Born in Canchungo, Guinea – Bissau |
Crisostomo says that while growing up he had always imagined that there must be a place where people from every culture could live together, but it wasn’t until he arrived in Toronto that he saw first-hand that it really existed. After the war in Guinea-Bissau ended, Crisostomo, with his friends had started an activist group. They used music, mainly hip hop, to show people what was wrong in Guinea-Bissau and why they should not be afraid to resist the country’s oppressive military regime. This activism led to him receiving constant threats and so he escaped, first to Portugal and then, in 2004, he came to Canada. Crisostomo recently completed a course in mining, and plans on pursuing a job in this field. He still makes music, and has served as the first president of the Guinea-Bissau Community Association.
Toronto as Home
Crisostomo and his friends from Guinea-Bissau meet regularly at Epifanio Martins’ apartment. In this ‘bachelor pad’ they talk about what is going on in Guinea-Bissau, listen to music, watch sports and just hang out. They often cook traditional dishes like caldo de tchebem (palm sauce), caldo de mancara (peanut butter sauce) and cafriela (barbecue chicken from Guinea-Bissau).
Connection with the Past
This is a dish of palm oil which is an important ingredient in Crisostomo’s favourite dishes from Guinea-Bissau. Seeing and smelling palm oil and sauce reminds him of the family reunions they used to have at his grandparent’s house for birthdays, Christmas and other celebratory occasions. These encounters were rare but special as he got to see members of his large extended family, such as cousins, aunts and uncles.