Kelvin Carvalho, 46, relocated to the Reeks District in 2017 with his wife, Neelam, and 16-year-old twin daughters, Iris & Emily. He works as a software engineer for Fexco and tells us here about his new life in the Reeks District.
When Kelvin Carvalho decided to uproot his family to exchange their native India for a life abroad, little did he know that they would find a home from home some 5,000 miles away. Kelvin’s a native of Vasai, a historical suburban town in the Palghar district of Maharashtra state, north of Mumbai – the kind of place one might expect to be as different to Ireland as chalk is to cheese.
“People assume that all of India is like the centre of Mumbai, busy and bustling with tightly packed buildings and lots of people,” says Kelvin. “But Vasai is not like that at all. It’s rural suburb and very much out in the country. It’s much smaller than Mumbai, very compact and very green. Even the houses are much smaller than in the city itself. It’s also very quiet and peaceful, and very much has a similar feel to Killorglin. The country roads of Killorglin remind me of my childhood days in Vasai, walking back from school through the lush green farmlands.”
Vasai and Killorglin have more in common than a passing resemblance too. The history of Vasai is as old as Christianity itself – and tradition has it that St Bartholomew the apostle visited Kalyan, part of the Thane district in which Vasai is situated. As early as the 6th century, the region had its own bishop in the Diocese of Vasai, and links with Christianity were further cemented in the 16th century when the Portuguese moved north to Vasai from Cochin and Goa.
“We come from a community back home where there is a majority of Catholic Christians. It’s a very close community with eight parishes, and all our relatives and friends all lived close by. Knowing that Ireland was also Catholic has helped us settle much easier. We have lots of friends in our church. We go every Sunday and that has helped us become part of the community. We’ve been made to feel very welcome,” Kelvin says.
Kelvin and family’s move to Ireland was not their first foray into a life abroad. “We moved to California for a few years before, but we couldn’t settle there so we moved back to India. Our daughters started school in the USA and when we decided to move back home, they were finding it difficult to cope up with the high level of local languages being taught in school. They really wanted to move to somewhere where English was the first language again to continue their studies. It was one of the reasons we decided to move again – and choosing Killorglin has been a great choice for us all.”
Read more stories from our Reflections on the Reeks series