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When moving abroad is not a choice

Many people don’t choose to live an international life: moving abroad isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. In order to survive, to earn some money or to reconnect with the family some people are forced to adapt to a new world, which is not always so welcoming. Moussa’s story tells us this and much more…

Your name, age, nationality, where are you from? Where do you live now? Which is your current occupation?

I’m Moussa, 28 years old. I’m from Mombasa, Kenya and now I live in Bergamo, Italy. I work as an express-courier.

Why did you decide to leave your country?

I left Kenya to join my family: my dad was already living in Italy.

Why did you choose Italy?

I couldn’t decide, I had to come here.

How is your life in Italy?

I have to get up early in the morning because I distribute milk and fresh food to cafes and supermarkets; usuallyI have to start around 3 am, until 10, sometimes 11 am.

Life has never been easy because I have no guarantees about my job and some weeks I work only for a few days, also the pay is not that much… I’m quite grateful though, as my father manages to take care of me financially.

My social life is not so full: I’m not much talkative, but I like reggae music and I got somefriends, both Italian and African, with whom I go to reggae sessions or festivals.

How is living in Italy different than living in your country?

Sometimes with my friends we discuss about the fact of being strangers in a foreign country. Most of us are from Africa, but not from the same country, but living in Europe makes us see the big differences between life in our continent and European life.

I think that the most important difference is that here it’s really hard to mingle with the locals: when I arrived in Italy, I didn’t know anyone and had to realize that most Italians are social only after knowing you well. Definitely not the best attitude to meet new people. In Kenya social life is completely different: people are talkative, mostly if they’ve never met you before; Kenyans are used to tourists and like to discover new countries and cultures.

Which is the biggest challenge of moving to a new country? Have you had any regrets so far? What do you miss the most?

The biggest challenge is to adapt yourself at the rhythm of the society you are moving to: it’s not so easy to meet people, to find a job and to be independent; but moving to a new country is a great experience ‘cause you have to restart from zero.

I’ve not regrets, but of course I miss my homeland.

What does Europe mean for you? Do you perceive the existence of Europe as a community?

Europe exists, that’s geographically and financially evident. But I don’t feel that European identity is something real, as countries are completely different one from each other and natioanl languages are the most striking evidence: if you travel around Europe, you can listen a huge variety of strange sounds!

Italy & Kenya. Use three words to describe each of the previous.

Kenya: nature (mountains and animals), Swahili (mother language), Masai (the guardians)

Italy: social, mafia e pasta …:)

What would you say to someone to convince him to move abroad? What’s the best thing you’ve got/you’ve learnt by your experience abroad?

I don’t think that I will convince someone to move to Italy for living, maybe just for tourism; but travelling is important: you can discover a new world and that’s always a great experience!

Africa, Bergamo, Europe, European, featured, kenya, migrant, mombasa

Sara Ferrari

Nata e cresciuta nelle valli bergamasche a fine anni 80, con una gran voglia di viaggiare, ma poca possibilità di farlo, ho cercato il modo di incontrare il mondo anche stando a casa mia. La mia grande passione per la letteratura, mi ha insegnato che ci sono viaggi che si possono percorrere anche attraverso gli occhi e le parole degli altri; in Pequod faccio sì che anche voi possiate incontrare i mille volti che popolano la mia piccola multietnica realtà, intervistandoli per internazionale. Nel frattempo cerco di laurearmi in filosofia, cucino aperitivi e stuzzichini serali in un bar e coltivo un matrimonio interrazziale con uno splendido senegalese.

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