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Spotlight | Line by line
October 08, 2021

TOYBA TAKING OVER

It's been a year since our last visit to Toyba and Wassie's home in Malo, and nearly two years since their arrival in December 2019.

The group of volunteers and the family are strong, together overcoming two lockdowns and coming out great.
Everything is going well, the children go to school, Toyba and Wassie have jobs, which is the fundamental step towards the achievement of independence, and quite a big accomplishment.

 

 

Toyba works in a local company "la giardiniera di Morgan", which produces various kinds of potted vegetable mix, sold in gourmet shops throughout Italy, with a policy of job placement of people from different countries, with particular attention to respect for human and labor rights.
Wassie is licensed to drive forklifts and works in a company that makes car mats.

Their jobs represent already a great success, but in my opinion the evolution of Toyba's personal path is even more so, because achieving autonomy does not only mean having a salary, especially for a woman.

 

 

A year ago Toyba, apart from never speaking even though she knew Italian better than her husband, did not even enter the same room if she was not invited by him to do so. Wassie is not a bad husband for this, nor Toyba a humble wife, they are a man and a woman who grew up in a society that imposes certain models, from which it is very difficult to distance themselves.
During this last interview, however, Toyba not only participated in the chat with us, answering our questions without shying away, but at a certain point, when we thought we had finished, she asked for the floor: “I would like to say one more thing”. We all fell silent and Toyba started talking. She wanted to thank the volunteers who helped them so much, who never left them alone, who were an indispensable support for them and still are.

It was a big step! It should not be underestimated. Toyba is taking the reins of her life and that of the family, she is no longer the wife who does not dare to enter the room, she is freeing herself from that role and from Wassie as a result.

So far the Malo welcome path can be considered a success, for several factors: the type of family welcomed (the characters, the family history), the territory offers many more possibilities than others, not least the work done by the territorial Caritas, and above all the group of volunteers who revolve around it, who have made a remarkable journey of preparation to be able to welcome the family in the best possible way and to be able to accompany it towards autonomy.
Through working with them we have been able to deepen the theme of the “cultural clash”, as the conflict that occurs between two cultures is defined when they find themselves supporting opposite positions or behaviors on particular issues.

 

 

We have found many of these types of conflicts in the reception areas, both in the corridors and in other types, small and not so small conflicts, many that can be resolved quickly, others more complex.
It is a very interesting phenomenon to study and observe, and must be faced with preparation, delicacy and never, in our opinion, underestimated.

A year ago Father Rey - a Mexican missionary, working in support of Caritas of Vicenza - in a long interview, had explained very well some evident examples of cultural clash, highlighting how it is necessary to know and understand the culture of the “other”, from whatever origin.

One of the clearest examples of cultural clash is, in fact, in our looking at the man-woman relationship.
In many couples, even young ones, even educated ones, there is always a tendency on the part of the woman, more or less evident, to put herself in the background, especially in the presence of her husband. We also noticed it in Nonantola, - although both Tekle and Welde are two very open spouses, very intelligent and the first to wish for Helen to Senait talk, leave the house, lead her life, - the two of them are always a little on the margins, a sort of reverence, daughter of the culture in which they grew up.

 

 

This behavior, to "Western" eyes can arouse annoyance, with the risk of pointing it out and judging it immediately as derived from a "macho and authoritarian" culture and condemning it.
The speech is much more delicate and complex, it takes time, patience and we must accompany, not impose.

 

 

Text by Marida Augusto

Photos by Marida Augusto and Max Hirzel

 

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