Saudade: News from and for the Brazilian community/Notícias de e para a comunidade brasileira

Brazilian Faces: Dayana Duncheva

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Dayana Duncheva — Courtesy Juliana Germani

A tradução deste artigo se encontra no nosso site: mvtimes.com/category/portuguese—translation/.

This week’s column is about Dayana Duncheva — she is a paraprofessional for MVYPS Bridge Program. 

How did you get to the Island? Where are you from in Brazil?

A friend of mine who has lived on the Island for quite some time told me that I could build a life for myself here and gave me the support to do so. I arrived in 2015. I am from Rio de Janeiro.

What was it like in the beginning?

Well, like most Islanders would attest, the path to where you want to be isn’t linear. I worked at farms, coffee shops, as a health aid, you name it. But I knew where I wanted to work and that it was with education, devoting my time to the demographic that I am so privileged to work with, and it finally happened for the 2019-2020 school year.

What was it like to start a new job, become a mom during a world pandemic?

What comes to mind is the importance of family. Despite the challenges it presented, the pandemic allowed me to have time to learn and devote to motherhood. I developed an even closer bond with my family members despite not being in the same country. I’d call every day, make sure they were okay, and knew how much I loved them. I am always cautious about the good that the pandemic brought me because I know that it has been devastating for so many people. But for me, it also brought a lot of clarity, simplified things, and allowed me to focus on what matters.

How do you see the role that the Brazilian community will have on the Island?

The Island is very accomodating to Brazilians. At times, I wish Brazilians were better educated on how to access things that serve them and took the opportunity to contribute as we are part of this community. But I also see it as an opportunity for the Brazilian Islanders who can navigate both worlds to help facilitate this type of connection. I am raising my child here and I am excited for the place that she is inheriting and I hope it remains as welcoming and community-driven. I also see it as my responsibility to ensure that it does.