hiring them. In 1960 a military coup occured in Turkey and my father did not allow met o go to schoool anymore. In our small shop I was helping my father ,running after the bikes all day. My youth was harder I was not well educated and we had economical problems. At the age of 18 a teacher wanted to marry me and ı had not to much to say. My parents thought ıt was a good idea and I married. I had a daughter 1 year later. I lost my husband due to a bad illness. He even did not say it to me . I came back to my fathers house with a daughter 4 years old. The society’s pressure was more and more on a widow with a child. I tried hard until my doughter came 15 years old. I got married again in these years . I moved to Balıkesir with my daughter. My husbund was living there. But this amarriage was a disaster too. I divorced 3 monts later. And the route was known: my father’s house and the little town. İn 1988 my doughter achived to be a student in Uludağ university ın Bursa. We moved to Bursa. My doughter finished the university, got married and had his own firm now. Now I live in Edremit. I join lots of courses and go on my life.

Ben feride Durusoy. 1951 yılında Balıkesir Susurlukta doğdum. Küçük bir kasaba küçük bir ve ama büyük ve yokluk dolu bir aile. Babam köfteci idi. Evde köfte yapar ve istasyonda yolculara köfte satarak geçimimizi sağlardı. Benden önce 2 kardeşim öldü . İkisi de erkekti. Üç kardeş o küçük evde büyüdük. Uzun yıllar anne baba babaanne dede amca ve yengeler o küçük evde yaşadık. Babam askere gidince geçim derdine düştük. Okula gidiyordum ve başarılıydım. Babam askerden gelince bisiklet dükkânı açtı. 1960 ihtilalı de olunca ekonomik ve sosyal sorunlardan dolayı okulu bıraktım. Küçük dükkanda çocuklara bisiklet kiralayıp arkalarından koşarak çocukluk yıllarımı geçirdim. Gençlik yılları daha zordu. Ekonomik problemler ve okuyamamış olmamın verdiği eziklik geçmiyordu. 18 yaşında bir öğretmen talibim çıktı. Söyleyecek çok sözüm yoktu. Evlendim. 1 yıl sonra kızım oldu. 4 yıl sonra eşimi kaybettim. Benden bile sakladığı ölümcül bir hastalıktan. 4 yaşında bir çocuk ile yine baba ocağına dönmüştüm. Toplumda oluşturulmuş dul etiketi ve 1 çocuk ile hayat öncekinden daha da zordu. Kızım 15 yaşına gelene kadar mücadele ettim. Tam bu yıllarda pes ederek yine evlendim. Eşimin yanına Balıkesir’e taşındım. Fakat yine mutluluğu bulamamıştım. 3 ay sonra boşandım. Ben yine kasabaya döndüm. 1988 yılında kızım Bursa da üniversiteye başladı. Ben de kızım ile birlikte Bursa’ya gittim.. Kızım evlendi. Bir şirket kurdu. Maddi durumları gayet iyi. Ben de Edremit’te yaşıyorum. Yeni arkadaşlar edindim. Kurslara katılıyorum ve hayata tutunuyorum.

LITTLE WATER TURTLES Hello I am Hatice Hilal Evrenos. In 1959 ı was born in a small village called çambidi in Havran Balıkesir. My parents were farmers and ı was the third daughter. 30 august is my birthday. It was a happy day form y family. They were happy for two times because it was the victory day of Turkish republic. That year the fall rain started to come earlier. The figs after whole year work were under the rain. If you don’t take the necessary precautions your figs don’t make any money. But we needed the figs to live. It was a hard work. So in rainy days in our farm hose everybody was in a hurry. You know fig. İt can be eaten fresh or dried. It grows in the beginning of august and give fruit without making any flowers. It doesn’t like rain. Rain makes worms in it. Their value decreases. To dry them needs to time and effort. Its homeland is Mediterranean and South west Asia. It is rich in calcium and phosphor. It is good for bone growing and renewing the cells. From 100 grams figs you take the necessary minerals of your body needs You take the calcium % 17 iron and magnesium %30 phosphor %20 and b1 vitamin %5 and b2 %4 . Fig helps the digestion. Fresh fig leaves cure warts. If you dry the leaves in shadow it helps haemorrhoid. It opens the veins and respiratory system. And we earn our life with it. We used to move to the farm house with whole family to listen the birds to breathe the clean air among the green and of course to pick up the figs. Our simple house made of the bricks and the wooden roof was our house which protects us from the rain. The hot weather welcomes us. In the morning when ı wake up ı take out water from the hand pump and wash my hands and face. I used to organize the games and think about the food ı would eat that day. I had no idea about the Works. My family talk about the things to do in the morning. The woman make the food make bread and the men plow the field dry the figs preparing places to sell the figs trimming the trees. Among all these work ı create new games always ask questions to the elder to take their attention. I was talking so much my grandma was warning me. My favourite question was when the work will finish. But in fact ı knew the work never finishes.

