We leave for the U.S. in about ten days. How do I close my blog?
I could easily write pages on multicultural issues in Europe in relation to soccer and the recent World Cup. The French team was the opposite of the Italian team in many ways. Most relevant for me was how the French team, including the now infamous Zidane, represented the new multicultural Europe, while the Italian side looked pretty much the way it looked the last time gli azzurri won the tournament. The Italians may well be the only European team in the mondiale whose players all have European backgrounds. Although Italy had two foreign-born players—Simone Perrotta (England) and Mauro Camoranesi (Argentina)—both had Italian parents.
I could tell you that here in our town, two of the three Moroccan families have left for the summer (Back to Morocco, some say; just across to the larger city of Foggia, say others). D and Z never did get to say goodbye. One family is still here (father, mother, and two school-age daughters who appeared in town on and off over the last four months but who speak next to no Italian and who were not enrolled in school). Word is that they all have tuberculosis and presumably have had some medical care. We were just told this afternoon, by various neighbors, who warned us to stay away from them and not let D play with the girls. We haven’t been able to confirm if it’s true.
Instead, let me finish with a few more details. We took a trip down to Matera (about three hours away) and I met with Dorothy Louise Zinn of the Universita’ degli Studi della Basilicata. She took me to the Associazione Tolba (see my post “HELP FOR ITALIAN IMMIGRANTS”) where I got to see a mostly-privately funded organization that seems to be doing a lot of good work for immigrants in the Matera area. They offer free Italian classes, they help people find work and housing, they assist with paperwork. Further, the actual space is open to immigrants as a hang-out spot. They publish some books and pamphlets of immigrant stories (both of their lives back home and their lives here in Italy) and they have a small library of books in languages other than Italian.
The physical space they offer (they have two such “hang-out spots” in town) are particularly valuable to domestic workers, who often meet up with other domestic workers on their days off (traditionally Thursdays and Sundays). Tolba opens up their community rooms on those days, and, especially in the hottest and coldest months, they get a lot of visitors.
The folks at Tolba also told me that they would be happy to help start a kind of immigrant center here in the area of Alta Irpinia, but that they would need a single person—an Italian, presumably—willing to look into getting space from the province or one of the towns and who would be interested in being an organizer (getting the word out, getting people there, etc.). Tolba said they’d donate books and some general know-how in order to get such a place up and running. What’s too bad is that I don’t think I can think of a person who’d be interested in volunteering to do such a thing. If only we were going to be here longer!
And so it ends. And here I close my own return migration.