Ouled Sidi Bendaoud, Marocco – Castelnovo Monti
This is the dish with which I identify.We are what we eat and I like to start the day with a nice piece of “erbazzone” and a cup of hot mint tea. It represents me and it represents what is being created in this area of the Apennines: stories, different lives entwined one with the other, creating the cultural experience of this new generation.
I usually travel a lot for my job as my company’s head office is in Maranello. I could easily avoid travelling two hours every day, but I prefer to come back in the evening. The Apennines welcome you in all seasons: you return to nature and people with familiar faces.
The decision to move from Morocco in the early eighties was not mine but my parents’. What I can proudly say now is that I firmly wish to stay in Castelnovo ne’ Monti and to experience it, not only at weekends.
I decided to take part in community life and I wanted to enrich myself through people, because it is human relationships that really bind me to this territory. The Apennines are a box of good things: inside you feel safe, you feel at home. Not home as a synonym for four walls, but rather as the idea of being in tune with the people and the environment. When I come up from the plain, I often stop the car and look at the view: every time there is a different sunset, a peculiar light, snow-clad fields and fog that enhances the Pietra di Bismantova (a spectacular block of sandstone, TN ), showing it to you in a specific perspective and setting. A different picture every day. It’s amazing, a people-oriented surrounding and the ideal place to bring up and create a family.
I feel like a brick within this Apennine house, made up of people, communities and many things. When you remove a brick from that house, nothing happens from a structural point of view, it doesn’t collapse, but anybody can notice and miss it, there is a gap. You are not essential but something is missing and its absence is conspicuous, very conspicuous.
When a person is happy in a new environment, what does he do? Easy, he tries to bring what he needs with him, traditions and services. We, yes now I’m talking in the plural, as an Arab-Islamic community have created a cultural centre in order to keep our roots and family backgrounds alive and not forget them and to build bridges, allowing people to get to know each other, meet and intertwine stories past and present.
Encouraging dialogue between different cultures and positive influences between people, history and culture is a fundamental pillar of the UNESCO. What we all need now is to sit down, listen and understand without judging.
This is what has been created within our mountains, and within me.