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Interview with Teresa Nao Tsujimura: 

Japanese Salesian Cooperator in East Timor


By Salesian Bulletin GIA


Tokyo, Japan, 21 May 2018 -- Teresa Nao Tsujimura was a student at the Salesian Polytechnic in Tokyo when she joined a volunteer group led by a Salesian, Fr. Julien Sleuyter, and visited East Timor for the first time. After many visits in the following years as a volunteer, she is now committed fully as an expert in international cooperation, already rooted in East Timor for 15 years. We interviewed her to have a glimpse of her life among the East Timorese people as a past pupil and a Salesian Cooperator.


When did you first visit East Timor?


It was in 1994. When I was studying at the Salesian Ikuei Polytechnic, I joined the Ikuei Oversees Volunteers led by Fr. Sleuyter, a Salesian, and visited East Timor for the first time. We stayed one and a half months and worked to install a windmill powered pump in Baucau in the east.


After graduating from the Polytechnic, I worked for 8 years at a research institute for culturing orchids. During that time, using holidays in the summer or in spring, I continued to join in the volunteer work in East Timor,. In those days, East Timor was occupied by the Indonesians and there was much insecurity. I rejoiced when the country gained independence in 1999.


How long have you been living in East Timor?


It’s 15 years now. Fr. Sleuyter was looking for someone who could be involved long term in a project by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) to assist diffusion of the fishing industry. Although I had some concerns about my not knowing the language and lacking in skills, I volunteered for the job and started to live and work in East Timor as a staff of Ikuei Oversees Volunteers.


Did you experience any culture shock?


Unlike Japan, there was no electricity nor running water, but nevertheless life was fulfilling. My first appointed destination was Lospalos in the east of the country. I lived in the Salesian house there. In the beginning, my life evolved within a very limited physical space, but with time, the sphere of everyday life gradually expanded as well as my relationships with people. It took me about 2 years before I could freely move around by car.


We hear you speak perfect Tetun, the Timorese language.


In East Timor, people use Portuguese as the official language, and also Tetun. When I started living in Timor, there were no school or formal text book in which to learn Tetun, so I had to self-teach myself. There was just one book at hand, “MAI KOALIA TETUN (= Come, let’s speak Tetun)”, which introduces the Tetun language in English. I studied with this book. When I encountered words I didn’t understand and that were not found in this book, I asked one of the Salesians for the meanings and on how to use them. I was the only Japanese there, so from necessity, I quickly picked up the language.


What have you learned from the Salesian Family or the young people in EastTimor?


I learned the way of life being with the people. There were missionaries in the Salesian community such as Fr. Jojo from the Philippines, Fr. Jose from India, a brother from Indonesia and so on. They were close to the local people, working with them, eating the same things and did not impose their own lifestyles on the local people. I wanted to be like them, following their style, so I learned from them in our communal life.


In the community, among the local Salesians, there were also volunteer staff from countries such as Australia, Philippines, India, visiting to give technical guidance at the Salesian agricultural school. I had the opportunity to experience living among people with diverse cultures.


This year in February, we had the Salesian Mission Day in Dili, the capital. Fr. Manuel Fraile led a seminar on Francis Xavier, Father of the missions in Japan, and Fr. Vincenzo Cimatti, Father of the Salesian mission in Japan. I helped with the translation of the video on Fr. Cimatti. I was able to confirm my wish to “follow in this way” when I heard the young Salesians in formation say, “We were touched to see how Don Cimatti tried to become the Don Bosco of Japan, making effort to inculturate the Gospel. There was even a young Salesian who said, “I would like to be a missionary to Japan like Don Cimatti.”


What is your occupation at work at the moment?


I am working with local officials in a public project to build and maintain the state highway network. A 3 year program is going on now with engineers sent from Japan to give technical guidance in roadway design, and I am in charge of its monitoring and assessment. I am also involved in an ODA (development aid by the Japanese Foreign Ministry) project to build a bridge in the capital. With the local officials, I look after the relocation and recompense of the residents who are asked to move from the building site.


Could you tell us how you became a Salesian Cooperator?


First of all, as a student of Ikuei Salesian Polytechnic, I met many Salesians who had positive influence on me. When I decided to go to East Timor through the Salesian project, I was surprised by what my grandmother told me then, that my grandfather was baptized into the Catholic faith when he married my grandmother and took as his baptismal name, Francis Sales, as he had become acquainted with a Salesian prior to that. It made me feel a strong bond with the Salesians.


