[i] Hello [name] .

[r] Hello

[i] Do you want to introduce yourself?

[r] Yes, my name is [name] , I’m a coach, so I’m in coaching. Of clear African origin, because I come from Eritrea and Ethiopia. I’m also from Italy, because I have an Italian grandfather. And from here this is a bit ‘my “melting pot”, I’m a former entrepreneur, I work in catering And as I told you earlier, I’m a coach and therefore I deal with personal advice or business depends on the objectives.

[i] In what way are you Eritrean and Ethiopian?

[r] The person who gave me life, that is, the father’s side, my natural father, so I already anticipate an interesting family story, let’s say so. My father is half Ethiopian and. . . . born in Eritrea is half Italian so’ of Calabrian origin. My mother instead is of Eritrean origin, let’s say 95% because we also have a Greek great-great-grandfather. And here we are all and then of course there is a “trumpet that surprise” with my father, the one who raised me, from the age of about a year and a half that is completely Italian is Piedmontese so ‘I was born in Chieri. I lived most of my life in Turin and then I was raised by an Italian person

[i] How did it get to you and how do you especially experience that African part of Eritrea and Ethiopia? How did it get to you?

[r] Then I was transmitted in a very natural way my mother is a person very attached to culture then actively participated in the cemetery and was also one of the pillars of the community of Turin then was the first to open a restaurant in Turin Eritrean so was a little precursor of what then everyone has defined as “the ethnic” No? I call it “the instinctive ethnic”, that is, the instinct tells me that I have to open something because I need it and I want to do it. My parents including my father my adoptive father have gone on an ethnic instinctive in the sense that they instinctively needed to do something for them and in addition ‘there was a healthy desire not to incorporate their children into a classic: “You get your salary that compared to all those who do it, however, they were and are a generation of people who see things in this way so they let us live our lives more freely than we could choose to be free first and then what to do. And this arrived with them and arrived cleanly our mother naturally put into the educational discourse what Africa is. I was raised with all the small and very direct inputs on Africa, that is, education first of all. My mother never touched me she never threw me a slipper maybe once a slipper, once only; a slipper and once tried to give me a pinch to tell you, but she always left me some containers, some lines to get to and you didn’t have to go beyond them and in case I wanted to continue, to challenge those lines, those containers, she rightly let me go and then gathered me after the experience. But in a very quiet and relaxed way, looking at me and saying: “That’s what I was trying to tell you”. So you have established a certain type of communication based on facts, experience, sometimes direct, what they call “Schiaffoni”, right? But at the same time never too much. . . . He never controlled my path so much, he let everything happen like that. And then slowly we also began to work together, so ‘there was a merger with the work and there was perhaps a little more challenging because there was the work in the middle of training my hotel and restaurant what I had mentioned before and there the culture has also become a vision of the world in our society of what could be my figure at the time. I am a ’77, I started working with them really in ’96 I was 18 years old. You understand that, ’96, Turin is very beautiful but, problems and problems that is, we still have problems to accept people of other nationalities, you imagine at the time they saw a person like me dark complexion because anyway mine is three-quarters African a fourth Italian was difficult to understand. So it was a clash on everything, to get on the bus, in the evening turn into the owner. This black one is my continuous daily elastic, daily, a massacre for my identity because anyway in the morning, from the moment I didn’t enter the restaurant, I had to show off my rights. I used to show them off because I had to put them in people’s faces anyway: I’m Italian. Why didn’t I see myself so different from the others? Rightly so, however, little more than a teenager and.. . . and I don’t want to bring the clock too far back because, then, well, a classic when you’re a child or at middle school or elementary school, I have no memories so traumatic, but still towards middle school that has become a little older, the boys are, a little maybe the most ignorant are a little more villains, right? So only they can touch them, on the differences. Here I’m talking about a speech from 18/20 onwards. there the problem is just a question of where you are in the world. There in the morning, you count from 9 am to 10 am until 6 pm, I was an immigrant, and from 6 pm to 2 am of the night I was the owner of the “Red Sea” so, at the same time, my figure developed within the Turin night clubs where everyone knew me. Actually all of Turin because then with time the place was no longer just a restaurant but also a bar, Cocktail bar, many things, concert, no? Each of us grows, and the activity with me has also grown, but the elastics have also grown. And there, in my opinion, the only person who then became a natural person was the acceptance, that is, I began to make friends with this one, the acceptance, a person who accompanied me every day, to accept this thing. So it’s true, at the beginning I really needed a place where I could meet each other, right? The others tell you who you are, what you do, what you are. I didn’t know myself and I realized this, so that space helped me to know myself, so I experienced where, really, my different parts. And then I realized that afterwards, with time, it was not what I wanted to do. I liked being in the midst of people, but in the end, however, the restaurant was a bit included in the price, right? And then I realized that instead it could be a bridge of transformation for something else, my current job.

