Migrants find new life in NI

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As part of their integration plans two bus loads of East Timorese migrants from Mid Ulster area enjoyed a break at Castlerock at the weekend.

The migrants who work and live in the Cookstown, Dungannon, Craigavon, and Portadown areas, get the opportunity to explore the countryside and meet local people.

Although a visit to The Open golf competition in Portrush was not included in the trip, a very enjoable day was had by all and there was “not a drop of rain.”

One of the team leaders, Grace Meerbeek said: “The importance of this yearly trip is to show the people that there is more than only work and stay at home.

“Integration is going hand in hand with exploring the country, knowing more about the culture and speaking the language.

“It is a honor to work together with the council of Mid Ulster on other events we are organizing throughout the year. We have now the second generation that speaks fluently English with a Irish accent and are integrated well through education, sport, music and other hobbies they do after school time.

“If you just think about that their country has not long ago received their independence and that they have suffered so much and lost many family members and friends in their fight against the Indonesian 25 years cruel occupation.

“They have found a new life in Northern Ireland and are a very peaceful and a friendly culture.

“Quick to learn and have one of the highest employment and lowest crime rate in Northern Ireland.

“Because East Timor is a tropical bounty Island close to Australia, the people are missing the sea.

“You can imagine how they must have felt when we arrived in Castlerock. They were all cheering.”

Team leaders were Fajar Pagi (Sunrise): Henk and Grace Meerbeek and Carolina Curry. Local volunteers were Loy Dental care dentist Stephen McKinstry and Rainey Endowed staff member Glenn Henry and from Parklands Veterinary Vet David McKinstry.

The contact people for the East Timorese Community: Lidia Baptista from Cookstown and Mateus and Luisa Amaral from Craigavon.