I didn’t think of becoming a religious sister, but I was interested in the way of life as that of VDB, in which members live consecrated life in the world.


One day, I happened to come across a presentation of the Salesian Cooperators written by Msgr. Mizobe, SDB, to whom I owe a lot since my days in the Polytechnic. I understood that a Cooperator fulfills his or her task given at the moment and makes contribution through their respective position in society. I felt the desire to follow this way of life. I went through 2 years of formation in East Timor, received some formation also in Japan from Fr. Hamabe, and this year, , in February 2018, on the occasion of the Rector Major’s visit to East Timor, I made the promise and became a member during mass.


What do you look forward to as a Salesian Cooperator?


Together with those who share the same spirit of Don Bosco, and also with other people, I would like to be an adult who stays with the young, and is able to give them the means to live fully as Don Bosco did. I want to be someone who can encourage the young people.


You are also expected to be a bridge between East Timor and Japan as a mission partner of the Salesians.


If my role can be compared to a bridge, I’d like to be a strong one, so people can walk across. I’d like to put into practice what Fr. Jojo, Fr. Jose and others have taught me: to be with the people.


I still remember and try not to forget the words Fr. Hendrickx, who was the Principal when I was a student at the Polytechnic. He wrote in a school letter, “As an adult, to assume the same mode as the youth. It is different from becoming completely like a youth.” Being different, as a youth or an adult, Timorese or Japanese, we don’t need to be the same with the other, but I think it’s important to assume the same mode, go beyond one’s standpoint and understand, be involved with the other in order to live together.


East Timor is developing at an astonishing pace. The government is trying to focus on tourism industry. I would like very much for you all to come and visit East Timor to know this beautiful country. If you come, I will be your guide. I am also willing to do what I can to help when Timorese youth or missionaries are going to Japan.




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  • vaclav 2018.06.01 13:00

    Boscolink 2018年5月31日 東京−東ティモール)
    http://www.bosco.link/index.php?document_srl=37615

     

    テレサ辻村直さんは、サレジオ高専でのボランティア活動をきっかけに東ティモールと出会い、国際協力の専門家として現地で15年間働いている。サレジオ同窓生として、またサレジアニ・コオペラトーリ会員として、現地の人びとと共に生きる辻村さんにインタビューした。

    By サレジオ会日本管区広報

    ──初めて東ティモールに行ったのは?

     1994年です。育英高専(現サレジオ工業高等専門学校)の学生時代に、サレジオ会のスロイテル神父様が行っていた育英海外ボランティアに参加して、初めて東ティモールに行きました。1か月半滞在して、東部のバウカウで風車動力のポンプを設置する土木作業をしました。

     卒業して洋蘭の培養研究所で8年ほど働きましたが、その間も夏や春に休暇を使って東ティモールでのボランティア活動に参加していました。当時の東ティモールはインドネシアの一部でとても治安が悪く、1999年に独立したときはとても喜びました。

    ──東ティモールに住んで何年経ちましたか?

     15年が経ちました。スロイテル神父様がJICA(国際協力機構)が支援する漁業普及プロジェクトに長期で関わる人を探していたので、言葉も技術もないことに不安を感じながらも志願し、2003年から育英海外ボランティアの職員として東ティモールで仕事と生活を始めました。

    ──カルチャーショックはありましたか?

     日本とは違って電気も水もない生活でしたが、充実した生活でした。最初の赴任先は東ティモール東部のロスパロスで、サレジオ会の修道院に滞在していました。初めはごく限られた生活空間で過ごしていて、徐々に行動範囲や人とのつながりの輪が広がっていきました。車で自由に移動できるようになるまで、2年ほどかかりました。

    ──テトゥン語は完璧ですね。

     東ティモールには公用語のポルトガル語のほかに、テトゥン語を使います。私が赴任した頃はテトゥン語を学べる学校も教科書も辞書もなかったので、独学で身につけるしかありませんでした。唯一あった”MAI KOALIA TETUN”(来てテトゥン語を話そう)という英語でテトゥン語を紹介する本で学びました。本に載っていなくてわからない言葉があると、神父様たちに質問し、言葉の使い方を教えていただきました。日本人は私一人でしたし、必要性があったので、言葉を覚えるのは早かったです。

    ──東ティモールのサレジオ家族や若者たちから学んだことは?