One day the sky was full of black clouds. We heard the lightning and thunder. The rain started. The men rush away. The rain continued on to much ı was bored. Our conversation with grandma started in such a day. My grandma told me about the turtles living in the water flowing near our farm. When the children asked how they come to world the elder say the children that the storks bring. But my grandma said that that they had taken me from the hands of that turtles. After that day ı went several timers to watch the turtles. I could not understand that they were so week and careless. I thought they were going to take me and hide me under the long grass or reeds. And ı remember to be afraid of that. I know you are going to laugh me if ı say still have the fear. I am 54 now but ı can’t watch turtles on a documentary. When ı see one in somewhere ı can’t touch and ı run away. It may be funny but it is important that the childhood fears affects whole our life. Please don’t let your children to grow with fear. I hope you pleasant and fearless day all of you.

MİNİK SU KAPLUMBAĞALARI Merhaba ben Hatice Hilal Evrenos. Yıl1959 Türkiye’de Balıkesir’in Havran ilçesinde küçük bir köy Çamdibi. Ben o köyde çiftçi bir ailenin 3. Kız çocuğu olarak dünyaya gelmişim. Ağustos sıcağının son günleri 30 Ağustos sabahı benim doğum günüm. Ailem için sevinç dolu bir gün olmuş. O gün iki mutluluğu birden yaşamışlar. Hem benim dünyaya gelişim ham de o günün bir bayram olması çifte bir mutluluk yaşatmış aileme. O yaz sonbahar yağmurları daha erkenden yağmaya başlamış. Bütün bir yılın emeği olan incirler, kurumamış serili olan incirler yağmur altında kalmıştı. Gereken önlemler alınmazsa incirler para etmez, bütün bir yılın uğraşı boşa giderdi. Kazanç elde edilmeyince ailemin yaşantısı zora girerdi. Kolay değildi. O nedenle yağmurlu günlerde bağ evimizde bir koşuşturma başlar. Herkes telaşlanırdı. İnciri bilirsiniz hem taze hem de kuru olarak tüketilen bir meyvedir. Ağustos başında olgunlaşır çiçek açmadan meyve bağlayan tek meyvedir. Yağmuru sevmez, kurtlanır. Değeri düşer. Kurutmak için güneş ister. Emek ister. Ana vatanı doğu Akdeniz ve güney batı asyadır. Kalsiyum ve fosfor bakımından zengindir. Kemik gelişimi için yararlıdır. İnsan bedeninin hücrelerini yeniler. Yüz gram kuru incirden; Vücudumuzun gereksimi olan kalsiyumun %17 si demir ve magnezyumun %30 fosforun %20 si B1 vitamininin %5 B2 nin %4 ünü alırız. İncir sindirimi kolaylastırır. Körpe incir yapraklarının sütü siile iyi gelir. Gölgede kurutulmuş incir yapraklarından hemoroite fayda görürüz. Damarları acar nefes darlığına iyi gelir. Saymakla bitiremeyeceğimiz faydalar sağladığımız bu incirdir bizim geçim kaynağımız. Yaz mevsimi geldiğinde ailemle birlikte yeşillikler arasında tremiz havayı solumak kus cıvıltılarını dinlemek hepsinden önemlisi olgunlaşan incirleri toplamak için incir tarlasındaki bağ evimize göç ederdik. Bu bağ evimizin kırmızı tuğla duvarları ve tahta tavanı ile bizim barınağımız; yağan yağan yağmurlardan koruyan korunağımız olurdu. Bizi sıcacık bağrına basardı. Sabahları kalktığımda evin önündeki el tulumbasından su çekip ellerimi ve yüzümü yıkardım. Hemen o gün oynayacağım oyunları, yiyeceğim yemekleri düşünürdüm. Benim yapılacak işlerle ilgili düşüncelerim olmazdı. Aile büyüklerim daha sabah kahvaltısında yapacakları işleri görüşürlerdi. Kadınlar yemek yapma telasından erkekler tarla sürme incir kurutma sergi yerleri hazırlama ağaç budama işerini planlarlardı. Ben bu telaşlar

