Berta with baskets made by her mother in Timor Leste and brought to Australia.
Image: Elizabete Gomes
Source: Berta Santos
I was born in Timor Leste and descend from an indigenous family from Maubara-Lois.
I left my homeland in 1979 as a widow and a refugee bound for Portugal, carrying my youngest daughter in my arms. My other seven children joined me three years later, and in 1985 we all came to Australia.
As a child I celebrated Loron Matebian by joining in the village procession led by my grandfather. He recited an ancestor blessing:
When we must climb mountains on our pursuits, that the paths are clear of thorns and of floods; and when we fetch for honey, we will find plenty of it.