Life As Immigrant At The Notorious Pantanella In Via Casilina Rome

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma Novembre 1990 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan, Bangladesh, Africani tra cui (Joel Savage) Panoramica della Pantanella. Rome

As a child growing up in a strongly religious family, I was thought that everything which is opposite to the teachings of the Holy Bible, including laziness is a sin. I tried my best to live a clean life. We were thought to believe that Israel, Jerusalem, and other Biblical countries were all in heaven, without a slight knowledge those countries were on the same earth we are living today.

When I left my family looking for a job, I tried to be sincere and prevented doing anything wrong which could land me in jail. I read that jail changes people’s attitude to be good or worse. But I wasn’t interested to know the positive or negative influences of jail on people. My only interest is never to be there because it’s not the right place for me.

In the year 1990, from Lagos, Nigeria, I made a transit in Rome, on my way to German. In Rome, I was detained at the Fiumicino airport. The Italian immigration regularly does that to many foreigners, especially Africans. Like a tourist, I walked around the airport lounge without a room to sleep and food for three days. On the third, I was really starving, so I approached one of the immigration officials and said to him that I am hungry. He looked at my face and asked me “Am I your father?” Then he walked away.

Without knowing what the officials have in store for me, I handed over an application for asylum as a journalist and it worked, because I have some few publications over my profession on me. On the fourth day, from nowhere came one of the immigration officers, he said to me: “Your application has been accepted, today the police will come to take you to Rome.” I was shocked beyond expression.

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma 31 gennaio 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh. Le forze dell’Ordine sgombrano la Pantanella. Rome, January 31, 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Police evacuate the Pantanella.

 The good Samaritan didn’t only deliver the unexpected message, but he pulled out from his pocket a number of notes and said to me: “I don’t want my colleagues to see me giving you money, buy some food to eat at the airport.” I didn’t take the money. I told him: “This important information you have given to me has taken all the hunger away, thank you.” He walked away with his money.

On the fourth day, the police came, just as the officer told me and took me in a police car to the city, Rome, and left me there to fight for my survival. Without anywhere to sleep, I passed all my nights at the Central Train Station. Among other Africans, we watched a big television screen during the day to forget our misery, then in the night, I go to sleep at my hiding place. The police and the workers at the train station never discovered the place I slept.

After some time, I discovered places where I could eat every day without paying for food. I could take my bath and take some clothes. One of such places was at ‘Via Dandolo.’ Daniela, the head of the Caritas (Charity) at Via Dandolo, was a very good woman, but one of her female workers was a very bad woman. A thief. Since we had no address, our letters passed through the Caritas at Via Dandola and this woman took the opportunity to steal money from our letters.

I caught her twice, so I wasn’t surprised when I lost the 10 pounds a friend sent me from England, but I didn’t tell Daniela about it. Through the Caritas, I had my initial lessons and attended classes to learn the Italian. I was one of the best immigrants who could write and speak the language fluently, yet my life was miserable because I was still sleeping at the train station.

In Rome, I was robbed, admitted and operated at a hospital, but the nurse refused to touch me, because of my color, thus; every morning when on duty, she calls someone to attend to me, but she had time for every Italian patient at the hospital. I was once sitting in the hospital’s garden after the operation, when an Italian old man, one of the patients came close to me, looked at my face and said to me: “Marocchino motaccizoa.” – an insult, after mistakenly taken me as a Moroccan. I didn’t say a word.

Then all of a sudden, as if it was announced on the radio, all the immigrants in Rome, without accommodation, discovered an abandoned Pasta factory called ‘Pantanella.’ Pantanella is notoriously known for all criminal activities, including drug peddling and crime, similar to drug cartel zones of Mexico. One needs strength, courage, heart and braveness to survive at that place. Italians think they are brave, but many of them dare to pass Via Casilina, the street Pantanella is located in the night.

That was the place I lived and worked as a toilet cleaner for thousands of immigrants, using six containers as toilets, to raise money to feed. I was employed by the Muslim head at the place. It’s terrible and frightening to live at Pantenella. It wasn’t a prison, but the place, I think was tough like Alcatraz, because of the criminal activities many illegal immigrants engaged in feeding.

 

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma 31 gennaio 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh. Le forze dell’Ordine sgombrano la Pantanella. Scoppia un incendio durante lo sgombero Rome, January 31, 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Police evacuate the Pantanella.A fire during the evacuation

The abandoned factory accommodated both soft and hardened criminals from various countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Africa etc. I lived in Pantanella for four months, and the Italian government tired of the crimes going on in that abandoned Pasta factory ejected all the foreigners.

But the Italian government did something great for the African immigrants. Something we weren’t expecting. The government paid for two weeks stay in a hotel for all the Africans, with the ultimatum that before the two weeks expired, we should find a place on our own to live.

