Diana & Demetrio
Peterborough is a very special place for Diana and Demetrio, and they are now planning their wedding in the city having got ‘married’ back in East Timor in the traditional style. Demetrio has been working locally, and started living in the city five years ago. They love Peterborough! Both are looking to improve their English, although they find this difficult as courses are so very expensive.
In the early 1990s Demetrio was very active in student politics and had to flee on several occasions from the Indonesian military government that occupied his homeland, this greatly disrupted his studies and he has found himself trying to play catch up with his education for almost three decades: “With few or no qualifications life is not as comfortable as it could be, no good for a well-paid job.”
They are both very active in the local East Timorese community, which they estimate to be over 400 strong. “Recently, we collected up information about our community, and there are 99 East Timorese families living in Peterborough - they like very much to have an organisation like ours.”
Celso & Maria
Celso is the driving force behind the East Timorese Association, and he acts as a volunteer co-ordinator pulling together others and organising the community so it can help all its members and play a full role in local community life.
Maria and Celso were forced to leave East Timor in 1996 as the political situation deteriorated. “I fought and suffered when my country was occupied by Indonesia from 1975 onwards. Life was a real misery, and there were lots of deaths, some 200,000 people were killed by the Indonesian military. My grandparents and parents were from Portugal so first we went to Lisbon. Our children were born there. Ten years ago we come to Peterborough, as there are more opportunities for us as a family and for working.”
Maria ‘loves it’ now in Peterborough, and she supported Celso in setting up the Association as they both thought it was crucial to have a self-help community group. This was some seven years ago. They are delighted how well it has progressed and what it has become.
For Zito as a young man living and growing up in Indonesian-occupied East Timor life was a real challenge and things were always difficult: “everything was smashed to bits after the war.”
Having secured a degree in Civil Engineering he felt inspired, with friends, to leave the capital Dili and come to Europe. Firstly, to Portugal and then onto Peterborough. “When I first come here in 2004 are only a handful of us living here - in fact, just 14 East Timorese families living here but life is good and there is plenty of work.” Zito arrived with just US$50 in his pocket, but friends helped him out at the beginning. He got his first job after only two days in the city packing onions in a factory.
Many years later he is still working hard, doing nightshift work in a local factory - whilst his wife does day shifts. Zito has a young family - two sons and a daughter. He has been involved in the Association from its earliest days and now proudly acts as its Vice President. He is keen to see the Association do more to secure a community engagement and believes that sport - especially football - can be a really good way of bringing this about.
Alda & Quetodia
Learning English, especially writing a new language has been really difficult for both Alda and Quetodia. Now only are they very busy with young families but they both often clock up 40+ hours a week working at Morrisons and for Amazon, with Alda doing nightshifts so that she can make enough money to live in Peterborough and also send money back to her parents in East Timor who are looking after her three children aged 14, 11 and seven. Jobs back in Dili remain scarce and opportunities are few and far between. Quotodia is also working hard to do the same as her friend, and support children back in the home country.
The Association is very important to them socially and emotionally, and they talk about the positive and enjoyable way it helps bring everyone together from their community. “We are all very close as a community, supporting and helping each other. This makes life in Peterborough very good for us.”
East Timorese Association of Peterborough (ETAP'boro) is non profit community organisation which aims to support the social, economic and cultural needs of Timorese people living in Peterborough.
Peterborough, PE1 3QH
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