içinde kendime yeni oyunlar yaratır, sürekli büyüklerime sorular sorar, onların dikkatlerini çekmeye çalışırdım. Çok konuştuğum içinde babaannem tarından sürekli uyarılırdım.En çok sorduğum sorulardan biride işlerinin ne zaman bitmeyecekti..Oysa bende biliyordum ki onların işleri hiçbir zaman bitmeyecekti., Günlerden bir gün hava kararmış gökyüzü kapkara bulutlarla kaplanmıştı. Birden etrafta gök gürültüsü ve şimşek sesleri yankılandı. Ardından sağanak yağış başladı. Evin erkekleri çevreye koşuştu. Yağmur uzun sürünce canım çok sıkıldı. Böyle bir gündü babaannemle sohbetimizin başlaması. Babaannem bana bahçenin kenarından şırıl şırıl akan deredeki su kaplumbağalarını anlattı. Büyükler çocuklarına nasıl sahip olduklarını anlatırken bazen seni leylekler getirdi derler, bizim oralarda. Oysaki babaannem bana seni su kaplumbağalarının elinden aldık diye anlatmıştı o gün. Ben o günden sonra O dere kenarına sık sık gidip su kaplumbağalarının kollarını oynatmalarını izlemeye başlamıştım. Çocukluk işte onların ne kadar zararsız ve çaresiz hayvanlar olduğunu düşünemiyordum. Beni alıp götüreceklerini, suyun kenarındaki uzun otların, sazlıkların arasında saklayacaklarını düşünerek onlardan ürkmeye başladığımı hatırlıyorum. Yıllar sonra düşünerek bulduğum bu çocukluğumla ilgili bilinç altı korkumun hala sürdüğünü söylesem bana güleceksiniz biliyorum. Ama bu bir gerçek. Ben 54 yasındayım ama bir belgeselde su kaplumbağaları izleyemem, ürkerim. Bir kenarda duran bir görünce kabuğuna saklanan zavallı hayvancıklara dokunamam, yanından uzaklaşırım. İşte size çok komikte gelse bu çocukluktan edinilmiş korkuların ne denli önemli olduğunu anlatan bir yasam öyküsü. Lütfen sizler çocuklarınızı korkuyla büyümelerine izin vermeyin. Sevgi ve saygılarımla mutlu, korkusuz bir yasam diliyorum hepinize.

RAFET SOLMAZ I was born in Çanakkale in the west of turkey but ı have been living in Burhaniye for 40 years. Burhaniye is a place where the green and blue come together. It is small and quit in the winter and it is crowded funny and wonderful in summer. It has some major beaches. the most important is Oren beach 1000 metres long and 500 metres wide. When you go in the sea in the first 5 or ten metres it is quite shallow. The next 15-20 metres is too deep. Later it is swallowing again. The youngest play ball in the sea. A person who does not know that fact can think that they can go there by walking. Many many years ago it was 09.00 or 10.00 in the morning. The beach wasn’t so crowded. People were coming to swim and taking a place in the beach. A family with a girl at the age of 14-15 were sitting in the beach. The girl wanted to go and play volleyball with young people in the sea. . It was obvious that the family did not know the beach and they were tourists. The girl thought that she could go by walking. The girl went to the sea but she started to cry shout and she did not know how to swim. The parents of the girl were shouting from the beach because they did not know how to swim either. I was taking shower and ready to go home. I run and jumped in the sea. I reached the girl she had already drunk too much salty water she was going down ı took it to the surface and hardly brought it to the beach. With my first aid knowledge ı took out the water from her mouth and nose. The girl started to breathe again and opened her eyes. We took it to the hospital. She survived. There was no danger anymore. Her father and mother were kissing and hugging me while they were crying when the doctors were examining her. The happiness of her parents and saving a young life made a very happy. I was crying too. The young girl and her family moved to Burhaniye later. They found me. They came to my house. We were friends, family friends. She says me t hat ı was her second father. She is now a woman about 40-45 years old. We sometimes meet in the street and remember the day. She always looks me with thankful and smiling eyes. I still swim in the same beach. I remember that day every time. I sometimes meet people who come to Oren for the first time. And ı always warn them. I am very lucky because ı had the opportunity to give a second change to a person. I am very happy that. Be careful if you don’t know swimming don’t go further.