[i] Tell us, what is your current job? Where did you get to where that “wake” of departure, of momentum took you?

[r] That starting trail gave me an important thing that is listening, that. I listened to a lot of people talking to me about their travels, their knowledge, their cultures; grandmother Eritrea grandmother. . . . or the friend of the father who ate the zighini, our stew, or ingest it or this or the other. Therefore, I have been really, fortunately machine-gunned by continuous information and experiences of other people. And with time I learned to listen, to understand that sometimes unfortunately as far as my former job is concerned, that is to work in the restaurant business, you have to listen to the customer. But if you, that stuff there, “necessarily “becomes “I listen to him because I’m interested” his experience could also make it become one of my experiences and grow. It creates an important “switch”, so I brought that thing to me, in my world of consulting so I am a consultant both in the company because I still work with the company coaching in my field, in the one in which I have more experience, in the restaurant and also in the personal part where certainly my everyday experience, even with people, as a foreigner in Italian makes me understand, or rather, makes me more sensitive within the problems of difficulty, which are in my case, in my world, exactly, do not talk about clinician, do not talk about disease, do not talk … Coaching deals with objectives, so I can not achieve a goal that you want to be in the production of a company, the family always arrive late, I can not, I am dissatisfied with this, I try to put tools specifically to help people. In the middle, since we are not made of sheets and formulas, we need a part of experience. So all these experiences that I have had I always put them in metaphor, on the table, like this table and I bring them for a transformation. So what you have given me has given me, this has given me so much. And then, above all, this new work doesn’t bind me. Because I work together with people for a few months, then you go to conclude the goal, you go to conclude our collaboration. I am not bound to the money if I reach my goal my customer pays me, otherwise no. Because it also creates a dimension of real value: if you’re worth it, you can’t.

[i] Of course compared to your, let’s say, adolescence or anyway the first years of adulthood of a young Italian but black man and that experience you lived; and now as an adult man, more aware of who he is and where he is going, how do you live reality? That is, how do you position yourself in everyday life? In other words, how does your image of [name] perceive reality? How you perceive reality and how reality also responds to a figure of coaching, so with high skill and that in Italy it is not obvious that it has, say, this aspect also physical.

[r] Yes. Yes, everything is very interesting. So, let’s start from the base: curiosity. I mean, I don’t start out prevented, so I’m very curious every time I receive information, also because I’m in a phase of . . . . in which I feel very receiving, that is I receive information both from my customers and from the people interested because anyway when I meet with a person, we chat so they ask me “what do you do”? about that they are very interested, they come and we take a cup of tea or a hot one and we talk, so. I’m very curious to see their reactions, so I’m always working progress on this.

[i] Your customers, when you have a new customer coming in, and hears your first and last name which are eternally Italian first and last names, what is the first impact?

[r] No, no problem, in the sense that we return to curiosity then there is the second part when you become what you want, what you still reach the road to . . . okay? You are on the road. Reach a certain tranquility in the sense that I am a little out of the crossroads of terror of not knowing where to go, that is, my way is that and I am very serene when I speak of my work. One because I am aware of what I have done. Also for the not for the certification itself, but because a group of professionals has enabled me has a profession that perhaps in Italy is not so well known but abroad is equivalent to the third grade for any type of work. Okay? Because they are qualities that you must have and above all qualities trained. So I am performing, that is, we go to work, on anything I can stay anywhere and this increases my self-esteem, and especially my effectiveness in the work. First of all. I do not feel obliged, as was the past twenty years, to ask for attention in others, or understand if others … maybe others see in me tranquility, security, and especially attract people of a certain level, because we are magnets at the end that is, we attract people with whom we like, voluntarily or involuntarily, always for the fact, unconscious and conscious, to live life. I am working well at the moment because I observe myself and my world and I see the people around me, even my customers, who are open people.

