[:en]From Albania to L’Aquila: ”My future is here, at the beginning I slept in the bus”[:]


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[:en]Twenty-six years ago, Italy seen from Albania had to look like America for Italians who had been emigrating since the end of the nineteenth century: a paradise in which to find their fortune and start a new life. This was also the case of Bedri Mahmutaj, better known in L'Aquila, Italy, as Pedro, who spent the last twenty-six years of his life in the city, starting to work as a bricklayer, then entering the restaurant world and succeeding, after many sacrifices, to start his restaurant in the village of Coppito in 2005. A story perhaps similar to that of many emigrants who leave their country in search of a better future but who clash with the difficulties dictated by the different language, the work that is not so easy to find and to obtain, in the meantime, a place to sleep. "In the first three months in Italy I slept in an abandoned coach, along with other compatriots - tells Pedro to Abruzzoweb ​​- I'm not ashamed to say it, in fact, I'm proud of it. We helped each other to keep going. We lived the day, with the jobs that gave us some acquaintance ". He learned the trade, then, as a restaurateur, working for many years in a well-known local in the area, ending up getting passionate and then starting his company, then get involved, face the risks related to a business. And in the end, Pedro not even the 2009 Aquila earthquake managed to stop him, as the few damages he suffered allowed him to reopen and return to work in a short time. "It was difficult to find space as in all sectors, then with the commitment and sacrifices we managed to create a company where a dozen people work today, including me and my wife - Pedro proudly says - in a city where I am very close and in which I spent most of my life ". "My wife is Albanian like me, but our children were born and raised in Italy and are Italian to all intents and purposes - he adds - and as their many children of our compatriots were born and raised in this country. To spread our culture and our traditions and carry on an increasingly effective exchange we founded an association called Shqiponjia, which in Albanian means Eagle ". An Italian-Albanian association, of which Pedro is president, which welcomes families made up of Albanian parents and entirely Italian children. Nazir Dakaj, foreign advisor to the municipality of L'Aquila, is the vice president, Vito Colonna, municipal councilor of Forza Italia is the secretary and the army colonel Michele Longo instead deals with communication and relations with the media. "Promoting integration, bringing Albanian culture closer to Italian culture. This is our purpose - explains the entrepreneur - We will celebrate the recurrence of the Albanian independence a few days later than the official date of 28 November. The event was organized for December 10 next to the Arcobaleno sports center, on the Mausonia street in L'Aquila and for the first time will be attended by a representative of the Albanian government, the Albanian Diaspora minister Pandeli Majko, in addition to the Albanian ambassador in Italy, the senator Stefania Pezzopane, the deputy Fabrizio Di Stefano, the mayor of L'Aquila Pierluigi Biondi, the councilor for culture Sabrina Di Cosimo, numerous mayors of the municipalities of the territory of L'Aquila ". A particular event, between typical songs and traditional dishes, which recalls Albanian natives from all over the peninsula: in Puglia, Calabria and Molise, for example, there are even communities that have moved to Italy since 1400. "It is important to maintain the link with own culture and land. It would be nice, someday, if our children learn their language at school, which they now unfortunately know but do not have since they were born here. Although I now feel like a full-fledged eagle. I come back to Albania a couple of times a year, but I can say that my life is here, my future is here ", he concludes. Freely translated and reproduced by AbruzzoWeb[:]

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