DENİZİN ŞAKASI YOKTUR Türkiye’nin batısında Çanakkale’de doğdum ama kırk yıldır Burhaniye’de ilçesinde yaşıyorum Burhaniye yeşille mavinin kucaklaştığı bir yerdir. Kışın sakin ve küçüktür ama yazın kalabalık eğlenceli ve harikadır. Belli baslı plajları vardır. En önemlisi Ören plajıdır. bin metre uzunluğunda beş yüz metre genişliğindedir Denize girince ilk 5-10 oldukça sığdır. Sonraki 15-20 metre çok derindir sonra yine sığlaşır su Derin değildir.. Orada gençler su içinde top oynarlar. Sahilden bakanlar ve bölgenin özelliğini bilmeyenler sanırlar ki kıyıdan yürüyerek oraya kolay gidilebilir Yıllar önce sabah saat 9-10 suları plajda çok kalabalık yok denize girmek isteyenler yeni yeni gelip plaja oturuyorlar. 14-15 yaslarında kızları olan bir aile plaja gelip oturuyorlar kız top oynayan denizde voleybol oynayan geçlerin yanına gidip onlara katılmak istiyor Ailenin ören plajına ilk gelişleri, plajın ve denizin özelliklerini bilmedikleri belli, genç kız yürüyerek gideceğini sanıyor.5-10 metre sonra birden derinleşen deniz ve yüzme bilmeyen genç kız birden çırpınmaya ve bağırmaya başlıyor anne ve babada yüzme bilmiyor, onlarda kıyıda feryat ediyorlar. Ben de duşumu alıp eve gitmeye hazırlanıyordum. Koştum ve hemen denize atladım. Kıza ulaştım. Çok fazla su yutmuştu. Dibe doğru batıyordu. Onu yüzeye çıkardım ve zorlukla da olsa kıyıya çıkardım. İlk yardım bilgimle ağzından ve burnundan yuttuğu suları dışarı çıkardım. Kız yeniden nefes almaya başladı ve gözlerini açtı. Onu hastaneye götürdük. Yaşama döndü. Hayati tehlike yoktu. Doktorlar kızı muayene ederken kızın annesi ve babası hem ağlıyor hem de bana sarılıyor beni öpüyordu. Ailesinin mutluluğu genç bir insanın hayatını kurtarmak beni çok mutlu etmişti. Ben de ağlıyordum. Genç kız ve ailesi daha sonra Burhaniye ye taşındı. Beni buldular ve evime ziyarette bulundular. Ailece arkadaş olmuştuk. Bana benim onun ikinci babası olduğumu söyledi Şu anda 40-45 yaşlarında bir bayan. Bazen sokakta karşılaşır ve o günü hatırlarız. Bana her zaman teşekkür dolu ve gülümseyen gözlerle bakar. Aynı plajda hala yüzüyorum. O günü hala hatırlarım. Bazen örene ilk defa gelen insanlarla tanışırım ve onları her zaman uyarırım. Çok mutluyum çünkü bir kimseye yaşaması için ikinci bir şans verebildim. Dikkatli olun yüzme bilmiyorsanız çok açılmayın.

Motto: “My story is (his)story”.




Joanna Roberta

Hello, my name is Aoife McGuigan and I am 37 years old. I come from Omagh, in the west of Northern Ireland where I live and work as a nurse.

My work is challenging although I love it. I work hard but I also like to make the most of my free time. I enjoy outdoor pursuits, like rock climbing as well as spending time with my friends.

I needed a qualification in maths to further my career so I decided to join South West College in Omagh. I found a course which offered numeracy classes for free. I enrolled and met some wonderful people there, my tutor Lorrayne helped me a lot and through her teaching and my hard work. I gained the qualification I needed and now the world is my oyster!

The Power of Life Stories-Damian and Joanna’s Stories

This my sisters and my own life story that’s going to explain why both of us decided to go back to education, but let’s go back to the very beginning…

It was May 1986. In the oldest town of Poland a boy was born called Damian ‌

This is me on the left with my parents, sister and brother on right. Mum is a baker and dad used to be a stonemason. In 1989 my mum gave birth to my wee sister Joanna. From a very young age we were very close to each other and got on well.

At the age of 16 I started education in Secondary School of hotel Administration which gave me a fantastic opportunity to develop my skills through the training provided by the school, so I was sent to Holland for 3 months, where I met great people and got loads of experience. I graduated school in year 2006. After that I got an offer to go Northern Ireland. I took the opportunity to start a new life. With my previous experience I didn’t have any problem to find a job in a restaurant. After one year I found a new job in our local bakery.

