[i] Hello, would you like to introduce yourself and tell us who you are?

[r] Yes, my name is [name] and I was born in Asmara. And I’ve been living in Turin for about 40 years so a little more Piedmontese because my father is finally Piedmontese and my mother is from Asmara. But many years I’m here I feel good because, I feel good now I’m used to it. But inside me I’ve always felt African inside is something stronger than me. Even if I have an Italian surname, I am Italian to all intents and purposes, but I feel African. I feel more part of my mother than of my father. But I don’t know this maybe because they extrapolated me a bit, I wanted to be with my grandmother I want to be in Africa, but they brought me to Italy because my father is from Turin. Then nothing unfortunately missed him my mother was left alone we had a life of sacrifices, I mean, my mom’s been really upset, she’s been great because she never remarried. So alone if she raised 4 widowed children at 34 years old. My brothers unfortunately 2 had gone incollegio because we did not make it. Let’s say that I and the youngest girl who was born just before my father passed away are still there. And she has to do things if she is found in trouble and if she is arranged we went to do cleaning work to grow up, we were in the barracks of Turin because at the beginning there were barracks for refugees. And then they moved us no, at first we were in a hotel and from the hotel and they moved us to the barracks we stayed for 2 or 3 years in those barracks. They are the ones of type of iron before they gave us so however and what they gave and there we had to stay. And then after years we were assigned the council house we would have been there 2 or 3 years I do not even remember. I was a little girl so I would run around my younger sister nothing and my mom would go to work, we grew up well because she was a good mom, there is not the most lost but I loved her. This was and then nothing and is 18 years old I met who is still my husband, I’ve had two children. They’re good for me. They’re jewels. I love them. And I also love my husband nothing he has his job and I occasionally give her a hand so sporadically. But overall we say that this is the big picture. Then I can say…

[i] On the general picture I ask you… you told us a very true and very lively story, right? And what years were they in those years especially you talked about “they put us in the barracks for refugees”.

[r] Sure.

[i] Why did you turn out to be refugees?

[r] Certainly because my father was practically Italian, and the period of war between Eritrea and Ethiopia was beginning there was some tension. So he was practically repatriated because he was Italian and we were with him. We are refugees to all intents and purposes we have the certificate of refugees and therefore the treatment provided for, was that that is, you had to stay first in a hotel and then afterwards until you got to the people’s house, let’s say that they gave us the working-class home in the 70s. So we did about 5 years in shacks, yes. And then we also had this I must not forget, at first as soon as we arrived we had an aunt who hosted us.

[i] A relative of your daddy’s aunt?

[r] My father’s relative who hosted us, because at first there was not even the hotel. I don’t know if we had arrived here, and she dared to tell us this, I don’t remember much because I was also a little girl. So for me to come here in November and see the snow a cold dog I would have run away immediately I swear.

[i] So the idea of leaving Eritrea was not a choice and we say dictated by your parent but was it a consequence?

[r] One moment it was a situation, my father had been there for many years and he was fine. But we have to say that at that time there he was also sick, in his heart. So he was transferred directly from the hospital, that is, my father was in hospital when we left. They took him by ambulance to the airport. So a little that but above all the problem was the tension that if he was creating at that time there I mean, I went to school and he would take me in the morning, when he could go to the bus because there was the bus that would take you to school. And there were already 2 armed people around and there was a climate of great tension.

[i] And what are your memories in Asmara?

[r] Nice.

[i] Tell us about your daily life and you talked about your grandmother “I wanted to stay and I didn’t want to leave”.

[[r] Yes, I wanted to be with my grandmother, because my grandmother was a wonderful person. Then… we were fine in Africa, we weren’t sick, we had our little house. We had 2 waitresses, but you know that in Africa it’s quite normal. One maybe who cleans the other who takes you to school who makes you food. So we didn’t need anything, I was fine because they had to take me away from there. I didn’t understand it, but the worst moment was just when the ship was leaving the port of Massawa. Because it was already halfway to the sea had already left this ship or could not land perhaps there was a matter of a little tension could not get to shore, so with motion stirrups made us reach the ship, which was already offshore. And to see the figure of my mother as she disappeared on this port of Massawa. And one thing I will never forget, I still know in my heart.

