Today on Pequod, we’ll tell you something about Bamba Dieye, a Senegalese arrived 17 years ago in Italy. He lives and works in Carrara, Tuscany, but his heart beats only for Senegal, the land of Teranga. However, he totally agrees to share his ideals and thoughts with all of us.
Hello Bamba, could you introduce yourself to Pequod’s readers?
Hi, my name is Bamba Dieye, I’m 38 years old and I come from Senegal. I was born in Dakar. Then, in 1998, I moved to Italy. Since then, I live and work in Carrara, where I own my business and I am a beekeeper.
Why did you decide to leave your country?
I decided to leave Senegal mainly for a childhood dream: I was attracted from Europe, from the idea of Europe. I wanted to grab the opportunity to change my life. At first I moved to France, for family ties. My sisters lived there. But I didn’t like France, so, almost by accident, I moved to Italy. Italy was not a choice, but a fortuity.
What’s your life like in Italy?
As I said earlier, in Carrara I work as a beekeeper and I have my own company of import of organic products. I also work at the computer, on our website, and I go to meetings with the customers. Moreover, I spend much of my free time at the association Culture Migranti, which is one of the few realities for immigrants run by immigrants in Italy. We try to be helpful for those people who are facing difficult situations in a new country – situations that each of us has experienced in the past. However, I have a lot friends outside the workplace and the association, but in Carrara there is not much to do. The historic center has suffered a sharp decline: cultural heritage is neglected, there’s a strong pollution, which creates environmental problems and damages to marble, which is famous all over the world.
I wish my city was better, it could be better! But there’s no cinema, no theatre… The city is simply careless.
How is living in Italy different than living in your country?
Unfortunately, I have no terms of comparison. In Senegal my life was not bad, I left for a youthful dream, not for need. I came to Italy, I created my own job, my profession. I like my life as it is.
Which is , for you, the biggest challenge of moving to a new country? Have you had any regrets so far?
The biggest challenge was definitely the language barrier: at the beginning, it was difficult to deal with the others, the reception system isn’t efficient. For immigrants there is no effective aid, they don’t make your life easy, nobody tells what to do and how to success in being integrated. Those arriving in Italy uninformed are excluded, almost ghettoized. There are so many difficulties.
My regret is to be away from my family, away from my loved ones and my affections. Perhaps, I regret the fact that I’ve not created this work and this life in my country, too.
Often it seems to me that in Italy merit is not taken into account. They don’t take regards to the efforts of people. I feel a gap between immigrants and the others, I have to run after my rights!
Italy, your country and Europe. What do they mean for you?
Senegal is the land of Teranga, which means hospitality. In its own history Senegal didn’t have war! It is a secular State, and there are not religious issues.
On the contrary, Italy is like “Toyland”. Young people are anesthetized, while old men and ladies suffer from something that might be defined “politics of fear”.
At last, in my opinion Europe is supposed to be a response to the American and Asian imperialism, but it fails to be like that.
What would you say to someone to convince him to move abroad?
I would say to an African to leave his country to improve his life, to live well considering both the economic aspect and the social one. Also, to live to the fullest his family and his loved ones.
However, I do not recommend Italy. There’s no help for migrants. You can’t live well in a country if you don’t know the language and in Italy institutions are distant from the problems of migrants. They do not attempt in any way to facilitate your arrival in the country. Instead, I suggest Nordic countries. There the government and the institutions direct you to possibilities of a better life. They help you to try to achieve a comfortable life.
Instead, I say to young Italians to stay in their country, I tell them to fight for their country. Italians must give a strong response on the political level and on the social level. They must stick together for the love of their country!