Said was speaking to Michele Trabucco for Scarp de’ tenis
I miss my family and my country. Scarp is all I have.
My name is Said, I was born in Morocco, and I am 45 years old. I have 15 brothers. When I tell this to an Italian, he opens his eyes and mouth in amazement, but where I come from, this is almost the norm.
I came to Italy in 2000 when my sister, who was already living in Vicenza [in northeastern Italy], had found me a job loading and unloading goods at [textile manufacturer] Marzotto. I was there for three years. It was a secure job, and I liked it, and I was also close to my sisters; it was a little like being at home.
Then the contract ended, and I was out of work. I returned to Morocco to get married and then back to Italy to work. One of my sisters helped me find a job this time too, with her husband’s employer, and I stayed there until 2007. After a few ups and downs, we weren’t getting along very well anymore, and so I left like a lone wolf.
I’m lucky. I never get sick, I have a cheerful, playful personality, I always try to be confident, and I know how to get by.
I did some work in Bologna, then Morocco, then back to Italy where I settled in Venice. In short, I began my experience as a vagabond. Work became more sporadic and infrequent. Even my marriage ended; it didn’t work out, maybe because of too much distance, maybe because of too many, differences. I feel so far away from my Morocco, so far away from my sisters, and so far away from my close friends who have now gone to other countries.
But I’m lucky. I never get sick, I have a cheerful, playful personality, I always try to be confident, and I know how to get by. Here in Venice, I worked for a few years as a cook, a type of work that I really like, and now I sell Scarp de’ tenis.
I’d like to start a family again and set up a good home. After so many years, I feel more Italian than Moroccan, but being homeless and out of work is more complicated. Here too, what woman would marry a man without a home and a job? See? Italy and Morocco are not so different.
With the help of some volunteers, I’m looking for a house to share with others so that, once I have a place of residence, I can find a new job as an assistant cook, with a contract and security, because all this wandering causes you to lose your roots.
INSP publishes an international vendor story every week. Come back next Wednesday to read another story from one of the thousands of inspirational men and women who sell street papers.
Translated from Italian to English by Barbara L Pavlik / Translators Without Borders