I also make birthday cakes at home; here are a few photos from my Facebook page‌

In the meantime Joanna had finished school and became a professional cook. We decided that Joanna will come and join me in Ireland. She got a job in a restaurant called the Village Inn.

In our free time we love to travel and spend time together‌

Last Christmas we decided that our mum will move to Ireland to live with us so finally we could spend Christmas in a lovely, family atmosphere.

Mum joined English class with us.

But after school we try to show her all the beautiful places in Northern Ireland‌

By our story we wanted to show how important 2 things are: family and willing to be a better person everyday ;)

I have three sisters and one brother. I am single and I don’t have any children yet. I am living with my sister and brother in law. We speak Polish in our house. The rest of my family live in Poland in a small village next to Poznan, the name of the village is Niestabin.

I I live in Aloha View Street in Dungannon. There are a lot of green areas in my part of town. All the neighbours have gardens behind their houses too. There is a children’s playground area and children play on the street. They play football and ride on bicycles and sometimes they look through the window into my living room. There is a Spar shop and a Chinese food shop nearby. I only know one of my neighbours. They are very nice. I talk to them in Polish language because they are from Poland. It is about half an hour walk from my house to the town centre. If I take my sister’s car, it is five minute. If my sister needs the car or doesn’t want to lend me the car, I have to use public bus, when I go on a trip in Northern Ireland. I don’t know anything about neighbourhood watch and neighbourhood association in my area. I work evening shift in Linden Foods as a process operator. I start at 5pm and finish around midnight, sometimes earlier and sometimes later, because our customers’ orders are very flexible. I am working on the scales and I sometimes pack chicken into boxes.

I like my job because it isn’t difficult, but sometimes I think about changing because I would like to work on dayshift. I usually speak English at work but I speak in my native language with my Polish colleagues. I usually go by taxi to work, but sometimes my boyfriend takes me there and sometimes my sister lends me her car. I have a doctor and I have only got to visit him once. I had to use Polish interpreters during my visit to the doctors. I have never been to the dentist here because I am not registered in Northern Ireland because I have my own dentist in Poland. I visited an optician here, because I have an eye infection and after this he recommended to me to start wearing contact lenses so I listened to him and sometimes I wear glasses, sometimes contact lenses. For me it is very important to learn English, because I will be able to find a better job and speak fluently in English with my Irish friends and people from other countries. I will have no problems to communicate with my doctor, in the bank and with shop assistants. I use English at work, in the bank and in the shops. I watch television in English language sometimes. I think knowledge of English is very important in my country and I think that I will go back to Poland but I am not sure. Grammar is difficult for me and I have problems with understanding people. I finished secondary school with specialization in technical building. I was working in my country as a babysitter for three months and accountant for 5 years. I made invoices for customers. I had contact with customers and drivers, because I organized transport to deliver goods to customers. Danuta

My family is composed from dad, mum, one brother, two sisters and my uncle who lives with us. I’m not married and I don’t have kids, I’m living with an Irish family because I’m working as au pair, my entire family lives in Italy. Fortunately I speak English in my household.

I’m living in the countryside of Dungannon, which is 6 miles far away from the town centre, the nearby shops are two miles far away from my house and I usually use public transport to go everywhere. I don’t know much about my neighbours, because I’ve been living in this area for four months and I don’t have a lot of opportunity to speak with them. I love this area, because it makes me feel relaxed, it is very green, peaceful and quiet. However, I think it is more for retired couples than you people, there isn’t any playgrounds around this area.

I am working as an au-pair; as you know, my job is in the house with the kids. I usually start at 3 pm and finish at 8 pm, Saturdays and Sundays are my days off. My main duties are cooking, cleaning the kitchen and living room and staying with the children, I’d like to change my job in the near future because I want to move to another country to work in an international company or an NGO, or else move to Belfast. Fortunately, I speak English all the time because I do not know any other Italian people in the area, and this is in a way an advantage. I’ll be grateful for this experience in Northern Ireland for the rest of my life.

I’d like to improve my English, in the shop, at work, in the street etc. I usually don’t read newspapers in English, because I prefer reading them in Italian language to understand the situation better, but, I spend a lot of time reading books in English. For me to get an International qualification means that I have a certificate to show when I need it and to have proof of my English Level. I wish to go back to Italy in July and get a job there. Yes I’d like to attend different courses at the College, like another English, Spanish or Business course part-time. I find it difficult in English pronunciation and listening, while it is easy to read it.

