“We are focused on our school work here rather than other matters while we have a chance to study here,” said Jose Gabriel, 26, this afternoon during an interview in downtown Portland. Jose and his friend Costa M. Francisco, also 26, have traveled a long way to get a better education than they could at home in Angola, in south west South Africa, home to the two, who are on student visas in the US.
Just relocated from Houston, Texas, Jose and Costa believe that Portland is a better place for them to continue their college level education. The education system in Angola is not efficient said Jose this afternoon, in excellent English. “The educational system in Angola is corrupt,” said Costa. He cited as an example that often it is necessary to pay bribes to pass tests. “We can learn a lot more here than in Angola. There are good programs here, better teachers and students are more involved in learning because of the quality of equipment that colleges here provide,” said Jose.
Private companies are controlled by the government and companies are often “corrupted.” Frequently, it is necessary to know someone in the company or to pay the company to get a job. Oil and the diamond industry are the two biggest sources of revenue in Angola. Electricity is also exported to Namiria, an adjacent country.
With the horrific school shooting in Florida yesterday, Jose said that no one in Angola is allowed to keep a gun at home, except for the authorities. Anyone disobeying this law and who gets caught faces the likelihood of going to jail. “We do not have school shootings like here, although we have other crimes,” said Jose.
The native tongue of Angola is Portuguese, but both students speak excellent English. They attribute this fact largely to the several years spent in Ghana, as missionaries for the Church of Latter Day Saints of which they are members. Jose spent a few months in Provo, Utah before going to Ghana to serve as a missionary there for the Church. (English is the language for Ghana.) “It was hard, but worth it. It was a growing process,” said Jose.
“No comment. I don’t want to offend Americans when there are great people, better than Trump, around,” said Jose about President Trump. Then the pair left to prepare for a school entrance exam early tomorrow morning.