[i] Good morning [name]

[r] Good morning.

[i] How would you get by if I asked you the question who you are?

[r] Well how would I describe myself? today I describe myself as a lady already in old commas and who is here in Italy for years praying who has spent more time in Italy than in my country of origin and Somalia I describe myself as a quiet person serene satisfied with his own existence than who has managed to end in life in short I am a grandmother a mother realized both as a mother and as a wife as well as a grandmother and so I’m happy in short the only regret I can have and what my country continues to be at peace. and therefore my idea for which I came and that you will be back in a few years no if it is realizing in short because Somalia continues to be a country still no more at war but no more at peace.

[i] And why did you come to Italy?

[r] I came to Italy in 1972 because we had military dictatorship and obviously when you are a young girl of 18 /19 years old you don’t want to be under a dictatorship no and dreams of living in a free country and dreams of achieving many things and you are tight so a country in here your freedom is seriously endangered so I decided to leave the country to come here to complete my university studies on the one hand. to do the university the thing that in Somalia I would have done the faculty who said the regime instead I did not want to do that compulsory path and hoping that in fact within 4/5 years of university the situation would improve to be able to return to my country and instead I’m still here because no if it is made all this so I stopped and I did the university here and then always saying then we will work a few years and in time I finished college, and I met an Italian boy we said we will finish college both study and then we go back to Somalia his dream was to go also do the doctor in Somalia but in the end no if it is realized all this in that direction at least.

[i] Well, so you studied here in Italy you finished and then you started your path as an active citizen which experiences have made you grow culturally socially in this case in this city Turin and maybe even in your country of origin what have you brought with you that have made you do the path you have done today and what are the steps?

I was only 19 years old when I arrived here, so I had a lot of paths and social commitment rather than I had absolutely not led my life as a girl of that age there in the sense that it’s fine with us if it grows very early and I didn’t come from a rich family so I had to roll up my sleeves when I was a child so I already at the age of the end of the third year at 14 I started working at Fiat and then my world. was limited to my work Fiat and study because I in time I continued to study I did high school studying privately and then I already had enough to do and then the distino wanted me to be orphaned soon so at 17 years I found myself alone in the world so all the more reason that I had to get up my sleeves and think of myself first and foremost for those when I came here in Italy and I must say that precisely my goal was to study work to create a future. And they were years in those years in Italy obviously do not look for immigrants do not look for foreign people if not that if they could count on the fingertips of a hand to new building for example where I was doing the university I was the only foreign person of color as if he says no colored black I say no look for others and then …But with this it was a peaceful and serene environment and I made several friends even if in some ways I was still very adult of my university friends because precisely having grown up by force of things and soon I had the opportunity to make friends with friends and study and I must say that I was lucky to meet on my way who helped me in the first steps here in Italy a priest who by the way died a month ago and a priest who he was a very enlightened person well ahead of the Italian reality because if he dedicated 50 / 60 years ago to the integration and integration of young people in that era italo_somali put us who came here in Italy children of the former colonies in short and then he helped them to integrate into this country so I was my first base of support helped me a lot and I must say that helped me not only from the logistical point of view but also as a personal growth, because he was a very intelligent man was far ahead of the normality of those times even if I must say that in those times many priest workers employed at that time in Turin we are talking about the period of also the bishop of Turin Michele Pellegrino were those priests so-called priest workers and so he helped me a lot also gave me the strength also made me understand some things that I had never thought of with respect to the female participation in the path as a girl to walk alone with my legs I was a girl who in that era I was beautiful and had proposals to go on a trip that I know as a model wearer … And he had told me he had helped me understand that all things considered in short, it made no sense to say using my body to sell products and so I must say that from this man I learned many things and also I learned the social empowerment so I started to accompany him as regards the things about immigration that did not exist at that time but still to open my eyes respectfully to our situation I have always worked I have always worked I have continued to work I worked in a company of import and export and then for many years I have thought of my cabbages as you say to my family in time I got married and I had precisely two children but then I started a little ‘to… also because, all in all, this great need for social commitment I respect the things that might interest me there is no need and I always found it well insirita good I had Italian friends I had friends from Somaglia because at that time there were few Somalis and a few foreign students a few foreigners who attended the univirity and there were mainly students in the faculty of medicine genius architecture from the Middle East from Africa from Latin America and we all knew a little ‘with some of them I remained a friend now most of them are immigrants elsewhere in short and then on my way to a certain point but a little ‘that the situation in Somalia did not improve a little’ that immigration was increasing we are now talking about the mid-80s after about 10 years that I was here there began to be a little ‘immigration a little’ more massive there is if he realized that the Italai was not absolutely prepared for this i.e. he had no experience he had no regulations he had no laws he went ahead by trial and error even for any estitution that you went if you needed to make documents for things it was said “but let’s see now let’s do this..”there was nothing so much that in fact the first regulations that were implemented here in Italy are precisely in the late 80’s so in 1986 we are talking about the first core of something that began to consider foreigners as a presage that began to exist and there that I then began with some other foreigners to deal with these things and say gentlemen looked at that issue is beginning to become a little more ‘consistent we are no longer 4 cats of foreigners here for study but there are beginning to be immigrants here to work and then we must at some point provide us with some tools because there are people who do not know how to speak the language who need to be integrated there need to be documents there need to be things and so we started to deal with this and among other things then the issue of women was also a question among other things a bit ‘important because in all this again did not consider the presence of women because it seemed that only existed male immigrants then the same laws the same standards programs projects concerned with the reception of men centi d’accologlienza for men training courses for men and women women instead were closed in the houses to make domestic helpers for Italian families could not be seen around no one realized that women were more numerous than men had arrived before the men because the immigration of women then in Italy since the beginning of the 60’s are all things that rarely and few who know that the first immigrants were women from Eritrea from Somalia by Fellippine because Italian families began to need someone to take care of their families because even Italian women began to go to work outside and then they needed this but for all this face of half of the immigration no one realized it and no one did anything so we thought a bit of women who were here we said forese It would be worthwhile to start thinking about this instead and in this I must say that we found a bank who supported us who listened to us and listened to us in the women’s homes of women to whom we said sorry were the years when we also talked about development aid a little like now Salvini does let’s help them at home but at the time force was a little less instrumented so if he said development aid development aid we help developing countries to escape and we made a very simple speech we said look at the fact that now maybe the third world you have here you do not need to go and look for it down there i.e. you have here maybe it is the case that you do two things together here people who you have maybe in your homes working for you met him every day on the but with which you do not even exchange two words perhaps it would be worthwhile to start thinking about this and so began a little this path and we proposed to open an intercultural center of women in which women began to think a little between them to think a little about what it meant this thing of this Italy that was changing to do a truly intercultural project, the word intercultural at the time did not even exist and so we began to coin a series of words precisely because there was everything new for Italians no one had ever thought about enough probably before and then from there that began a little then my path my commitment I must say more consistent than these things because precisely at that point there we opened then when we opened the intercultural center I in time at that point I had left the company for which I worked and I began to engage just as a job as a commitment so full time in this in short

