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   Personality Of The Month -Mr.Peter Furtado proudly wants to present Peter Furtado and his family, of Wantekali Jeddu of Bennekudru. Peter was born on 18th February, 1944.  He was born to Alexander (Hacchu)  and Elizabeth Furtado. Peter is the fifth one among seven children: Fermine, Precilla, Francis, Edward, John, and Judith.  Peter obtained his high school degree (SSLC) from the National High School, Barkur in 1961-62.  Even though Bennekudru means the land producing benne (butter) there wasn't enough bread for all the native born people. 

Man cannot live with butter alone, but needs bread as well please!  Hence, as most of the Barkurians, he too managed to obtain a rail road ticket, to reach Bombay in search of a job.  He found a small job in an engineering company.  Meanwhile he attended ITI classes to further his education, thus to obtain a decent job.  He got his ITI diploma in Fabrication Engineering.  As many other Barkurians, he too visited the post office, every month without fail, to remit a portion of his already meager pay to help support his parents.  Such remittance was like the XIth commandment to the middleclass Barkurians in those days, not all might like to admit though!

Income was never enough, hence, as a hobby he started applying for any jobs advertised in the Bombay newspapers.  A fertilizer plant was opening its branch in Zambia, Africa.  It advertised for various types of jobs.  In 1970, he was selected for a job, as a Supervisor and Project Engineer, even though there were candidates who were more educated and better experienced than Peter.  He still does not know whose blessings it was to get such a good opportunity, however, he gives credit to God and to his parents' prayers.   The traditional prayer 'God grant good health to all those away from home,' has its genuine meaning. Life was better for Peter and his family from then on.  He could help his parents and siblings too.  After all, charity has to begin from home.  He stayed in Zambia for 16 years.

He is married to Nancy a beautiful daughter of late Mr. Alphonso & Molley Mendonca of Thallur, near Kundapoor.  Peter and Nancy have 3 children.  Arrel has done his Civil Engg. & MBA who works for a reputable large concern in Mumbai.  Preeti, a lovable girl as her name suggests as well, is a Commerce graduate & a computer programmer too. And Priya, equally lovely, has an Arts degree in psychology besides she has also completed IATA degree.  Peter believed in educating his children one step above than himself. He did not want them to experience what he went through, an approach of many a progressive minded Barkurians, indeed.  Peter presently has his own business in Mumbai, where they manufacture plastic parts/products/components.  He also has a trading business mostly welding rods.

Peter too believes in giving back to the community from which he benefited.  He is a member of the Lake Side Lions Club where he is a membership director.  He is the vice president of St. Peter's Association where he plays a major role in collecting funds for the needy, and especially for the Maryknoll school in Barkur, for uniforms or supplies, etc. Last year he was the guest of honor for the silver jubilee program of ICYM.  Page 34 of this ICYM souvenir is overflowing with Peter's pictures presenting sports awards. 

We asked one of Peter's daughters, to tell us why Peter is so unique. This is what she  had to say, 'The reason why I admire my dad would be that apart from being the world's best critic he is always there to lend a helping hand to us and more to others without expecting anything in return. His friendly nature, natural talent to help others, and his outgoing nature make him very popular, and I admire him for that.'  A very rare but  profound compliment to get from ones' own child, without bribery!  Even my eyes are getting moistened!

Apparently, Peter was responsible for not serving alcohol while celebrating St Peter's Feast in Mumbai, this year, which created quite a commotion and discussion in site.  He takes responsibility for this decision!  It takes guts to break or question a tradition.  However, he quietly enjoys a good alcoholic drink in his own home, occasionally!  Peter, have a drink, you deserve it, besides you have earned it!

-James Fernandes, USA, 18/01/2004


Barkur, located in Udupi Taluk, Karnataka, India. 576 210

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