[i] What did you do today?

[r] Today is a beautiful day. But this morning I accompanied my son because the school was opened yesterday.

[i] Yes .

[r] And after that I went for physiotherapy. Then I had an appointment with you, so I’m here.

[i] How nice, was he happy to go back to school?

[r] My son was happy to go back to school.

[i] Yes. And yesterday he started. Last week he wasn’t happy but since yesterday, when school started, he’s happy.

[i] And is he the youngest?

[r] Yes, he is the youngest of 5 children. And he is 8 and a half years old. So it’s like he’s all alone, he’s an only child.

[i] Beautiful, 5 children. How did it go with 5 children?

r] How did it go with 5 children? When I arrived here, I thought I would have 10 children.

[i] Oh God, how come 10?

[r] But I stopped at 5 children and that’s all. How come? Because when you’re a girl, you never know your life how it will be. So I dreamed of having so many children. Because we were so many children, 10 children. So I always dreamed of having this fortune. Because we are very close, in the family. Between brothers and sisters. Then the extended family has always fascinated me, like my family, which is, for example. And so I always wanted to have 10 children, arrived in Italy, but every time I gave birth one of them I took away another. I got to 5. I gave up another 5.

[i] But is it common in Somalia to have so many children?

[r] Yes, in Somalia having so many children is common and families that don’t have children say, that have little children year 4, 5. The majority year 8, 10, 12 and 15.

[i] Yes.

[r] It is therefore that it is not only the families, mother, father and children. But the family at that time is much larger. There are grandparents who live with you. It may be that it is cousins, who arrived in my house for example. My aunts lived in other cities, they look for aunts that I used to live in cities where they don’t look for high schools, I have others that I didn’t have universities. So I lived in the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, then and cousins came to study in Mogadishu. Whether at school or infirmary, I remember my cousin living with us and going to university. I remember that three of my cousins lived with us and attended engineering, agriculture and medicine. They came to us, they lived with us. They also looked for those who didn’t have high schools that lived with us. So it’s at my house they also wax, we had many cousins and he had many, and the ninth also. And aunts came by.

[i] Then you were never alone.

[r] No. I’ve never been bored. And I was lucky because I was the smallest of the house, and so wax always move to my house thank God. It was nicer to be alone.

[i] Why did you choose to come to Italy?

[r] And I practically didn’t choose to live in Italy, to live and to immigrate in my life. But the war broke out, I came to see, I had to get married. My husband was here, so I came here. And in between I fear my goal was to return to Somalia. But the war had broken out and I never returned. And so at that time my husband had come here to study Veterinary Medicine Specialization. So practically the situation had changed. I always say I didn’t choose immigration, but immigration was my choice. It was tiring for me. Tiring, in the sense that my husband lived in a tender little room where you eat, a small kitchen, and a small bathroom that you can’t imagine. If I was too chic to walk around in that bathroom it would have been very difficult. There was a shower and a small sink. And I came from a house so big, one thing I heard here was that the houses were small. Despite the fact that I now sit in a house of one hundred and ten square meters. I feel small, that the house is small. So I still haven’t lived in this one. Everything else I’ve gotten used to.

[i] After how many years?

r] After almost 30 years. Almost 30 years is missing some masses.

[i] The first impression you got of Turin?

[r] In Italy?

[i] Yes, Turin. As a city.

[r] Turin as a city the impression that I made. So much impression, because my country is very different from here. The culture is very different, the religion is different, the environment is different. At that time there weren’t many foreigners. The blacks were little ones, but little like a drop of coffee put into the milk. So people were indifferent to that time. Knowledge, there were no schools for the Italian language. They don’t look for centers where you could go to ask for information. Migration was unknown. But when I arrived it was the statues, as an impression I said it was as beautiful as Somalia. It was warm but not like in Somalia, the Italian people tell me until now you are used to the heat. But I’m not used to this heat. The heat and terrible, I’m used to hot and ventilated. Here where the air conditioning, where not that air, where the trees do not move. I’m not used to it. And so notwithstanding that. I always prefer the heat. When the cold season is coming, in the first week I go really a little depressed. In the sense that you begin to put on your closed thinking shoes, the headdress, the curses, sweater, and calse. It takes half an hour to get dressed and out. Before you go out. That’s true. So it’s in those days if you asked for information someone would turn around or someone would stop and answer you. The problem is that Italy has been until now a country where no other language is spoken. If you don’t speak Italian, no one can help you. There are young people now many of them know the English language. In those times.

[i] And how did you do it?


[r] I talked with gestures. If I lost myself I would also ask but they would quietly speak to me in Italian. As if I had understood it. Oh yes. Sometimes I felt deaf, sometimes I felt that I didn’t understand anything. But I would get by and tell the truth. I remember losing myself several times by bus. Because these tall buildings, different buildings. In Somalia all the houses are basic, they are not tall. These streets that resembled each other. And they got lost, to tell the truth many times. And asking was tiring. I remember that one day. There is every time when I pass Porta Susa I remember. I got lost and I didn’t really know. Above below, I could not see the bus I knew that could take me to Porta Nuova. And I asked. In the end I didn’t understand, I asked for the number. Bus I had written, the number of the bus that was at that time 1. And one of my own had drawn the road, where I had to pass went there. And or near finally after 2 hours that I returned in the same point the bus I knew. And finally I came home. From that moment on I started to do something very clever.

[i] What?

[r] I decided, I swore to know the city. And I’d take a bus and go where it ends. And I counted the stops, and I looked at the roads I passed. I would go to the end of the line and go back to the other end of the line. I know the city like that. In fact, I know every corner of Turin.

[i] Nice. Very intelligent.

[r] Yes.