[i] So many things have been and what were the first actions and especially the first projects of this center you were talking about? Does it have a name? And what were the birth rates at the beginning as it gradually grew? but what were the first projects at the beginning and what is the name of this center if it has a name?

[R] So this center is called intercultural center of women Hmamamatter that was opened in 93 women who had thought of it when the Martelli law that gave the possibility to do projects and actions of integration gave us the opportunity to open this center and financing the opening of this space and there precisely we have involved a lot of people that is the women who had previously thought of this we were women who come from Somalia and Morocco … mainly from Somolia from Morocco and Felippine from Nigeria from Zaiere from the Ivory Coast we had made this nucleus of women that we thought to propose this space and then the Italian women and opening this center that was supposed to be a place where we could on the one hand do an activity of the kind intercultural with citizenship involving citizenship but on the other hand offer opportunities for work and make projects that could beat the stereotype of the poor immigrant woman poor who comes here and so it is without art or part of who knows nothing can not read or write in phono we were ourselves the proof that it wasn’t like that we had come here extruded, dressed and worn, we had some things to offer to Italy instead at the city of Turin because it’s true that we wanted to fit in and integrate and we were already fit in and integrated in those years because then in the end I was already from 72 that I was in Turin so they were not two days we were integrated with our families our children worked we had a salary more than dense so in the end we did not win to take away anything indeed if we could ever offer something and we could also offer new ways of communicating that were not precisely those from above to below that is, as an employer who if interface if he relates with his woman of service well yes between people apparently between friends we also refused the very idea of saying we do something for foreigners for foreigners but we say that we fly that Italians do something with foreigners because it is not that you you have to give for the poor people that again we fall into the logic of more welfare type in short, the thing that we do not want and we started then doing information courses the first idea that we had of information course that we invented ex novo because it did not exist was a course of mediation so nobody knew what cultural mediation was, which instead we felt on our skin because we ourselves people like me Maria soad ben khadim and starlin… we were the mediators because when a foreigner comes who doesn’t know the language who doesn’t know what to do who doesn’t know the law and no knows nothing needs someone who accompanies him no that supports him who acts as an interface with the replacement so we one day the friend who tells you accompany me to the police headquarters another time the teacher who tells you there is a child who is Moroccan who his family does not speak Italian could come.. In short, in the end we did this every day almost and without anyone knowing that this was an activity that there was a need for a function that served so we looked around a little ‘around what existed in other countries we put together a course invented this course for cultural mediators and so from there started the intercultural mediation the first course that was done with Jan Marie Ciocia and that with the funding of the province we did the first intercultural course and then we did another as the hammamatter and so on from there because our goal a little ‘our goal was also to include the mediators within this intercultural center that would make the reception … and from there that we could also offer paid services to the institution institutions and not instead always work for everyone for free because then it was this after all we said the dignity of the work we asked that the work that we did every day can be fine once do it twice but in the end one must also recognize that the work must be rightly however is We were paid and so it went on and then we tried to propose to do because immigration from the countries of North Africa had become the most numerous and then we said for example some of our colleagues in Morocco told us why not try to do precisely for example a turkish bath that is an activity not known here can become a source of income work. And so in the center we also proposed the creation of a Turkish bath services to make known the food of our countries so the catering rather than dinner parties … the hammamter are therefore all a series of activities of intercultural types so that they could be a means of exchange with Italian citizenship and Turin.

