On his first full day in Taiwan yesterday, the Taiwanese-Brazilian teenager Iruan Ergui Wu (吳憶樺) rode the Taipei MRT to attend a wedding banquet at a hotel in Taipei City.
The 18-year-old arrived in Taiwan on Friday evening from Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil, accompanied by his adoptive mother, Etna Borkert, and adoptive brother Cassio Borkert.
Iruan was invited by the Rotary Club of Taipei to attend a wedding banquet held at the Grand Victoria Hotel yesterday morning and turned up in dapper style, dressed in a gray dress shirt, black slacks and a necktie.
Crowded by the press, Iruan spoke in Portuguese, saying he was happy to experience a Taiwanese-style wedding.
He said taking the MRT to the Grand Victoria Hotel was wonderful, adding that “everything I encountered here is excellent and the food is delicious. I really like Taiwanese noodles and dumplings.”
He is heading to Greater Kaohsiung today, where his uncle and Taiwanese relatives, as well as old school friends, are eagerly awaiting him.
His uncle, Wu Huo-yen (吳火眼), who traveled back to Greater Kaohsiung overnight from Taoyuan after welcoming Iruan at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, was seen making preparations and decorating his house yesterday with the national flags of Brazil and the Republic of China to celebrate his return.
Meanwhile, students and former teachers at his school, Jiading Elementary School in Greater Kaohsiung, have also been busy planning a welcome party for him, thought to be planned for Friday.
Iruan’s father, Wu Teng-shu (吳登樹), was a fishing boat captain from Cie-ding District (茄萣) who went to Brazil and met a Brazilian woman, Marisa Ergui Tavares, and had a son there. He set sail again after Iruan was born in May 1995.
In 2001, Wu Teng-shu brought the young boy to Taiwan to visit his family, but when the father died two weeks later of a heart attack, Wu Huo-yen decided to keep the boy in Kaohsiung.
Tavares' mother, Rosa Leocadia DaSilva Ergui, later came to Taiwan to take the boy back to Brazil, setting off lengthy court proceedings that lasted more than two years before the Taiwan High Court ruled in her favor.
When the boy was taken from his uncle’s home on Feb. 10, 2004, clashes erupted as the then-eight-year-old’s relatives tried to stop police from entering their home.
During Iruan’s time in Taiwan from 2001 to 2004, he attended grades one and two at the Jiading Primary School.
“For Iruan’s welcome, we have students from our social clubs giving a performance, which will then be followed by a tour around the school,” school principal Liang Cheng-hung (梁正宏) said.
“Knowing that soccer is popular in Brazil, we have gathered his former classmates to make up a team to play against the local community in a friendly match. After that, we will have a welcome tea party in the school auditorium,” he added.
“Everyone in the local community is welcome. We hope our school can contribute to Taiwan’s citizen diplomacy,” Liang added.
A poster of Iruan’s school days and activities 10 years ago was organized by the school’s director of academic affairs, Kuo Chih-hsiung (郭志雄).