We started from your origins: but have you ever been to Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia?

[r] Yes, I’ve been there. I saw her for the first time at the age of twenty, that is, my mother from 0 to 20 gave me a lot of help with everything she was: cooking at home, music, incense, smells therefore very strong… above all, well, the first was her skin, because anyway she has an acidity of the skin that is very particular. It brought me back to some things that I then recognized down there, didn’t it? With eating determinant things we know anyway, eating ingenerates, zighini, makes that your skin smell… So I found the same smell of skin in my relatives. It was when I came back down. At the age of 20 the first time I was… very upset by this trip, because anyway it was… even if I was ready mentally, I wasn’t at the level of my soul, spiritually, put it on several levels that you want every use… inside I wasn’t ready. I arrived right and sinister right away I’ll just tell you that I went down, I brought all the things that maybe had a little hole to not feel me … you think, don’t you? As I already rationalized. But I didn’t realize that I was overwhelmed, did I? The ugliest shoe I had was a third model Adidas, coming out and… So I came down… Wow, that was a big deal, because I saw all the people who didn’t even have shoes or… Then we were in a neighborhood, furthest away, already cute.

[i] Where?

[r] We were near the American embassy, my parents had a house. But fate has it that…

[i] Which city?

[r] Asmara! Yes, yes, in the capital, sorry, I take it for granted, but… No, the problem was that I came after my parents, they already came down with my brother, my mother and my father. I arrived later. I made the trip alone because I was already used to travel and I was accompanied by an Italian, an asmarin, that the Italians born down in the middle of the… as this character said, I will always remember him: “born, and raised and die in Asmara, I come to Italy just to take my exams” And I ok, as soon as I approached the chair on the plane there was a bag on the ground, I had his place, right? And I was used to order a lot, right? My things. And he, he doesn’t even bother me talking, said to me: “If you don’t mind, put it on me”? And I had already understood, everything had already changed, there was really a wheel that turned backwards. Then you know it, don’t you? That the ticket there from a certain point on there is no more seat, that is, everyone goes where they want.

[i] Absolutely.

[r] And it’s something, really, that really takes you off. So, I still managed to get the first leg, in the sense that everything was tidy, but already with this character who, in 7 hours, however, told me all about Italy, sorry, Eritrea as seen by an Italian born and raised there. That is to say, everything I had learned both at school and that I had documented myself was turned upside down in four seconds. He also gave me a couple of books, which I read in the meantime when he then hosted me down in Asmara in the following twenty days. So I had a different approach to all the history handed down in our books, in civic education, all that was that they were fragments of truth that arrive. But then it was not enough as a program, in the evening we arrived early on schedule, my parents were waiting for me in the morning, we arrive you know how it works down, we arrived 5 hours earlier and I was hosted in this house. And he said to me, “Don’t worry, you’re home. It was one thing… I didn’t know that person. And even the people who came to pick him up, the Eritrean boys, greeted me like brothers and it was really important. Even when I opened the door, he felt all the spices in the restaurant in the air. It was like living inside the restaurant but under the open sky. Eh eh. You just imagine… And then in the morning when I woke up in this neighborhood, for a day I stayed. Ambagaliano, Ambagaliano is a neighborhood, the boundary between working-class neighborhoods and the center. Limit what it means, the working-class neighborhoods are popular, it’s not that they are popular with well-made houses, there were the houses that the state gave to the wives of the military, so common neighborhoods, there was only one street that divided us. I opened the gate to go out for a walk, put my head out, children’s courts … closed the door and sat on a step. I stood still there. I began to cry because I was ashamed to exist. With all the fake problems we create, I was ashamed to exist… Because you can’t do anything about it, these are things you have inside. Humanity is above all the connection, you can connect to a world that belongs to you only if you disintegrate. How do you disintegrate it? Cancelling all your convictions towards a society that doesn’t really exist there, instead, there exists what is real, that is, that people don’t eat, don’t have shoes, children play in the middle of the stones with rags and are happy. Do you understand this “cocktail”? It was very strong. This character arrived, took me by the arm and said: “Come [name] I’ll accompany you. So imagine what an important figure it was. Because in the meantime my parents couldn’t come and get me right away. There was talk of the evening after. So he calmly took me for a walk. He helped me

[i] Perciso: man asmerino yes.