[i] Perfect. And now let’s get out of this experience a bit and I’d like to ask you another question in this period here how does your day spend your days to date?

[r] So now from a few years I until a few years ago five years ago I was working so I worked first in the private company and then in the social then hammamater and cooperative services …. And then we closed the cooperative and I deal with training so I do training around the issues of inter-culture precisely cultural mediation. And now I try to do it less and less also because in time I became grandmother of fourth grandchildren and then for five years I do not say that I take care of it full time because they still take care of their parents go to kindergarten but still I want to give my grandchildren the opportunity to grow up with their grandmother since I could not do it for my children I would like my children to my grandchildren to make her feel the presence of the grandmother also pass on many things in short and so I’m busy with my grandchildren and a little ‘at home with my chores and then I have always helped my husband and always work with my husband and I have always helped my husband and my son having a big round of administration and I’m an accountant for training I have always worked in administration and then I take care of the administrative aspects of both my husband and my son and then I take care of all accounting and administration I’m above the hair of all this.

And then looking at the past from Somalia and Italy and saying before that maybe now you still have some time to devote and maybe spend with the cultural part of the country of origin to grandchildren as you live today the Somali culture in your family? and starting with food from music or otherwise what can you get as an exchange or transmit today in the family context?

[r] But look I think mainly values values because I still have a lot of things that is the way for example ‘education of children and therefore on the education of grandchildren I have passed many things to my children I have not passed on I have to say sorry this very much I have not passed on the language for example to my children but for a reason very simple because if we consider the fact that I was born in a historical period in which the mother tongue in Somalia the official language was Italian I grew then in those years and I was at school in Italian schools by Italian nuns so my second language must say paradoxically the Somali and not the first and moreover having married then an Italian and I play force that I speak Italian and then I have always to my children spoken in Italian because I was not at my age speaking Somali I spoke Somali until I was seven and then at the age of 7 I was at college until I was 14 and then I learned my mother tongue so I am not at my age speaking in my mother tongue and consequently you can not transmit your feelings in a language that does not belong to you as a mother tongue and then and this my great regret also no, however, because anyway I can not I have never spoken a few words to them paradoxically knows more my husband the Somali of my children because a little ‘for fun a little ‘for other to my husband a little’ I taught him but the everyday language in which you speak to your children and with which you transmit your feelings the affection cuddles them … . This I never did in Somali but I have to say so much in Italian that for example I have always told them the fairy tales of my country that are fairy tales anyway that have a strong cultural connotation in which you precisely transmit the value of the love of gratitude and affection for parents through the fairy tales always have this moral so to them I have always read these stories and many things I have transmitted well just as they were transmitted to me by my parents and with my culture but with a language that unfortunately was not my in short .

[i] I find this thing very beautiful because I often think that the message that passes outside the family context or friendship and that we do or maybe we can not really transmit our culture in a language that was not our mother tongue instead you are showing it having lived it in their own family.

[r] Sure, yes, sure.

[i] And I find it very beautiful and also an example to spread because this message does not get so much around and another question maybe I would like to make you the literal references where you stand more? African Somali texts in Italian or both or where?

r] No only in Italian.

