Faces in the Crowd – Life’s Ark

Posted on March 17, 2016 under Faces in the Crowd with one comment

FITC March 13


They lived 10,000 kilometers apart. L’Arche Antigonish brought them together.

Meet Tina Angustia and Peter Schenke.

She had the travel bug at an early age and was anxious to experience other parts of the world. He looked at his atlas at the age of 14 and saw a vast globe in front of him.  Little did they know that their worlds would collide in a place unknown to either of them.

After working for the Jesuits for 15 years, Tina wanted to broaden her experience.  Upon completing high school, Peter had a choice of a year of military service or working with a social service agency.  Tina ended up securing a job with L’Arche in the Philippines.  “L’Arche found me” she says.  Peter discovered that he could do his community work overseas and leapt at the opportunity to go abroad. “My chance of getting a job with L’Arche in the Philippines was excellent.  There were no other applicants!” he recalls.

They worked together for a short period of time before Peter decided to continue his education, earning a degree in Horticulture back in Germany. Tina was attending a L’Arche conference in Australia where she met a young Polish man who had worked at L’Arche Antigonish.  Despite some misgivings about moving to a colder climate, she decided to take the plunge and arrived in Antigonish in 2009.

For Tina, the welcome she received could not have been better. Antigonish’s own “goodwill ambassador”, Joe White, made her feel at home immediately.

Peter came to visit Tina in Antigonish and they fell in love; with each other, and their newly adopted home.

With the news of a child on the way, the couple feared that they would not be able to continue living and working at L’Arche. But through the compassion and understanding of Gus and Debbie Leuschner and the L’Arche community, not only did they remain with L’Arche, but this “village” became their surrogate family.

When asked why Antigonish is so special to them, Peter smiles. “People are friendly and open.  I feel that I can do anything … that anything is possible.  Here, we know what is important in life … family, art, culture, nature … and a sense of belonging.”

For Tina, it is much simpler. “I feel safe here.  And I haven’t confronted any racism.”

What is most important to Peter and Tina is that their children, Clara and Emmanuel, will grow up in a caring, supportive community.

Life’s ark has brought them here to stay.


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