Author: Barbara Matias, aspiring journalist and MA student in Communication Sciences in UTAD, Portugal.
Translated from the original Portuguese by Sandra Teixeira
I look at my mother and she shrugs her shoulders and says ‘everything will be ok’.
I’ve already told her that what she says is untrue. She says it is not.
I stumble over my words whenever I let my heart speak…I inherited that from her.
This country is not for the twenties. That is a fact.
But who is it for?
My parent’s generation is made of immigrants. Some left, some came back and many are leaving again now. With more reluctance and less strength, but with the same needs. A generation of public employees who are tightening their belts, standing with their legs numb, knowing they are not going anywhere.
The generation of my grandparents worked in land, still work in land and will continue to work in the land if they want to eat. They cannot get sick. Their pensions are enough for medication for blood pressure and cholesterol. Not enough for flu or a cold.
My generation, we do what our parents have done and immigrate, or we stay and learn to do what our grandparents have always done.
My generation is made of diplomas, of doctors – all living at home. There are certificates framed, hanging at the entrances. Also left hanging are the doctors, all weekend, all week, for many years.
This country is not longer for its own people.
It is for tourists. We present perfection but offer nothing.
I wanted to be recognised here, I wanted the same for my family. I wanted to invest in my country.
But on the road to the gates of my university, I feel that I am walking away from everything I dreamt of for my education.
Not working in my field, working for very little, even paying to work.
For me, for many, for almost everyone.
I shrug my shoulders and say yes. That there will be a space for me, I will open a crack, a hole and make space, win ground.
Those who born Portuguese, those who are made in Portugal and those who stay in Portugal have that strength. Not just to be enterprising, as we’ve been told, but to be an architect of their fate.