I have a Master’s Degree in Education (science), I completed primary and secondary school, I completed a course at University in Italy, the name of the course was ‘Scienze Pedagogiche’. I worked in International Cooperation in Italy and Spain for a while, before deciding to come to Ireland to improve my English.


My life story My name is Grazina. I am from Lithuania but I live in Dungannon, Northern Ireland. I have one child. She is 19 and she is happy enough, she has a job in Funky Monkeys, a children’s amusement centre. I am living just with my daughter now. My mother lives in Lithuania. My father died many years ago. I have a twin sister and older sister. One of my sisters lives in Manchester, in England I finished college in Lithuania, Business administration. I never worked in the administration field. All my life I worked in different shops as an assistant. I enjoyed my education, because I liked to work with people and communicate with them. It gives me satisfaction and experience. Also, I like to suggest something useful to people or help solve some problems in their life. I came to Northern Ireland 5 years ago. Then it was a very hard time for me. I lost my job in Lithuania and, also, I divorced from my husband. I was damaged emotionally. I started to go deep into people relationships and understood mistakes people make. I read many psychological books and listen to spiritual lectures about how to improve our relationship. I think people need knowledge about many things in our life. Firstly, how to improve ourselves and to understand mistakes. I think difficulties make us stronger and give us wisdom. Only through the difficulties can we improve. So, when I arrived to N. Ireland, I started to work in a restaurant washing dishes. This job was very hard. Later, I worked in the United Hot Food bar in Dungannon. I was happy that I had a job, any job. After one year, a Lithuanian food shop was opened in Dungannon so I started to work in there and I am still in it. I think I was lucky because I have a good job and a good salary. But I feel tired in my present work. I would like to change my job to a completely different field. I want to work with cosmetic products. In my experience, I have enough knowledge about cosmetics for different kinds of skins. I worked in a cosmetic shop, Body shop, while in Lithuania, for nearly five years. However, to achieve my goal is not easy at this moment, I have to improve my English to a higher level. In my forties, I feel mature, with experience, That is a great time that I have to live for myself, enhjoy my free time and do what I like. I feel I am emotionally mature and seek to spend my free time purposefully and also to improve spiritually. It gives a valuable meaning to my life for me.

I am married and have three daughters and one son. My husband and I live with our children in the one house, but I don’t live with my parents. I have two brothers and three sisters. I am the third child of six children. My parents live in East Timor with my two brothers and three sisters. My elder sister lives in Sydney with her family. I live in Northern Ireland with my husband and my children only, and we live alone without any other relatives or friends. Every day I speak English with my children. Sometimes I speak Tetum with them if I was angry, but my youngest child can’t speak Tetum because since she was born I have spoken to her in English, even if I am angry I must speak English with her. My husband and I talk Tetum only. I converse with my children in English because I want to improve their English and also mine as well. As this is a good idea to practice our English. I live in Annagole Dungannon. I really like this area because it is nearby the bus stop and shops. If my children go to school, I don’t need to accompany them to catch the bus. I just watch them from my window in my living room and I don’t need to collect them when they come back from school. There is a green area for children to play when its summer time, but there aren’t any children’s playgrounds. I bring my children to the playground that is behind Tesco’s. In my area we have two mini markets nearby. If I want to buy something like break or milk, I just walk about a minute to get it. If I have to buy a lot of things, mostly I go to Tesco, because they have a variety of things and also a very good price. From my area to

the town centre there is about 10 minutes of a walk, I mostly walk to the town centre. I don’t know any neighbours in my neighbourhood, but I usually chat with my neighbour who lives next to me, she is from Brazil but her husband is from East Timor. We always help one another, like if she goes to hospital, I look after her children. In my area that I live, there are no neighbourhood associations. Mostly I bring my children to the community clubs in the town centre, when its summertime. I use public transport when I go shopping far away like Craigavon or Belfast, but usually I just walk because I live near the town. I came to Northern Ireland in 2009, the first place that I worked in was Belfast. There was a fair and they needed a worker to work in Burger King. By chance, my friend knew somebody there and she called me into work there. My employment was as a waitress and also kitchen helper. I started at 8:00am and finished work at 6:00pm. My main duty in this job was to prepare the burgers. I worked about two weeks because the fair only lasted two weeks. After that I found another job in Avondale Foods in Lurgan. It was a salad factory. I worked twelve hours per day and it was a temporary job and I didn’t work full-time. I liked this job because it was not boring. I did a variety of jobs like cut an assortment of vegetables, pack, etc. I would have wanted to change this job because it was not a full-time job. I found a full-time job in Moy Park. Then, I decided to end my work in Avondale Foods, although I liked that job. I worked in Moy Park in the evening shift, I started at 3:45pm and finished at 12:00am. My main duty in this job was packing fillets. I didn’t like this job but I don’t have a choice to change it. This job was really easy but the place I worked, it was really cold and also you just stood while packing for three hours at a time. I spoke English in my work with the people from another country only, but, I mostly spoke my own language with my friends because there were a lot of people from East Timor. I usually got to work by bus, but I didn’t work again because I needed to look after my children.

