“Our training started with the English program in Angola. I am now 39 so I was 37 years old when I started. We spent almost two years in the English program before we came.
We arrived in Calgary in January and then we will leave in December. The time felt long and short. It was long because it was hard to get used to the environment. The first thing is the cold ― we can’t talk about Canada without talking about the cold. That was hard because our environment is very different.
Besides that, the other challenge that we had was the food. Wow, we had to get used to the food. We like quantity, but here, you like quality. You eat just a small amount, which doesn’t work with us. When I talk about quantity, we eat a lot of rice, beans, and something we call Funge (foon-gee). Funge is made from corn flour and you cook it very well. You eat it with anything like meat, sauce and beans. It’s very nice. When we found out there was corn flour here, everyone went quickly to buy it.
I miss my family a lot. Oh, I am telling you. My boy is seven and my daughter is four. One thing I am proud of is that my kids speak English. When we go somewhere like the restaurant, people get together because they want to hear them speaking English. They speak more than me. In our home, we speak English, and they learn Portuguese at school because that is the official language in Angola.
It makes me proud because I always say, ‘Do not just do what everybody does. Do something different.’ So when they are in the community, they are different. They have something additional. Now if they have to travel, they have no fear.”
Joao Tubi, 2016 ESSO V Angola /Oil and Gas Production program partnership
Editor’s note: Joao Tubi is one of 20 graduates of a partnership program between ESSO Angola and SAIT. The competitive program allows participants to learn English, while studying instrumentation, operations and maintenance and mechanical.