I spent the night outside the Donner Pass town of Truckee. After 12 days on the California coast, it was surprising to see there was still plenty of snow in late June. I took the sharp right north on I-80 into Nevada—past Reno, Fernley, and landed in God-forsaken Winnemucca, where I stayed in one of the hemisphere’s ugliest RV parks. After dinner at possibly the greasiest Mexican restaurant ever, I walked through downtown, which had the saddest little strip of casinos in the (...)
An Afghan refugee journalist looks for work in Italy
Commentary on stereotyping by M.Amin Wahidi
Saturday 13 September 2008, by
editorial assistance by Caitlin Quigley
Since discovering that I have been allowed to work, I repeat the same sentence in my broken Italian when I enter employment agencies in the city: “Buon giorno, singora/ signore, mi chiamo Amin e sto cercando lavoro, volevo chiederela se c’e un lavoro qui?” (Good morning sir/madam, my name is Amin and I’m looking for work, are there any jobs available?
Upon hearing my Italian, the first question they ask is where I am from. Usually I surprise them when I say “sono Afghano”(I am Afghan), which makes them even more curious. Perhaps they wonder what kind of an Afghan I am without a beard and a turban. They have known my people only by these characteristics.
The employment agencies read over my CV, then look at me and then nod their heads: “Mmmm, vediamo cosa possiamo fare, ci sentiamo fra pochi giorni”. (We’ll see what we can do; we’ll get back to you in a few days.)
Although I know some of the agencies do not offer jobs to foreigners, most of them ask me to return in September, after the summer holidays, and I say; “ Va bene, ci sentiamo dopo, grazie arrivederci.” (Okay, talk to you later, thank you very much.)
These days, when I receive calls from unknown numbers, I assume it must be from one of the agencies. I answer with “Pronto?” instead of “Hello?” to show them that I speak Italian.
Sometimes my friends tease me. They call from unknown numbers, pretending to be from an employment agency, and ask me to come to work tomorrow, but soon I recognize their voices and their accents and we burst out laughing.
Because now I have to practice my Italian more and more, I write you the last sentence in Italian: "quando avrò qualcosa nuova, metterò qui per I lettori di questo blog, ci sentiamo dopo, ma sperò che sara una buona novita subito!" (When I have something new, I will post it here for my readers, talk to you later , I hope to have good news soon!)
Hazara filmmaker and blogger in exile (Milan – Italy)