Posts Tagged ‘family’

My Angolan Family

I often find the Angolan concept of “family” amusing. Someone may say that “so-and-so” is their brother, sister, cousin, aunt, uncle, or grandparent. If you inquire about the specifics of that relationship, be prepared for a long and complicated explanation that you just may not understand. In many cases there may not even be any blood connection, but they are still family nonetheless. Many different circumstances may cause people to become family. In Angola many families were separated from each other, new family bonds were created by those who shared lives and experiences together as they fled or endured the war around them. Other times those who had perhaps lost their family to the war would be taken in by other families.

Nathan and his Family

My first real glimpse into this world began last year as I got to know an Angolan family from church. Rogerio & Celestina Makiese had their first son Memoire (or Rogerio Dula) in Angola. After arriving in Portugal they had two daughters Amanda and Noemia. Then this last summer they adopted another son to be a part of their family…

The Makiese family had recently moved from a tiny apartment in downtown Lisbon to a larger house a little farther out of town. I had come over to their house for lunch one day after church and jokingly asked their son Rogerio if he wanted a roommate. He got really excited about the idea and asked his parents. They considered the idea and told me that God had provided them a new home so that they could use it for His kingdom, and since I was going to take the gospel to their homeland  and their people it was their responsibility to take me in and it would be irresponsible for me not to move in with them. I couldn’t argue with that, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I moved in a week later.

Moving in, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to practice my Portuguese, learn about Angolan culture, and that it would be a great chance to acclimate to Angolan food. And of course it has been all of those things, but it has been so much more. I now have an Angolan family in Portugal, they are not ”like family” they are my family. It will be just as hard to leave my family in Portugal behind as it was to leave my American family. But I am blessed beyond measure to have families in the US and Portugal that love and support me. The Makiese family are without a doubt the biggest blessing that God has given me in the last year and they will be my family para sempre.