[i] So the transition from a quiet, laid-back, family life,

[r] It wasn’t nice.

[i] Let’s say to a Turin that welcomes a family of myths.

[r] I’ve forgotten one detail, which is so important. That’s why we were welcomed as refugees in the refugee camp of Brindisi. There was a refugee camp and it was a hallucinatory stuff, bunk beds looks like a military barracks maybe it was a barracks. Bunk beds and you were going to get food from the canteen, you have those military cosini present the card your ration. So metal was a military type stuff, I understand, and I remember we stayed there 3 months in this place toast us. Even those who came with us not only us.

[i] Sure.

[r] From there then there are those who went perhaps to one of the relatives from somewhere there are those who went to another city. After the period of refugee camp that was in Brindisi and some were also in Bari. After that we came to Turin, because my father was from Turin. So we came here. But my father after 30 years in Africa his relatives didn’t have all that confidence in this joy of seeing him again. He arrived with this little nigger with the children, understood…

[i] Didn’t something come up?

[r] And the Piedmontese were quite closed there were not so many foreigners there was only one from Libya. The Libyans were here but there weren’t many foreigners. So we were a little bit seen well because you know you almost seemed like someone wanted to touch you to see if you were flesh like them. To touch this color was a bit of a thing, so I don’t know how to tell you, bad but then that I think about it makes me laugh now. But at the time you were experiencing it a bit badly, as if to say.

[i] I’m not a toy.

[[r] Brava, yeah. Sometimes you laughed, and then when you’re little you see things differently. But on the whole I can say anyway the Italians are good anyway. I have to say this, that is to say that basically they are good and a beautiful people. In the sense that when you then know apart from the initial mistrust very welcoming and confident I must also acknowledge that. I have beautiful memories of Asmara, memories that I can say the memories of when you were a child, you played with friends a beautiful quiet life. That is, nothing bad happened but nothing at all. Maybe once the thieves entered, the ugliest thing was that. So… no there was perhaps an earthquake once. For the rest I was very well I even cut from school, to remember my father undermined me, because I cut just from school I was, a girl.

[i] In Asmara you went to the Italian school?

[r] At the Italian school, yes. I always went to school, but I was also studying Amharic at first and that’s it. It would have been nice and then I have no more…

[i] And then you didn’t study anymore.

[r] I don’t know anything about Amharic. I have always been an Ethiopian-Eritrean union. I am one who sees the country as unique, not as separate. This is my point of view for me, you have to be united, that is, we have to be together, we cannot divide ourselves.

[i] One people.

[r] For me yes, it is one people. Also because we are all mixed who has no relatives or relatives in Addis Ababa and maybe not being able to see them was not nice. For me yes, being Italian as in documents I can go wherever I want. But the separated families, my aunt died but at night they took her away from home to send her back to Eritrea. After 40 years or 35 years of work in Addis Ababa these things are not beautiful. That is to say, clearly she has suffered so much, these things should not happen here.

[i] Of course

[r] According to me. Also because if I meet an Ethiopian woman you see me as I see it equal, we are too fine we can not separate uselessly.

[i] There is a bond.

[r] Yes very, very tight even we can’t not we must in my opinion.

[i] And returning to your arrival no, here in Italy those years were particular years, moreover, the war for a mestizo family, put yourself mixed for more your mom was alone with the black woman children.

[r] With an article like that in the press.

[i] About your family?

[r] Yes, about my mother who did it… did they help her at the time “the mirror of the times” was there?

[i] Excuse me.

[r] “The mirror of the times” was called a press thing, and there was that I know of it… she didn’t know anything poor about it. She found an article “a help to the black widow”, yes I swear. There was a picture of me in that picture, there was a picture of me, my mom doesn’t remember.

[i] And how was growing up as a woman so somehow determined because to live above?

