“When we have the willpower we can achieve everything.”
Edna’s journey to Portugal four years ago came from the desire to experience a new culture and to give her children a good education in a good school. With her husband still living and working in Angola, she was lucky to already have family living here that helped to ease the transition. “It was difficult in the beginning because of the adaptation. It was not easy. I moved to another life. The culture is very different here.” Edna faced many challenges while starting over in a new country. Finding a new home, a school for her children, adapting to a new culture, and navigating everyday things like the public transport system. “When we have the willpower we can achieve everything. I did it. I’m already used to here. I don’t like the cold, but I like everything else." Edna's outgoing nature and courage also helped her to make this life change. "Everywhere in the world I go, I adapt and I can be myself. I have no problem. Because of adventure, I go.”
Edna’s connection to her culture is an important part of her everyday life. “I do my best not to forget my other culture…I always have food from my homeland here, so I will never forget it. I listen to music from Angola a lot. I do a lot of things from my land. I like to dance, I like to cook, I like to do things, I really like to sing.”
“Being Angolan means a lot to me. African people are very happy, and supportive, smiling and welcoming. I like the quality of my warm, hardworking, humble people." Edna is enjoying her new life but still 'tem saudades' (has missing) for her country of birth. "I miss Angola very much.”
Edna started learning to cook at a young age by watching and learning from her mother and grandmother. She has fond memories of eating food from her grandmothers garden, such as “when I ate with my hands, feasting on everything.” Edna loves to cook traditional food and adores the Angolan traditions centred around food and socialising with friends and family. “I want this culture in Angola on Sundays. We are always at someones house to prepare lunch and everything. This is what I miss. I miss our warmth. I like the warmth of Angola. I love it.”
Edna misses the tradition of spontaneously visiting friends and family and sharing food. “I like the environment. I would like to create it here. I like having people at home.” Being far from many of your friends and family is a challenge common to many who live in countries different to where they grew up . “Here, you stay in your house a lot, but there you go to the houses of your family.”
“I am happy because I am going to feed people who are enjoying my food. What I do, I do with love and care.”
Before coming to Portugal, Edna had a restaurant in Angola. “I am happy because I am going to feed people who were enjoying my food. What I do, I do with love and care. “ She also has the dream of opening one here in Portugal. “I know that I will get to my dream. To open a restaurant and make the food of my culture. Take the culture of Angola here, to bring the cultures together. To be able to make a fusion, make our food and the food here. Trace my culture from there to here. I just want this opportunity one day to have a place that I’m going to be able to do it.” I have no doubt that when Edna opens her restaurant in Portugal, that it will feel like home. I imagine that when you enter you will be welcomed with a warm smile and delicious aromas coming from the kitchen.