I registered with a doctor here, my GP’s name is Dr Gaffney. I have not seen the doctor often but, I have been to the GP before. The first time I went to the doctor, I found it difficult to speak to the GP to explain my health issues. I needed an interpreter to help me when I went there but I don’t need an interpreter now because I want to try by myself. I have registered with a dentist too and I have been to a dentist several times. Also I have been to an optician’s as well. I wear glasses at the moment, but I don’t often use them. English is a really important language for me as I live here with my family, I need to help my children do their homework and also speak with them as well. Likewise, everyplace I go, I must speak English. That’s why I want to learn it. I’m learning English, it’s not to find a better job but I want to speak fluently then I want to choose another course at the College. I use English everywhere, except in my friends’ or family house because they are from East Timor as well. We never speak English when we talk to each other. I read newspapers in English but sometimes. I mostly watch television in English but it is difficult sometimes to understand it. An International qualification is very important for me because I can use it when I go back to my country to find a better job. I would go back to my home town, when my children complete their school. I would choose another course as well while waiting for my children to do their studies. Before I do another course, I need to improve my English first because I still have difficulties in speaking, writing and reading. I completed primary and secondary school as well. Also, I got a certificate from high school, but I didn’t finish my university studies as I just studied until 6th semester. It was because my country had a problem and after the situation came back to normal, I decided to find a job. I worked in NGO (NonGovernment Organisation) for three months and after that I planned to come here to change my lifestyle. Mary

My name is Felicidade, I am 37 years old. I was born in France, from immigrant Portuguese parents. I stayed in France until I was 12 years old. I have very good memories from this time. I learned French, I studied in a different education system, and for me in my future, it helped me so much to have a different opinion about education. I have two more sisters, also born in France. I finished my secondary education when I was 17 years old. I quit to start working. I worked in a city called Guarda, 12 years in a factory ( electric system of cars). It was a good job, I made good friends for life, I received good pay at the time, and the best was I met my husband in this factory. After 2 years, I moved to Coimbra, to have a new start with Antonio, and after maybe 2 years, my daughter Selena was born. We tried hard to work, but it was not enough, and we decided to move to Northern Ireland, where my youngest sister had been working and living for almost 3 years. My eldest sister still lives in Portugal. After 2 weeks living in Dungannon, we both found a job in a factory, Moy park. I work there only at weekends, but it is a hard job, it is too many hours and the environment is cold. My duties include cutting chicken meat off the bone. Two years have almost gone, living day by day, but we are very happy because I have my family ( my husband, daughter and sister) I stay always strong! It was the best decision for us to leave Portugal, more for Selena, because, I see a better future for her here and for me too! This country gives me hope, because it gives so much oportunity, for study, for work! I start to believe again in myself: nothing is impossible! I started learning English, I feel more confident to speak with people. I can understand people in the shops, at my workplace (though there are a lot of people from other countries, like East Timor, but also some Irish people to practise with!), at Selena’s daycare, the bank, etc. But I want more! I might do a full-time course in the future, maybe IT; and I attend a confidence building course in the Women’s Centre (which will hopefully help me find a better job!) I want to learn Mandarin because, for me it is the second most important language in the world, after English. I want to keep an open mind. Do you know what I mean? I discovered a passion for craft: crochet and working with fabrics. I discovered that I have a creative mind, something I didn’t know about myself, and maybe my future will be working with craft and be selfemployed. I need some time and patience, but with the support of my family, I will win more battles and show to myself and my family it is never too late to realise our dreams! It is never too late for you, your time is never finished! If you have dreams, believe in yourself and fight for your happiness.