[r] Yes very

[i] And raising 4 children by yourself must not have been as easy as she was a figure so close?

[[r] But I think my mother if she was very very very smart. Because she is almost capable of being both mother and father. That is, to be hard, because in any case there was a need even not, and sweet, because in any case in the moments she was a very sweet mother, I mean. And I’m sorry for that because I don’t have it anymore, I’d like it here… but I miss it.

[i] She grew up with this very strong woman. Are you Italian too, to all intents and purposes, when you say “I feel African”?

[r] Yes

[i] I mean, you were born to an Italian-born dad…who you didn’t know very well. Has this been passed on to you by your mother?

[r] I don’t know if you know from my mom or my grandmother why my mom maybe not even so much because she grew up in coleggio. So she was very much in the Italian habit with Bolis she was called, so she was Italian with the nuns in Sant’Anna, sorry. They were the sisters of Sant’Anna cathedral of Asmara there was the college she had grown up there. So I don’t think that she was my grandmother anymore, I almost know that I remember the tigrin. I don’t know it well but I remember it, that is, as if you never wanted to forget, you understand. Sometimes my mom then spoke Italian with me, you know, so sometimes they told me you’re better than tau mom. Because in any case or perhaps because as a child maybe you have things imprinted on you. And then because I came back to Asmara I wanted to come back I wanted to see her again. When the war ended in 91, there was liberation, I and my children went to Asmara. Piccolini looks hallucinating because unconscious, why bring two children immediately. We celebrated the peace all full of palm trees you know happy, It was beautiful Asmara I must say I remembered her in a way. You know when you’re little maybe you remember big things. When I arrived in Turin maybe I got used to seeing everything small I said everything small here. The nice houses are not ugly Asmara is kept very well anyway clean. Then I went to Massawa to Massawa there was the disaster. Because going on the road to go to Massawa a hot beast. There was all the road full of … no I know as if he says it was unpaved. We were on a VIP all the way white all the dust. But there were some I remember the thing that hurt me. There were many bodies, many skeletons who were left. In Massawa we went to a bombed hotel there was a hole, unfortunately it was like that. It wasn’t nice, because it had been nice once if you saw. But Massawa wasn’t doing well at the time. We were there a couple of days because we had to go to the beach anyway. Because I wanted to see Massawa, because I only saw it when I left Massawa. I’ve never been to Massawa before and I wanted to see it. I don’t remember this hotel, this hole was a lot of places with bomb holes, I get it. But then afterwards they went on they built a nice resort. So they also took big steps, no. I must say that Asmara is still nice but I would not live there anymore. No, I wouldn’t be there anymore because you still feel like I’m in the middle of it. the problem of this fact of leaving as children and then afterwards. You’re a foreigner here, because you’re a foreigner here and you’re a foreigner there too. Because however you come from outside you have other habits, other situations. So it doesn’t succeed a little bit it doesn’t succeed in integrating you, understood. Because they still take their lives calmly, almost a boredom. Let’s say this calm for you is a boredom, because you are used to another rhythm. But it’s okay you can spend a week eating Zighinin staying with relatives is nice. But then living no, not anymore. Maybe Addis Ababa is more lively. We went to Addis Ababa’s house then there were people on the street at the traffic lights. Poor legless people there are those without eyes who are redeemed of the war anyway they were begging for alms. While in Asmara you didn’t see this, you never understood the reason, but in Asmara there were none. In Massawa yes, I’m sorry, in Adess Ababa many yes.

[i] When you came back down…

[r] I went back to see where I lived. where I was born I went to see.

[i] How was the impact?

[r] I must tell you that I remembered everything well. nostalgia maybe you know the nostalgia of some friend who had who maybe in America who I never felt again and then some people you know you come to mind anyway there lived that there lived that there lived the other someone I found you however all if they’ve gone most have gone away

[i] Sure. I’m sorry there were so many Italians in the area where I lived because I lived in Via Zamanda. via Zamanda was an area that we called the Italian area in fact there were several Italians

[i] Did you see your grandmother again?

