Multiculture, Profiles

Leave or stagnate, Roberto Villanueva’s dilemma

Roberto is a 35-year-old Peruvian who came to the UK from Trujillo three years ago. He had never left his country before and although it took time for him to make the decision, he feels satisfied that he can now support his family.


After graduating from high school, he started working in a shop in his home town. After so much time trying to “earn some money,” he decided to come to the UK for economic reasons and because he had “no ties” in his own country.

“I came to England because I knew many Latin Americans were here and thought it would be easy to find employment.”

As he thought, it did not take him too long to find work and a month after arriving; he started work as a cleaner. Since then, he has sent part of his earnings home to his parents living in Peru.

Roberto says he would like to find a better job, but notes that the language barrier is too wide. “English is a complicated language, it requires a lot of respect and I acknowledge that I do not push myself to learn everything I should.”

But, he said, “after an eight-hour day starting at 5am, it is hard to do anything other than rest or go for a walk.” He came alone and started making contacts through his housemates. He spent about five months in a hostel until he found a house to share with four other people.

The co-workers he resides with are two Spaniards, a Peruvian and Bolivian. Although he considers himself an unprejudiced person, he recognises that he feels more comfortable with these Latin Americans. “I guess it is a fact of life, people connect with people who they have more in common with.”

He is sure he does not intend to return home in the near future and despite missing his parents and his brother, he believes it was “leave or stagnate”.

On the issue of discrimination, he admits that his bosses “look at him with indifference” but he does not feel he has been mistreated.

In his work, his colleagues are other Latin Americans and he might go out with several of them after work but for him, the best part of the day “is to get home and be with my housemates”.
Apart from Peru and England, he has never visited another country.

Years ago, he wanted to go to Spain but he heard a lot about the crisis there so he stopped. “It is possible that there might be a crisis here, but I’m settled here and to start again would be too much.”
So he intends to stay “for as long as it takes” and one of his greatest wishes is to continue earning money to take care of his family. The other, he says laughing, is “that Peru wins the the Copa America in football” next year.

(Translated by Susan Seccombe – Email:  ess.translations [@] gmail . com) – Photos: Pixabay

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