Through a very good sympathetic woman called Nana, (she died in Rome a few years ago) I got a job as a houseboy to serve one journalist called Claudio Lavazza, working at television station TG2, belonging to the former Italian Prime Minister, Sylvio Berlusconi. He provided me accommodation and paid me well. Besides, he gave me the new version of Fiat Cinque Cento (500) to drive. It may be likely that I was the first black man in the entire Italy to drive the new Fiat Cinque Cento when it freshly came out. I met other journalist friends of Claudio, including Michele Cucuzza.

After three years, I said goodbye to Rome and returned to Africa. I married and returned to Europe once again but this time choosing Amsterdam. ‘Overseas Chronicle: The Rome and Amsterdam Experience’ is a book once started you’ll find it hard to put away, because of the shocking intriguing stories in the book. Find out more of what happened to me in Rome and later in Holland, which led me to detention in Amsterdam.

 

Come sono sopravvissuto come un immigrato nella Pantanella pericoloso può essere letto in: 
Chronicle 3

Overseas Chronicle-The Rome & Amsterdam Experience: One Man’s Encounter as an Illegal Immigrant

 

The struggle of an illegal immigrant in Europe

Author Joel Savage explores the struggles of being an illegal immigrant in Europe in his book, Overseas Chronicle: The Rome and Amsterdam Experience. In his third memoir, Savage documents his travels from Rome to Amsterdam.

Author Joel Savage explores the struggles of being an illegal immigrant in Europe in his book, Overseas Chronicle: The Rome and Amsterdam Experience. In his third memoir, Savage documents his travels from Rome to Amsterdam.

Surviving encounters with the Mafia and sleeping in abandoned factories, including Pantanella, and the central train station in Rome, Savage decided to move camp to Amsterdam, hoping for a better life. Instead, he realized the hard immigration policies and liberal abuse of drugs and alcohol  had taken a toll on the immigrants in Amsterdam and he wanted no part of it.

Hoping to obtain documentation to rid him of his immigrant status, Savage ended up in many difficult situations, one of which included being arrested and put behind bars. In this passionately written book, the reader gains insight into the pain and agony of being an outsider stuck in a foreign country when all one wants is to be a part of it. Joel Savage’s novel is a must‐read for those hungry for a cultural experience.

Savage was born in Ghana before becoming a citizen of Sierra Leone. His father influenced him at an early age to pursue journalism, and since then he has written for numerous newspapers in Ghana and Belgium.

He currently lives in Belgium with his wife and three children. He freelances for newspapers, magazines, and television and is a member of the Flemish Journalism Association in Belgium.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013SLNWFC

Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man is homeless.

 

Life is very tough

A homeless woman, God only knows how she feels

In the Bible, Jesus spoke in parables, using stories and illustrations to speak to his followers. He once said, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” His teachings and parables may be rejected by non-believers or atheists, yet his teachings reflect on our lives today.

Do you know that in 2005, a global survey by the United Nations, estimated over 100 million people were homeless worldwide and as many as 1 billion people lacked adequate housing?  In Europe alone, there are 3 million homeless people, while Columbia registers 9.5 million and 24.4 million in Nigeria. There are also hundreds of homeless people in Canada, Australia and the United States of America.

There are certain factors contributing to homelessness. Physical disabilities, depression, mental illness, drug abuse, broken homes, domestic problems and lack of employment, are some of the causes leading to homelessness. At times one may be free from the mentioned problems, but certain factors can push someone to live on the street.

That’s my story. As illegal immigrant in Europe, trying to survive, I slept at rough places in Rome, including the central train station and an old abandoned Pasta factory called ‘Pantanella.’ One crossing the street or seeing a homeless person might wrongly judge the victim, but problems too tough to handle often push them to be homeless.

Like many Africans, my dream was to make it big in Europe, by going to school and take the opportunity to integrate, but soon I realized that not all that glitter is gold. To avoid being a drug addict or a thief, I took the situation as life challenges to educate and shape my life positively. While I saw friends taken over by drugs and some of them immediately going back to Africa, I remained in Rome and fought those life obstacles squarely.

Today, the man who was once sleeping at the central train station in Rome now lives with his wife and children in Europe as European citizens. On immigration issues, I consider my books to be special because they are emotional, inspiring, adventurous and educative.  ‘Overseas Chronicle,’ is a book I will recommend to every reader who loves books in the genre of non-fiction. It’s a  book that captures a reader’s attention to figure it out if the contents really took place or just an exaggeration.

Chronicle

http://www.amazon.com/Overseas-Chronicle-Joel-Savage-ebook/dp/B013SLNWFC