[r] She was already missing

[i] So the last time he’s on the port of Massawa

[[r] My grandmother’s memory is just that finished

[i] And taking a step forward how it was growing up as a teenager to become a woman to become a mother and in Turin by a woman in Italian but who has a look, let’s say not quite native?

[r] Under what aspect?

[i] In other words, in society how did you feel welcomed? How did you experience this boundary of skin colour just like the appearance?

[r] And what I told you before at the beginning was not easy because in any case there was already a time when the north already had it in the sense that there were signs things that you have already heard with the words “not if they rent houses to the South” written on it. so you’re not just southerners, you’re African too, so… it wasn’t easy at first because anyway if he saw that they looked at you in a different way in the sense that this was there But without wickedness perhaps so then all they had to do was get to know you. yes at first it was not nice I did not find myself well I did not like here if I’m being honest, I’ve gotten used to it. but I’d rather go and live in New York than know where the world is. I like all races together understood, here now there are a few more people before not so you feel more observed, more “the little black woman”. now they don’t say it much anymore because there are so many of us then maybe they have a little bit so… habit also no before yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes I was fine with my grandmother. but let’s just say that among friendships he overcomes all these things. it was not really a drama or perhaps because I think I’m characterially tough enough so I didn’t have a big problem. I was always proud to be the way I am. or rather, if I were to be born, I’d like to be this way or even blacker. in fact, they say, “but you never need to go to the beach.” I’m sunbathing and I want to get blacker so I like it and I’m happy with it I never said I put myself on, you know, I see a lot of people who maybe put things straight. Now it’s been a while and there’s been a period where the Africans almost wanted to become clear. white powder white things but because forgive me if you’re white because you want to be white your color is the one I no loso of this I never had problem maybe the others had it maybe but I didn’t. I’ve never had and I don’t give a shit I’m happy so and then as a relationship you grasp others well maybe as you put yourself also I think that is important that do not be arrogant educated because one however perhaps thanks to my mother I think that in general in the family we are quite educated and I also tried to give my children even though I complained I was fighting with my mother was an ongoing conflict But I really appreciate what clashes we did and I tried to pass it on to my children and I’ve been in contrast with my children and I’m still in contrast today. because in any case, the fact is that I was a mother of children who broke the boxes not to use other terms because the other mothers were better and that I always say no I always said no everything no this no the other no “because you’re such a good guy’s mom is a good guy’s mom is a good guy’s mom” there is no school for mothers I do as I feel everyone does as if they feel so I guess all in all I’m hoping they’re good guys. Anyway, I think I need a lot of time to get my bearings.

[i] Sure.

[r] The fact that my mother has been strict enough with me with us for me I behaved well with them I did my best as a mother and my husband as a father

[i] Sure. And your children this African part

[r] They hear you.

[i] Did you get that from him?

[r] Yes above all the greatest yes so much but we eat when we place we eat Zighini we also like African cuisine there is always Africa present also because we do not know how to tell you I never broke contact with people even with people who came with me from Africa Okay there’s a lady I don’t want to say the name for education but she’s a wonderful woman a mom came with us she lives in Turin too for me that lady is almost my mother I love it I do not go to see him I am ashamed every now and then I go But there is always the one in the heart and so I mean I always have this bond the always had it never broken

[i] So you continued in some way

[r] Maintaining contact between the two sides of industry

[i] To partner with the community yes without participating with the community but always I have had good relations with people however both who I meet not just Eritreans or Ethiopians all especially African people normally if you see a person on the street maybe that’s natural. if I see you maybe or another maybe it may seem to me Somalie Eritrea Ethiopia normal that you come from watching it no the instinct just and maybe there’s always a hint of greeting even if it’s just like that but if you say hello is nice this thing and then there is someone else who does not want to or does not do anything is also that

[i] Are you happy to return to Eritrea?

[r] I’ve only been to Eritrea twice and I’d like to go back there and now I’d like to go to Adess Ebeba. to see the changes again because there have been so many changes anyway

[i] Now there’s been peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

[r] Well I’m glad.