Power Of Life Stories –Roberta’s Presentation My name is Roberta Malone. I am 38 years old and have 3 gorgeous daughters called Rachel (15), Kathryn (13) and Andrea (10) and a very understanding and patient other half, Alan. I live in a small village in Northern Ireland called Fivemiletown. It has 2 churches, 2 primary schools, a few shops and 6 is Ireland of course!! There are approximately 2000 people living in Fivemiletown. It is in the west of Northern Ireland, about 65 miles west of Belfast. We are an incredibly close family and my life revolves around the girls completely. I have been a stay at home mum until recently but I don't regret a minute of the time I spent at home with them. I'd like to tell you firstly a little about the voluntary work I do. I am a member of a fund raising group for a charity called Marie Curie Cancer Care. I don't know if you have ever heard of it... it is a UK based charity that provides palliative care to people with terminal illnesses. These patients are given the choice of where they want to be for their last days. Our nurses provide them and their families with the free hands on care and emotional support, in their own homes, or a Marie Curie Hospice, right until the end. Generally a Marie Curie nurse visits a patient for 9 hours overnight or 3-6 hours during the day or evening. This is funded 50% by NHS and 50% from Marie Curie, which is where I and many others come in! Why did I get involved with this charity? My friend Ruth is a Marie Curie nurse and she asked me to go with her to a fund raising meeting. Once I saw how much hard work and dedication goes into providing the care given to the patient and their families, I decided I would like to support Marie Curie in whatever way I could. I am very grateful for the good health myself and my family enjoy and I wanted to help provide the help to any family that needed it. Our Fund raising eventsIn July 2011 we had our first fund raising event in our local church hall – a coffee morning and family fun day – we raised nearly £1000. It was a brilliant day and we have continued every year to have this event in different towns in our area. Our community is very supportive of our events. Each year Marie Curie Cancer Care organise a sponsored walk in Omagh, a

town about 20 miles from where I live. It is called Walk 10, because it is 10km and it ends at 10pm, which is when the majority of Marie Curie night shifts begin. Over 600 walkers participated and raised well over £15,000. Head Shave – In July 2012 I had all my hair shaved off to raise money for Marie Curie. The reason I done this was due to having a serious operation in April 2012. This surgery removed any chances I had of having any more children. I was very very disappointed and upset at having this decision taken from my hands, but so thankful to have been given a second chance at life. I thought I should do something to celebrate the fact I was one of the success stories. It was a very emotional night but I have decided to always focus on the positives in my life. We had a party of it, as only the Irish can! And as a hairdresser shaved my hair off, the donations flooded in. We also had men getting their legs and chests waxed – such fun watching grown men cry!! We do many fund raising events throughout the year. Why do we fund raise? Every £20 pays for 1 hour of care. That’s the bottom line for could so easily have been me, it could still happen to me or someone I love dearly. Work I have always worked as a carer- firstly adults with learning difficulties and physical disabilties, then children and most recently with the elderly. I get real satisfaction from caring for others. I love meeting people, caring for them, making them happy and comfortable. Communication is important to me, in fact I am passionate about it. The majority of people I have worked with have limited or little means of verbal communication – does this mean they cannot communicate? Certainly not! Everyone regardless of age, ability or nationality has the right to hear and be heard. I can still communicate with a person with no speech through nonverbal communication, i.e. body language – knowing that person; they're likes and dislikes etc. I can't say “I love you" in your languages but “I love you "can be universally signed easily. I can communicate through sign language – used mainly by deaf community but not exclusively. I have passed Level 1 in British Sign Language. I am working towards Level 2 and hope to start my own business very soon teaching children to sign through music, another passion of mine. I would like to teach you the alphabet in BSL Study I had ambitions of becoming a nurse but at the age of 15 I discovered boys

and study lost its appeal. I put my efforts into impressing a certain handsome 20 year old fella I had met.... the rest is history! Yes, I have many regrets about not studying and achieving more – BUT – I have 3 amazing daughters and I wouldn't swap them for any career. Where to from here My life experiences have taught me so much. What I thought important at 16 years old, is so unimportant now, but without these experiences I may not be the person I am today. I am thankful for the life I have with my girls, the wonderful friends I have and the many skills I have. Life is good at the minute, I am happy, content and am loved – what more can anyone ask for in life. My motto – life is to be lived, not endured. Thank you for your attention – I hope you have enjoyed my presentation and have learned something useful from it.

E book thepoweroflifestories