[r] Yes, very Italian

[i] White.

[r] White, white, white.

[i] You, black but very Italian inside.

[r] Yes, yes, yes, yes.

[i] It’s also nice this role-playing game, let’s say, inside, isn’t it?

[r] Yes, but it was an incredible thing, just continuous landslides. But that had to be my path. It had to come this way. It was for me… That is to say, at that moment, maybe not even without it, maybe I’ll say goodbye to myself because I hugged it anyway, I said goodbye, okay, this is it. We have to go on and he came to me with this hand and I said: “ok come on come on, let’s see” he accompanied me and then my journey started from there. We said goodbye and I was very happy to begin my first experience and there arrived 2, 3, 4, 5. Also at a photographic level, then I started to photograph, because anyway one of my passions is to photograph images, faces, something you know down there is not so simple, people don’t want to be photographed, but I don’t regret it, I don’t regret it, I don’t really have a lot of shots, but I still carry them inside my family’s room and they always remind me a bit of those moments, don’t they? I’ve always carried those faces with me. It’s a part of me I’m not just that but it’s an important part has been the beginning. And now I miss Eritrea I miss it so much because anyway I would like to take my daughter down I would like to introduce her to my grandmother and I’m sure that starting this path before, with my daughter, this wealth of information that anyway we exchanged today, makes you understand how I can then avoid things like this to my daughter; and above all that she “get used” no? In other words, you will find yourself… in the normal

[i] You said something interesting: “I’d like my grandmother to meet you” so you have a family in Asmara?

[r] Yes, except for my grandfather, they’re all there. Then there are the partly migrant ones, someone came up here, Switzerland, Germany. Right, left… But no, the roots are… we still own the tuculs down, which I would like to create trips from here to down, making trips like this. That is, go and live a little the experience of what it is to live in the country, in Africa, is another story. Beautiful, there is no light, the only light there is are the stars.

[i] And are you somehow transmitting to your daughter here, in everyday life, this absence of yours as it was transmitted to you by your mother?

[r] Now let’s do an important step, okay. At first I tried, then I realized that I was doing “The Eritrean” that is, I was going to try to keep something that I thought you could take no?

[i] An imagined community.

[r] And then afterwards, however, selling myself in some attitude so I thought. . . let’s start from scratch. I know my fairy I try to know it well is an entity that already has inside itself everything okay? Knowing her and freeing her from the annoyances of external education, I understood that there was no need to do much. Because she already wanted to be barefoot, eat the ingera, our bread alone as if it were… she liked to dance a certain kind of music, she liked to live instinctively with me certain things that only I maybe, I was used to living with my mother, but I taught her nothing. She was already doing her own. Then what I learned, maybe it was to let me be free to be myself that she follows what I do, or what her mother does. Therefore, to hand down, or better, to preserve, in a better way, is to be yourself, for example. So every now and then, there’s the moment when we talk about Africa, we talk about Africans, we talk about black-brown because it’s the usual thing to do… Let’s talk about grandma, grandparents, about distinctions. And I try to bring everything that is double, because I’m not only Eritrean, I’m also Italian. I’m not even, then I step for “I’m even”, no, I’m Italian. So it’s the right balance. How do you know that? You only know about the final result. For now we’re balanced. I like it, I don’t feel friction, I see a little girl growing up without whims, she understands that it’s introspective, she listens. Of course I would really like to go down with her, because it would create much more ethnic intimacy, let’s call her that. It’s really ethnic intimacy, that is, a parent can live intimately the part of his ethnicity, isn’t it? With their own child only in certain situations. So I’m waiting for the moment when we’ll travel together, so every trip we’re making little is the preparation then for the biggest one and especially the preparation of my partner who’s doing everything to, at this time, not let us all leave, because she maybe has a little more restrictions

[i] But it’s a mom, there’s a difference between mom and dad. I’m sorry.

[r] No, it’s okay, no, no, no, it’s okay. Then I’ll make you laugh, my partner is for a fourth Eritrean. A fourth, but she is the opposite, was born and raised here in Italy, without having had experience. There’s a quarter of curiosity in her, maybe the one I saw when we met, and we complete ourselves with this kind of… in fact my daughter is half and half, just to all intents and purposes, doing her own mathematics is half and half. And that’s it, so…

[i] Thank you very much [name] .