[i] Hello [name] .

[r] Hello.

[i] How are you?

[r] Good?

[i] Could you tell us who [name] is?

[r] [name] is a guy from Gambia and 2014 who is in Italy.

[i] And since when are you in Italy what have you managed to do, let’s say from 2014 to now?

[r] I’ve done a few things, from before when I arrived I enrolled in school I took the third grade. And after that I did a cooking class, and after that I did an internship at a diner for a few months. And after that I started to work somewhere else on a project that you can find at the market of Porta Palazzo. There are the refugee asylum seekers if they are busy recovering the unsold and help the undifferentiated collection.

I’ve seen it, it’s a nice project, I’ve seen some boys who voluntarily offer their help. Can we say then that you are a refugee?

[r] Yes.

[i] How did you get to Italy?

[r] I came to Italy from Libya.

[i] With the embarkations?

[r] Yes.

[i] And how was the trip as you faced it?

[r] As we all know, it’s a terrible trip because it’s never easy to make that trip. From the beginning of when you leave your country of origin you go as far as Libya the country that we all know is in danger. So to pass through there or to stay there is not a faccile thing in the sense that every day you can die or live.

[i] Of course. What made you take this dangerous journey where you risk your life?

[r] There are so many reasons why I took this trip I’d rather not go into details.

[i] Yes, of course we can understand that whatever the reason, it will be very hard and difficult. Because facing the sea with what we know can happen in the middle of the sea, one plays one’s life with it. And when you first arrived here in Italy how did you find this country this reality?

[r] The first months were difficult because living in a new community where you don’t understand the language well you don’t understand the culture well. You always feel different from other Italian citizens. But you always have to try to adjust yourself according to the environment where you live. And I did the same thing and now I feel good.

[i] Did you have problems integrating and having a good quiet integration?

[r] A little yes, in general I think that all of us immigrants who have come here have had some problems integrating. But it also depends on the willingness of the immigrant if he wants to integrate I just have to take the right path to integrate.

[i] certainly a serious commitment on the part of those who come here is enough. And what were you expecting from the Italians when you came here?

[r] I thought before to be regular and to have a job. And from there slowly if things change it’s not that all the good things come automatically but with time.

[i] Of course. And since when you were here in Italy, have you managed to return to your country of origin?

[r] No, I couldn’t get back. It’s been almost 5 years without coming back, but I hope to come back soon.

[i] Let’s hope so. Do you still have your family down in the village in Gambia?

[r] Yes, my mother, my little sister and my brothers. I’m sorry that my father isn’t there anymore, he passed away two years ago.

[i] So another pain is losing a parent and not being able to give her last farewell.

[r] That’s exactly why it happened when I didn’t have the documents on me yet. And how was this news as you experienced this pain?

[r] These have been very difficult days to pass. Like all of us who lose a father or a mother, we all go through the same pain.

[i] Yes, but in the sense that you suffer without being able to reach your family. Give your mother a hug to console her and also console yourself.

[r] All I’ve managed to do is call her and send her condolences and convince her to be well.

[i] Sure.

[r] Because at that moment it was only what I could do.

[i] And did you manage to preserve the culture of your Gambian country and how do you live it in your daily life?

[r] I can say yes, but yes as I live in another community with another culture I have to adapt to this culture of my new community. Here the culture goes with your …

[i] Your environment where he lives.

[r] Where he lives exactly. Because many of us are Muslims so culture is a bit mixed with Islamic culture. And here you see that many are Christians so Christian culture.

[i] Of course.

[r] But the differences are not so many so one tries to be a little flexible.

[i] Find a common point, let’s say.

R] Exactly.

[i] Just respect the cultures of others while preserving yours.

[r] The most important is to respect the cultures of others.

[i] Sure. For example, at home what do you eat? Is your food African or Italian or how?

[r] I do mixed because sometimes I eat Italian and other African. Because I have already done the Italian cooking course and I know how to cook Italian. And because until now I work in a restaurant for a few days and yesterday I worked all day. However, I know how to cook Italian dishes and also those of my country.

[i] And what dish have you learned quickly and that you like best to cook and also eat it?

[r] Let’s say pasta because it’s the common food in Italy. Almost everyone eats it and it’s also easy to prepare so it’s the first dish I’ve learned to make.

i] Have you managed to make your culture known, let’s say your food to the Italians?