     現地の人と共にあることです。修道院にはフィリピン人のジョジョ神父様、インド人のジョゼ神父様、インドネシア人のブラザーなど、サレジオ会の宣教師がいましたが、彼らは現地の人に寄り添い、一緒に働いて、同じ食べ物を食べて生活することを心がけ、外の様式を現地の人に押し付けるようなことはありませんでした。私は彼らのスタイルに少しでも近づきたいと思い、彼らと共に生活しながら学んでいきました。

     修道院には地元出身のサレジオ会員もいれば、サレジオの農業学校で技術指導をするためにオーストラリアやフィリピン、インドなどからボランティアスタッフが訪問していて、多様な文化の人びとと共に生活する経験ができました。

     今年2月に首都ディリで「サレジオ宣教の日」が行われ、マヌエル・フレイレ神父様が日本宣教の父・フランシスコ・ザビエルと、日本のサレジオ会宣教の父・ヴィンチェンツォ・チマッティ神父についてのセミナーを行いました。私はチマッティ師のビデオの翻訳などをお手伝いしました。神学生たちが「チマッティ神父が宣教するうえで日本化して伝えることに心を砕き、日本のドン・ボスコになろうとした姿勢に感動した」と感想を述べたのを聞いて、私は改めて「自分もこのように生きたい」と確認できました。「チマッティ神父のように自分も宣教師として日本に行きたい」という青年もいました。

    ──現在の仕事は?

     全国の国道網を整備する公共事業所で現地の役人と一緒に働いています。日本からエンジニアが派遣されて道路設計の技術指導をする3年間のプログラムが行われていて、私はそのモニタリングと評価などを担当しています。ほかにもODA(日本の外務省による政府開発援助)で首都に橋を建設するため、住民の移転・補償について現地の役人と一緒に働くといったプロジェクトにも関わっています。

    ──サレジアニ・コオペラトーリに入会した経緯は?

     まず、育英高専に通ったことでたくさんのサレジオ会員と出会い、よい影響を受けました。私がサレジオとの関わりで東ティモールに行くことになった時に祖母が話してくれて驚いたのですが、祖父は祖母と結婚する時にカトリックの洗礼を受け、サレジオ会員と出会っていたご縁で聖フランシスコ・サレジオの洗礼名をいただいたそうで、サレジオとの深いつながりを感じています。

     シスターになりたいとは思いませんでしたが、結婚せず社会の中で奉献生活を送るVDB(ドン・ボスコ女子在俗会)のような生き方には興味がありました。

     ある時、育英高専の学生時代からお世話になっていたサレジオ会の溝部司教様が書かれたサレジアニ・コオペラトーリについての紹介文を読みました。今与えられた自分の役割を果たすこと、それぞれの立場で貢献することがコオペラトーリの生き方なのだと理解し、私はその生き方に憧れました。東ティモールで2年間の養成コースを学び、日本でも濱邊神父様のもとで養成を受けて、今年2018年2月にフェルナンデス総長が東ティモールを訪問した際にミサの中で誓願を立て、入会しました。

    ──コオペラトーリ会員としてこれからは?

     ドン・ボスコの精神をもった人たちと共に、またそうでない人たちと共に、青年たちと共に生き、ドン・ボスコのように生きる術(すべ)を与えられるような大人になっていきたいと思います。そして青年たちを勇気づける存在でありたいです。

    ──ミッションパートナーとして東ティモールと日本をつなぐ役割もありますね。

     私の役割が橋だとすると、人びとが私を通って渡っていけるように、強い橋になりたいです。そして、ジョジョ神父様やジョゼ神父様が教えてくださったように、人びとと共にあることを実践していきたいです。

     私が育英高専の学生時代に校長を務めていたヘンドリックス神父様が学校のニュースレターに書いていた言葉で、今も忘れないようにしているのが「大人として、青年と同じモードになるということと、青年になりきるということは違う」という言葉です。青年と大人、東ティモール人と日本人という異なる立場において、相手と同一化するのではなく、同じモードになって立場を超えて理解し関わることが、共にあるために大切なことだと思います。

     東ティモールは今、めざましく発展してきています。政府は観光に力を入れていこうとしていますので、皆さんぜひ東ティモールに来て、その良さを知っていただきたいです。いらっしゃるときはご案内します。また、東ティモールの青年や宣教師が日本に行くときもぜひ協力したいと思います。

     

    「ドン・ボスコの風」No.14(2015年1月)のインタビュー記事もご覧ください>


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