Portugueses de Sundsvall

Muita gente sabe que os portugueses podem aparecer nos sitios mais reconditos do planeta. Decidi, de memória, fazer um pequeno e limitado relatório sobre a relação entre os portugueses e a cidade de Sundsvall na Suécia.

Provávelmente a primeira referencia terá sido o Joaquim Oliveira que andava embarcado nos barcos do SCA e por conseguinte passava pouco tempo em terra. Voltou para o seu Algarve mas acabou por desaparecer servindo este artigo tambem como um convite para quem souber dele enviar alguma informação sobre o seu paradeiro. Fizeram permanencia curta na década de 80 os filhos João e José.

Quando da construcão do hospital distrital tambem cá parou o arquitecto Luis Pereira hoje em Estocolmo.

Quem para cá veio e ficou fe-lo por ter conhecido alguem o que afinal é um motivo sobejamente universal para que as pessoas mudem os rumos às suas vida. Assim se passou comigo quando definitivamente vim para cá viver em 1973. Tambem por mesmos motivos cá apareceu ainda na década de 70 a Isabel Costa beirã da zona de Viseu que hoje é enfermeira e trabalha em Estocolmo nunca deixando de visitar Sundsvall. Pouco tempo depois apareceu a Manuela Pettersson que tendo conhecido o Lennart lá para as bandas de Coimbra aqui se estabeleceu e ficou, tendo já netos à sua conta.

Tambem a algarvia Guiomar Holmström veio mais tarde e casou-se com o Mikael trabalhando presentemente numa pré escolar.

O Herlander Sapage é outra história, veio mas sem nunca ter um relacionamento a 100% com esta cidade, trabalha e vive hoje em Luleå. A Graça Olsson esteve cá uns anos, foi para Estocolmo mas está de volta, já que o filho por cá ficou. A querida Helena Sequeira Svedin portuense e professora de linguas deixou-nos prematuramente deixando tambem filhos e o Björn que foi afinal o motivo que a trouxe para estas bandas.

Todos estes vieram pois conheceram quem os para cá trouxe. A minha mulher Patricia tambem veio por mesmo motivo trazendo os dois rapazes David e Daniel aos quais se juntou tambem o irmão Cristóvão Meneses.

Tambem há exemplos do contrário como é o caso do Miguel Varanda que hoje vive em Lisboa com a sua Malin.

A Catarina Conde trabalhava aqui na medicina mas já foi para outras paragens.

Com a aparecimento da Mittuniversitet dá a nossa cidade passos largos para a internacionalização que uma universidade sempre cria e desenvolve. Para estudar fotografia já por cá passaram o Nuno Perestrelo e o João Barata. Tambem mais recentemente o montijense Daniel Raposo e a investigadora Teresa Silva cá está agora.

Um simpático casal que durante um par de anos aqui residiu foram o Alexandre Vidal Pinheiro e a Rita que veio estudar design. Graças à ajuda do Alexandre tenho este blogue para comunicar esta interessante informação.

São dados incompletos em que basicamente me concentrei nas primeiras gerações. Quem quiser completar ou comentar fá-lo-á melhor escrevendo no próprio blogue para que se possam posteriormente encontrar estes dados.

A foto aqui publicada no topo  dá conta de convivio luso brasileiro em 1983.

A de baixo mostra uma geracão de portugueses mais recente.

 

According to Barata…

 miun_norraberget

João Barata is a student of photojournalism at Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall. He has as part of his work interviewed me in 2013. I have with his pernission decided to post his own version of myself here and share it with you.

“The Marginal road gave a good view of the Lisbon coast. When will I ever see it again, he thought while being driven by his dad to the airport. Joao Pinheiro decided to leave Portugal and move to the country where he was born, England. A war was going on between the Portuguese regime and the colonies. Angola, Guine-Bissau and Mozambique were the destination of several young men that had to fight for a regime that many, like Joao, did not support.

 

The arrival in the UK on the 11th of September 1968 was a turning point in his life. Many times the 16-year-old felt alone and displaced from a culture he had left behind at the age of three. To adapt and to integrate in the British society was extremely difficult during that first year. It would take time to make friends and to fully understand his new being. Fortunately he had the help from his uncle, who owned a chain of Patisseries spread all over south London. Joao was delighted that Uncle Dennis was prepared to give him employment and a living wage of 6 guineas a week. During those first months, his grandfather Joseph was also an extremely important person in the integration process. He helped him finding a job in the City (London’s’ financial district), and bought him his first tie. He even taught him to make a knot with it. In addition, he sent an envelope with a pound every Friday that many times kept Joao going.

 

On a cold, sunny autumn day I meet Joao for an interview. We gather outside the local library, near the Council offices where he works as a politician. We are not in Portugal or England but in Sundsvall, Sweden. It’s a small city halfway the coastline of the country. Joao’s job with the Department of Education is to improve learning standards in schools; “Education is my passion,” he points out. The politician seems to know almost everyone that passes by and even enquires the Polish workforce, restoring the pavement outside the main building, about their lives in Sweden. Before we go inside, Joao says to me, “Immigrants have value”.

We find some available seats in the library’s café and order coffee. Joao moved to Sweden in 1973 with is first wife Mona. Her parents were loyal to the workers and cooperative movement led by the Swedish Social Democratic Party. He tells me, “Mona’s father did volunteer work (…) we would not fill the car with petrol anywhere else but at the cooperative”. Everyone in the family was a member of the trade union. It was practice every day of the month, every month of the year. “It was a powerful religion”, Joao recalls. They had a great influence on him and within months of his arrival he went on to join the Party.

A few years later he volunteered to work with the GIF’s program, ‘Back to Basics’. Sundsvall’s biggest football club had the youth department underdeveloped and was missing the basic services that could help the local communities to enroll on sports activities. “I wanted to assist this communities in helping young people to feel integrated socially”, he says. “People that had money could do two or three sports but the immigrant communities were left out.” So, in 2001, he became President for the youth department of the club and by 2009 they had one of the best academies in the country.

Near the end of the interview, Joao opens up about the recent difficult times he’s been going through. In 2011 he lost two extremely important people during his existence, Mona and his mother. Their death made the 60-year-old look back at his life. It was difficult for him to cope with the loss, “it made me think about what and who I am”, he reveals. Shortly after, he started a blog on his earliest memories, “I write to publish some of the thoughts that passed through my mind in those days. Maybe I can make sense of it now”, he adds.

 

Some people that walk by our table recognize Joao and interrupt the interview. They talk in Swedish and I can’t understand what they are saying but these people are very willing to approach the Portuguese politician. He takes time to listen to what they have to say to him and is actually interested in knowing what is going on with them. There is honesty in Joao’s interaction with other people and they seem to appreciate that. Everyone is at ease.

While they speak, I think to myself that Joao’s life has been shaped by sturdy decisions that caused him to have a great sense of reverence for others. He’s a man that both respects and is respected. He’s a good man.”