[i] Perfect

[r] For a reason again very simple historical because the Somali was not a written language until 72, the year in which I finished high school so I did all the studies in Italian and not only I did the studies in Italian, but I studied only Italian culture ie I studied no more nor less Italian programs that made our as if you say peers in Italy ie the schools were paro paro from Italy broadcast in Somalia and this until 72, that is, the exact year in which I graduated so that the language was not wax only the oral language I have to say precisely for my misfortune I am an alphabet I speak Somali fluently but no I know how to write now I know how to read it so for example every now and then I go on the internet I look at things I look at the recipes for example and I know how to read them but the Somali language was introduced in schools from 73 to straight perhaps and then a literacy campaign was made … so then I all my references so what I read I like to read my books are all in Italian or English ie I read English fluently I read it I speak, and I also read French if there’s a case, but not Somali.

[i] So, two passages you had the good fortune to live, I would say three moments in Italy when you arrived where very few people of African origin are looking and you lived the moment they arrived when they started to arrive where you too were the protagonist of social inclusion projects and then you are living in this moment where you have grown up children with grandchildren if you had to put these three passages together as you would live in today’s present, and in your opinion Italy in ten fifteen years’ time?

[r] In ten fifteen years if we go on so badly that is if the premises if things will go on according to these premises today I do not see well for Italy that is, I must say that sometimes I use a little ‘this term that we some of us are a little’ the thermometer of this country and it seems to me that Italy at this time has a fever and if not if it cures this fever unfortunately I do not see well. because if at the beginning Italy was unprepared but let’s not say that it was not ignorant in the sense of ignoring ignored the rest of the world of Africa or what is did not know foreigners, look for a few foreigners look for a few, even if those few who are waxing were African and straight in those years and I’m sorry that Italy has this memory so ephemeral Italians Turin in particular in this case has forgotten that they were immigrants when I arrived and witness still look for houses with written on not to rent in the south or the Piedmontese told me in Piedmont “but min pias pi chila che lo è neira; so “I prefer you black people, I like black people more than Naples” so this says a lot to me, maybe I was watching the scenes, it happened to me when I went around later with small children or I when I was a girl I wore Afro hair as Angela Davis so and the boys who were maybe curious touched my hair because they had never seen one with hair like that or when my husband and I went around I happened to hear of the ladies who said “or how cute this negro makes me a little ‘see my daughter has never seen one so small” as if it were a small monkey no I know but I took it as well as a thing I said well poor is not his fault in short I mean but with always a certain curiosity positive. today no, it is not so then we went to the period in which instead if they demonized foreigners but not with Africans everything was horns plague against Moroccans against then Romanians, there have always been waves of immigrants who were those to be demonized as in the fifties and seventies if they demonized the southern now instead of if they demonized Africans and then today I have to say that unfortunately the climate is bad for black immigrants. black I say and I emphasize this word no, because if they use euphemism words of convenience “black color” because the problem is the fact of being black or black so you bother the black person especially bothered anyway today that is poor that is to blame for being poor or bother if it is realized if it is successful because if it is a black who occupies a position of prestige bothered anyway so what should we do? we bury no know.

So, how do you feel today, and what if I can afford your degree of satisfaction? And what would you change today if you should change something of all this?

[r] From a personal point of view I have to say that I am satisfied with my life and with what has passed under the bridges of what I have achieved I am fully satisfied 100/100 I have to say if I have to say from a social, political and cultural Italy is taking steps backwards and I am very sorry, because I am Italian and I have lived in this country for 46 years you will be stupid if I don’t feel Italian and I am sorry so I am even more so and I am sorry above all in the measure that I have no other alternative being from a country where there is peace and quiet I would say that if it is bad here in Italy things if they are getting worse I go back to my country but unfortunately I can not do it. and then anyway it would seem to me a betrayal it would seem to me to throw the towel I would seem to surrender and I am not by character a person who if surrenders I am a person rather tenacious and then I am also sorry but ‘to see that even the same foreigners do not do much if they are surrendered, if they gave up behind their work who has it has others have gone because they have not had what they were looking for so probably have not had the opportunity to fight and the strength to resist and unfortunately instead on the side and unfortunately many Italians now there is not the strength to fight this bad climate that there is against foreigners so I do not see it so well, in my opinion if there is is a little ‘minimizing the question of whether it is minimizing a transcendental racism if it is trying to say but no is not so there are four fools are four …. Not so. I always say history should teach men even in the twenties in the thirties have done so then in Europe but no but they are four faces roses are four crazy and then we saw what happened.

[i] Well, then we get to the end of this interview and then I ask a question from home when you happen to eat something Somali to what dish do you think? What dish do you like best to cook when you want to live in Somalia on that day?

[r] Look at the fact only on Sunday, I had friends my family of friends who were guests here and I made a dish Somali the most famous that we use for when we have guests I made rice Somali with kid, and then if I had to say with the sambus and then we cooked that, and for me the dish on one side of the party but the dish so more who reminds me more of my country.

[i] Thank you.

[r] Thanks to you .