Working hard is in Augusto Conte’s DNA. The likeable 57-year old Sicilian works long hours at calf skin processing company Oukro in Apeldoorn. This company cures, cools and mechanically stacks calf skins.
Augusto: ‘I check every skin until they are ready to be transported across the entire world, from Italy to Japan. Afterwards, they are processed into furniture, rugs, clothes, shoes and bags.’ Proud: ‘Even for a Parisian fashion brand.’ It is tough work, but it pays well and he is used to it. Given his back problems, he is glad that robots have now taken over the hardest labour. Augusto, who is one of ten children, was sent to his brothers in the Netherlands as a rebellious teen at the end of the seventies. He lived and worked in Zwolle and Zutphen and elsewhere, until he ended up in Apeldoorn. That is where he met Jannie, his second wife. Together, they collect figurines with Swarovski crystals, go for walks and play with their grandson Evan. Augusto is great at cooking Italian meals, but likes Dutch cuisine as well. His motto is: ‘As long as you’re healthy, you’re rich.’ He likes to sing along to the Neapolitan canzoni of Gigi D’Alessio and fellow islander Carmelo Zappulla at the top of his voice. Going back to his beloved Sicily? Only for family visits and holidays. Jannie and Oukro are his home now.
‘As long as you're healthy, you're rich.'