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PORTRAITS

Ymelda, Peru.

I come from a large family. I have six sisters and one brother. My father always wanted to have a son because he owns a repair shop. It’s a job for a man but he kept having daughters. The son was born last of all. We were always close to the repair shop. We knew all the names of tools and we were helping our dad with work. When I grew older I started learning mechanics. I went to Lima to study in technical collage where I became a precision mechanic. Then I came back to my home town and worked with my sister for our father. I was operating milling machine and she was operating lathe.

After some time my sister left the country and went to Italy. We were very close to each other and practically inseparable so I missed her very much. Few months later I decided to follow her. I wanted to get to know Italian culture and find a job. I dreamed of discovering the meaning of life and finding love. I enjoyed being a mechanic in Peru, but I felt that it had to be more to life.

In Italy I worked for some countess cooking and taking care of her house. That was where I learned Italian language and cuisine and met my husband who is Polish. He impressed me with his politeness, sense of responsibility and diligence. We fell in love with each other and decided to come to Poland.

It was 17 years ago, right after the fall of communism. Everything around was grey, the selection of clothes and food in shops was quite limited. I didn’t know much about Polish culture except for the fact that the Pope was Polish and that he was a great man. When I came here I didn’t know anything about my husband’s family too. I was a little scared. Sometimes men say different things and later it turns out that, for example, they are already married or something like that. I had to find out whether he was honest with me. Fortunately my husband’s family gave me a very worm welcome. We grew fond of each other with my mother-in-law. Most of Poles are very nice people though a little cold and sometimes too serious.

Now we have three children, two girls and a boy. The oldest daughter is just like me. She identifies with my culture, she likes Peruvian music and she is proud of her dark hair and complexion. The younger one is not that alike and our son looks very much like his father.

My father missed my sister and me very much. When we left the country he hired other workers, men. Some time after that my brother graduated in mechanics and started working with him.

Four of my sisters went abroad. Three of them left to Barcelona, one to Italy. They all decided to leave because of the difficult financial situation. At that time Peru was facing a political and economic crisis.

I wouldn’t be able to work as a mechanic anymore. Nowadays, many things are different in mechanics and the experience I have is not very useful in everyday life.


 
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