[i] When you came, you said you had your husband. But did you hear moments where you were really alone? Why don’t they wax the Somalis?

[r] Yes, in the first 2 years I always cried. Because at that moment they only look for students who came with my husband to study. And they don’t look for so many Somalis and they look for so few women. Who did domestic work. And I remember that after years I saw the Somalis. At that moment I was seeing male students. My husband is his friends. One who lived with him who attended engineering, one who studied agriculture, the other economics. The males, but they were in poops. Somalis were almost rarely seen by you. I felt so homesick about that, I needed to speak in my own language. I needed to see someone from my country. Something I didn’t even notice now. There is if you are in a new place and do not know the language, translation, for people, culture. You seem to be crushed. And so I. It’s funny to say, but right now I don’t miss it. Because I have so many friends, so many friends who have come from all over the world. Different parts of the world. I have many Italian friends. I don’t feel it strange. That nostalgia where I missed my language, my people, now I don’t notice so much. There I felt deaf, I felt incapable, I felt useless. The defect of immigration, until you know the place where you live and this. So after a while I met the girls who work as maids. They worked with the elderly and when they left they went to a Sister on Saturday and Sunday. And I used to hang out with them. I started dating, getting to know, talking. Via Barrili I remember. Maria Theresa is called, and still alive. In Via Barrili in the center, after meeting him I went there every Sunday. To speak my language, to tell the truth, few women are looking for.

[i] What was your first job in Turin?

[r] My first job in Turin was babysitting. And now they call me second mother, those two boys. I remember. Carlo and Alberto, two guys. I was going around 13:00 after they used to use it from school. Because their mother would start working again at 14:00. After they had eaten I would do some things, wash the food we had used together. And at 15:00 I would take them to play cast. So I’d bring them home around 6:30pm and make dinner and give it to them. In fact, it made it very easy for me to learn the Italian language with those girls. Carlo, who was the youngest at the time was 6 years old and taught me. And he said to me. No, you don’t say that. I asked them this as it is called, and so. Because I couldn’t even wax a school where I could go and learn. The Italian language, what I know, I learned by myself with a book. At that time I knew English well, I did translation between English and Italian. It’s not the same, but words. I wrote the words I heard in Somali, I asked my husband at night how to write in Italian. And what the words that I didn’t know meant. And he would tell me. He would write to me in Italian and tell me the meaning. So I learned.

[i] Nice.

[r] And so those 2 boys then one is already lawyer and works in Belgium, he is married and has a child. I remember that after I had given birth my first daughter named Ikram they came home to keep her in arms. They loved them very much.

[i] Cute.

[r] It was nice. He just saw me, and he recognized me in a meeting. He had approached, Carlo. Are you Suad? Yes, he is. Mia hugged as I do not know what and said to everyone and my second mother, and my second mother!

[i] Cute.

[r] And so it’s nice when they know you. I feel at home today.

[i] It’s a beautiful thing.

[r] Yes.

[i] Have you returned to Somalia?

[r] I always go back to Somalia.

[i] Always?

[[r] I miss it. There is Somalia. I am an activist. And so, I go to make conventions, meetings, consultations. I’m coming back. Notwithstanding that there is fatigue, fear, notwithstanding that there is risk. But the diaspora in which I belong serves the country. If not, I would never go back. And so I always come back.

[i] Yes. But do you hear that Somalia is still your home?

[r] I don’t know. To tell the truth when I’m going I feel like it’s home. When I arrive I don’t get that feeling. There is there. Instead when I’m coming back to get the ario and I arrive in Turin I say to myself I arrived home. There’s this feeling here.

[i] Yes. But why? Somalia and changed a lot since you were there?

[r] Somalia has changed a lot. The Somalia I knew is not the one that every minute risks when you go on the street. Somalia, the people I knew who look for are not there. So many have died and so many live abroad. Somalia has lived these last 30 years at different times, different categories, with different people, different policies, different disorders. Then the populace feels it very much. And so when I was in Somalia at that time I remember wearing pants and miniskirts. Open hair. Somalia now all women… There are places where going as I am now dressed is a risk. Some places when I go I have to get a big scarf, there is a big shall and put it like the other women. If not I can not go to that place. So I can only go to certain places. And other places I can’t. So it’s not Somalia that I knew. But the land. I breathe when I go to the marre, I breathe when I go. And the territory and the memories. I like it when I go. And so, but I don’t know if I feel more at home there or if I feel more at home here. Because in my life I live more in Turin, 31 years old. So there is the life I created here is more radical, there is the life I saw with my parents. So I live more here now. That feeling is now forgotten. I’m there, I go away and travel a lot. I also go to the other side of Europe. On the other side of Africa too. I know one thing. When I’m coming back and when I get on my bed I say I’m finally home. I don’t know why.

[i] Finally.

[r] Yes.

[i] Do you still have relatives in Somalia?

[r] Sure. I have family, cousins, uncles. I’ve had 30 uncles. There is my father’s family was very large. Let’s not talk about my grandfather. And so we have been taught and are taught, that the most important thing is the family bond. Family bond. In the sense that when I was a child, we used to go for walks every Friday. That was like a Sunday here, at my aunt’s house I have my uncle. And those aunt’s children came to our house, and half of us went. And then we would go around to meet all the grandchildren, all of them from the family. So the family bond, my cousins are not only cousins but they are my brothers.

[i] It’s a beautiful thing.

[r] Yes. Then there are many who lived with me year after year and are like real brothers. And so it is the only unfair thing I care about, that I learn to my children and family bond. Because in the future it will serve them, it will serve them, and they will not be alone.

[i] Yes. That’s true. Thank you very much.

[r] Sure.