[R] Yes, I do, even friends of my team where I play I sometimes invite friends from work to my house, to eat food from my country “Domoda” “il chepche” and he likes them very much. And every now and then they call me and say: “We’ll do the shopping and we’ll come to your house and cook food from your country and we’ll eat together because it was good the other time”. And that I didn’t have much time to stay at home and eat with them so we organize it when we can.

[i] Sure. So let’s say that you managed to make friends with the Italians. You also managed to fit well into your work with your colleagues do not have problems and do not feel isolated?

[r] No, because when we started that project I told you before I was one of the first people to get there two years ago and I’m still with them. And I will also say that I am the only one who is still there so far among those who arrived with me. and all those who arrived with me first are gone. Because the project started as a volunteer so some people needed to work for a living but so did I. But I always looked for a way to be with them and help them. To date I don’t volunteer with them but I have a work contract thanks to them. Because now the project is set up so I continue to do it with them but as a job.

i] And when you did this volunteer work how did you feel about helping your neighbor?

[r] It was a job that was part of my integration. because the job I do is to help the Italian community especially those who come to collect the food that we recover. They are Italian and also foreigners. And even from there I had the opportunity to meet other people I feel useful to help other people. Even if I don’t have much to give I try to give my time and my energy so I feel very useful and so I continued to do.

i] Feel you are doing good things as a good citizen regardless of whether you are Italian or not.

[r] Because when I started I went to a certain point and I said look at me I can something even if I am an asylum seeker and an immigrant. when the project started I went to them it is a good project. Because it helps people it helps the environment because the food we recover 90% of that food ended up with waste. So when we arrived every day we save a lot of food about 200 thousand fruits and vegetables.

[i] It’s a lot.

[r] It’s stuff that was still good to eat so we give it to people who need it.

[i] And you [name] as an immigrant and refugee as you see this mass of immigration these guys who come with boarding as you see this thing? What can you recommend to these guys?

[r] It’s not easy because, as we all know, there are still many young people in Libya and in the neighbouring countries who want to come to Europe. This trip is not an easy one. The advice I can give is to look for a way to be in our country and do what we can do would be very important. Because to make this journey I see many young people who have lost their lives in the middle of the sea. It’s always a shame to see these people like that. maybe some people didn’t dream of coming here risking their lives in the middle of the sea. Maybe they think that if they arrive in Europe they will find a better life. But even in Europe now it’s not as we used to say. Because even here now there are many poor people who suffer to move forward. But even when we arrive here it is sometimes difficult to integrate. because it is not easy to find work it is not easy to be well.

[i] Of course it’s hard anyway.

[R] It’s hard anyway. The whole process is not easy even if you have to be very patient, for example in Italy you have to wait two years to do the first commission.

[i] How do you live in these two years? How do you survive if you don’t have any documents and you don’t have a job?

[r] In fact that is almost the hardest moment of your life, for me it seemed to be the two hardest years of my life. Because sitting at home all the time because I was in school only two hours a day and not all week but only twice. A maximum of three hours a week for two hours. And the rest of the time I spent at home or around because I am out of work. You spend all your time in the park or around because you can’t spend two years at home. So you go around the streets at the risk of doing things that are not legal. Because when you go to sit there in the park you see other people doing non-legal things maybe one day they ask you to do it.

[i] Because you can’t see hope, you don’t have a job, you don’t have anything to live on.

[r] Because even if you want to study in these two years you can’t. because there are courses that if you don’t have the regular documents you can’t do them.

[i] You always feel that there is an obstacle between you and your dream that you realize.

[r] That’s right, both work and studies are always obstacles to achieving them.

[i] [name] What dreams do you have for the future what are your goals?

[r] My goals as a young boy are many. The first goal is to study well and then see what life brings us. But I always dream of being well and being with my family. Maybe when I get to a good point with my studies I will think about going back to my country. It can also be because to have true happiness one cannot have it in the country of others all want to be happy in their country of origin. But if you see one who leaves the country of origin to be an immigrant in another country a reason that the push there will be. I will feel happier in my country of origin. Because there every day you see family friends I see all those who grew up with me. and so I find there the true happiness. In Italy I feel good, let’s say I’m not sick but….

[i] You always lack something.

[r] You always feel like you’re missing something.

[i] You feel uncompleted.

[[r] Yes, it is.

[i] I wish you a good future and wish you many good things. And I thank you for answering my questions.

[r] Thank you very much.