The International Association AREIA (Audio-archive of Migrations between Europe and Latin America, based at the Department of Antiquities, Philosophy, History of the University of Genoa) has recently produced the exhibition Overcome Themselves. Migrant voices between Europe and America. The exhibition displays an anthology of thoughts of Europeans and Latin Americans in transit between the two continents, from the beginning of the Twentieth century to today. The sentences collected were chosen within the oral testimonies kept by AREIA and arranged around some keywords: travel, work, live, have fun, study, buy, eat, return.
Among the text chosen by the curator, one is from the oral testimonies I collected during my field research for The choice of the land. Here speaks Alfonso (pseudonym), who tells the last one of the many trips that took him in a few years from Western Paraná (Brazil) to Paraguay and vice versa, always looking for new (precarious) jobs, in particular related to the cutting of timber. We are in the Seventies of the Twentieth century.
“The last time I went to Paraguay, in 1993, I barely had a change of clothes, only a pair of pants to use at parties.
So I worked as a bricklayer: just to eat, just to buy myself a new shirt and save two coins for a dance.
It’s different now. Now I’m still skinny; I weigh 60-61 kilos, but then I weighed 50, and if my head is like that now, then it was like this… for the headache, for the worries, for the debts to be paid… I saved something thanks to my sacrifices”.