[i] What do you think?

[r] I am in favour of thee, I have told thee before, and I believe that it is only a people to be united by force of things. if you can not divide Ethiopia and Eritrea in my opinion even Somalia but For me it’s yes.

[i] What do you think this peace will bring, what do you expect it to bring?

[r] First of all, if families get together, I think that this thing is fundamental. because after years of family separation, I think it’s been a great pain. Maybe the husband in Ethiopia the wife in Eritrea is not something anyone likes. and I think that together they can do great things in my opinion a bright future. but they must not get lost in a glass of water because I think that the initiative is great I wait for things even maybe work without needing all scapegoats to leave that do they can also enter their country from the Eurozone from abroad also many young people who have studied instead of being around the world do something good for their country I think they come back if the situation changes if all goes well so they can do great things also because now they have studied and therefore are more technologically more advanced and mentally more open-minded and clear that they can do important structural things and also humanly we have understood what it means to get out of your country living outside the house so I think it’s one of the most difficult experiences maybe alone, maybe how many died from Canada to cross how many people all these things shock you how many people have died at sea? I think that those who come back come back to do good things.

[i] I’m asking you a question. You’ve touched on a very topical subject. having regard to your personal experience as a profoga because you have to leave by force from Eritrea with a ship and paradoxically

[r] Not by force though. It was a nice ship.

[i] By force in the sense that it was not a desired journey it was a journey, let’s say.

[r] Situation of circumstances

[i] And paradoxically you arrived in the south of Italy and today it’s happening in a very different way the same thing somehow, how do you see these guys these people coming in with the ship?

[r] I’m sick very very very sick very sick at least when we came, we had a place to go. Now the boys are under the curtains. we put us in the barracks but the stuffa was there we were in the camp profoghi but still the blankets were there we have not died of cold and hunger here I see that many are campeted in tents outside the cities even in winter and there they are left to their own devices, in my opinion. I don’t see this situation very well. in my opinion now as now starting from there with the hope of finding something better instead of no In my opinion, if they find those who live in a worse situation, I respect them. because I can’t find anything here that’s ready to go. apparte then maybe then after there are the less bad associations that there are the less bad associations that exist who support these guys in their work. but I think these guys who don’t know how to do it right now but they are a bit left lazy true that make the courses many if they are educated that they make courses of Italian that make school

[i] But humanly. but humanly they seem to me a little left to themselves understood then if you can not work during the day okay? what do you do idle for what you see around those with headphones listening to music what do these guys do? I know that with time maybe they can no longer work and then the work there is neither what they do for a living once the period of the association that welcomes you is over. apparte that tends to me humanly should not even exist ok apparte this one but also the second step the associations that welcome and in my opinion are well with the associations because anyway have to eat to dress up have essential things maybe the possibility to do school also who wants to go to university can go in this sense is fine But once the path is over what happens then to these guys those who stay here are left to themselves there’s no continuous line that takes you to work. and after what happens? excuse me once you’re out you’re just the association no longer protects you there is no one What are you doing? if you don’t get a job because there’s no job here anyway. it’s okay who wants to work finds it however comes to pick tomatoes to do these things here But there are many engineers even those who go to do these jobs to work but there is none for everyone this in my opinion right now the situation is very bad better to stay where you are than to leave to try to improve because nothing better for me is so but once you were welcomed, they would give you some solutions and give you the then afterwards it’s clear that you have to roll up your sleeves if you want to work but do you understand that since there is no work, why are they forced to stay here? I don’t understand why they come here they have to stay here. If I get here somewhere but I want to go to America, why can’t I go there? I want to leave it seems to me that I can not leave on this I find that it is a human right is legitimate If I don’t want to be in one place, I can’t leave. Why does it force me to stay in Europe or in Italy maybe if I don’t want to stay there anymore? can I leave or not? Maybe I have a relative there maybe I find work. I don’t agree with that, okay?

[i] Thank you very much