Q: Good morning. Age?
Q: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
A: I’ve got two brothers and one sister.
Q: How old are they?
A: My brothers are 18 and 11. My sister is 9 years old.
Q: Are you all still studying?
A: Yes, we are. I’m in the 8th grade. My sister is in the 4th grade, my older brother has just finished high school and is going to university and my other brother is in the 6th grade.
Q: Who do you live with?
A: I live with my mother and my siblings, because my father is an emigrant.
Q: When did your father emigrate?
A: My father has been an emigrant for about 8 years.
Q: So, you were 6 years old. Do you remember that time?
A: Yes, I remember because it was the year I went to elementary school. It was very difficult for all of us because my father is a very caring man and close to us. My older brother was 10 years old, my little brother was 3 years old and my sister was a baby. My mother was alone with 4 children. She stopped working to take care of us and my father had to emigrate. We all felt this change a lot, because my mother was depressed and most of the time we stayed with our grandparents. Sometimes, I and my sister would stay at my grandmother’s house with my mother and my other brothers would stay at tmy aunt’s, my mother’s sister. My mother was not able to take care of us alone. It was like this for a while. Then my mother took lots of medication and got better and everything started to return to normal.
Q: So, you have relatives living near you?
A: Yes, we do. My mum’s parents, an aunt and an uncle. My mother’s siblings.
Q: How often does your father come home?
A: Every two months.
Q: What does your father do?
A: My father is a long-haul truck driver and travels around Europe. His company is French and usually travels to the North of Europe. Sometimes he also travels to Eastern Europe, like Hungary or Romania.
Q: How do you communicate with him?
A: He call us every day. Depending on where he is we speak to him on the phone or via Skype. Usually at dinner time because he likes to talk to us all at the same time.
Q: What do you talk about?
A: We talk about school, about things that happen during that day. He talks about his work, if everything is ok with him, something special he had seen, or the weather. We talk about everything. Sometimes he asks to talk to my mother alone.
Q: How is your relationship with your father?
A: It’s different from the one I’d like to have. It was very painful to see my mother suffer so much while my father was away. For a long time we had neither father nor mother, it was my grandparents who looked after us. My grandfather, my mother’s father, would solve everything, as if he were my father. I used to talk to my grandpa whenever I needed to. There are things we want to know that need to be answered right away. I couldn’t wait two months to do it.
Q: How did your father react to this situation of your mother’s illness and the difficulties you were experiencing?
A: I think he was worried about it very much and whenever he came to visit us he tried to compensate us in some way, but he had to leave again. He had no choice. I think he suffered and continues to suffer a lot, but as he is far away, we don’t really realize it.
Q: Your father has emigrated for economic reasons. Do you feel responsible for it in any way?
A: I think the responsible ones are the politicians and the rich, because they do not care about the poor and the unemployed. If my father had made enough money here in Portugal to raise us, he would not have been forced to emigrate.
Q: Have you ever visited your father?
A: He lives in the truck, so there is no room for us all. In addition, he never stays in the same place for too long.
Q: Do you think your father will still be abroad for a long time?
A: Yes, I do. I think so. At least until we finish school or he quits work. His life is very hard, but he is already used to it and he has a very high salary. If he came to Portugal to work, he could never make that much money.
Q: Do you think you may have a different relationship with your father in the future?
A: Maybe, I don’t know. I am 14 years old and I miss having a father in my life because my grandfather has a very different view of life from young people like me. But since I know that my father will continue to emigrate, I do not think our relationship will change. There are things we just can’t change.
Q: Is there anything you would like to ask of your father?
A: I’d like him to help my older brother to get a driver’s license and buy him a car. My mother does not have a driver’s license and we always have to go by public transport. It’s much more complicated. My dad bought a big van so we can all travel together, but we can only do it when he’s here.
Q: Do you feel like you’ve been somehow abandoned by your father?
A: I don’t want to talk about it.
Q: Ok. Thank you for your cooperation and best wishes for your future.
A: Thank you.