This is Auchan, a big supermarket outside of Torino. You have to go there it's a big shopping market for electronics, clothes, food. It's usually cheaper than in the city. In front of the supermarket, there's a paper mache statue of Babo Natale. It looks nice. In Italy, for whoever is a Christian, he's the favourite person. This sight is always nice, Babo Natale. You mean Santa Claus?
But that's not Babo Natale, that's a cat.
It's Babo Natale.
Babo Natale is a man with a big white beard.
Yes, they make different ones. Someplaces they are hanging.
That's not him.
No, this is outside of the market so maybe... Anyway, It's in the suburbs so there's some trees nearby. For living actually, outside the city is good. I think so, because there's a lot of trees. Trees are good for health. That's why I'd like to live outside the city. It's just not possible right now.
Is your home outside of the city in Bangladesh?
Yes, yes. It's in the suburbs. Also we have a house in the city.
Really you have two houses?
We have two houses but it doesn't mean that we're rich. My grandfather bought a flat in the city. Right now my uncle is living in that flat. Another room is rented out to help my family. Bangladesh is not such a rich country. So if you see the buildings here, everything is made of bricks and stone, but in Bangladesh, outside of the centre, the people make their houses with clay and wood. More fragile, not so solid structures. They can last for maybe only five or ten years.
This is my frienda at Porta Palazzo.
Is he a friend that you met in Torino?
No, he's a friend from Bangladesh. He lives near my house in Bangladesh.
Actually Torino is a nice city and I like to walk around. I've been to some other cities like Bologna and Rome but I like Torino. Rome is a bit crowded. Torino is good for me, but there are some problems, some Moroccans are no so good.
What kind of problems?
Sometimes they pickpocket.
Has it happened to you?
No, but it happened to my friend. They took his mobile phone.
Did he notice as they were doing it?
Yes, three or four people came together in a group, checking his pockets. They took his money. He was alone and four or five people come. What can you do? You can just shout. Where did it happen?
In Porta Palazzo at about 8pm in the evening.
Did you see it?
Yes, I was there. I had said goodbye to him and I went to wait at another another tram stop. So I was waiting and I heard him shouting and I ran down to where he was but they were already gone. So, right now I'm not interested in going to Porta Palazzo unless I really have to.
This is another friend. When I arrived in Torino, I met him. He's Bangladeshi too. Like me, he sells flowers. Starting at 8pm, I do a tour of restaurants every evening. It takes about 3 or 4 hours. Normally in this job, you just try to get people's attention. Usually, the response is quite good but sometimes some people don't like it. If they don't want to buy one, then it's not a problem but sometimes somebody comments, saying bad words. That's why I'm really not interested in doing this kind of business. I don't like it, I don't like it, from my heart, this business. It's actually not business. I'm doing it to live. If it's a good night I can make 15 or 20 Euros but on a bad night I can make nothing. There's no average night but often it's about 5 or 7 Euros. Some days it could be 20 Euros. Some days 10 Euros. Some days without money, so, it's a problem for me.
What kind of people usually buy them?
Someone in a restaurant, with his wife or girlfriend. Sometimes it's very embarassing. A guy embracing with his girlfriend and I go up and ask if he'd like to buy a flower. It's very embarassing. What kind of business is this! (Laughs). That's why I'm no good at this job. I can't do that. When the people are embracing, I'm not interested to go there. They are busy you know, you shouldn't trouble them. It's not good. Let me tell you once that I saw one man eating alone and I went up and offered him a flower and he just looked at me. He's eating. He's a single man, and I'm disturbing him. I just find it funny sometimes to do that. I want to leave right now but I don't have a way. What can I do right now? I'm bound to it. I'm desperate. Actually it's blackmail, because some guy is in front of his girlfriend, I show him the flower, and he feels obliged to buy her one. If I didn't go there, he wouldn't buy the flower. It's blackmail.
This is in Piazza Castello. This statue looks nice. That's why I took it. It looks good. I don't know who it is. Maybe it's someone famous. I come here very often. It's a nice place to go. Is important aesthetically or socially?
I like to relax there. Every evening my cousin, myself and another friend get together there. It' must be cold in the winter, wouldn't it be better to go to a someone's house?
We all live in different places, so it's better to meet here.
Piazza Castello, on the other side. My cousin wanted to take a photo of me, that's why I'm sitting there. But he missed out one thing - the statue.
Is the statue important for you?
Yes, it's some Italian person, but I just like the artist. Generally, I like statues. I've been to the biggest statue in Brazil. In Rio De Janerio. It's on a hill 740m high. You can go there by train or taxi.
All of them are my cousins friends. This place is between Piazza Castello and Piazza Alberto. Inside the Romana Theatre Nouva.
If you were to go away from Italy is there anything you would miss about Italy?
I would miss this city Torino and also some people.
Yes, they try to help. They're helpful people. One day on the tram. I didn't have a ticket for the tram. I'd finished with my tickets. I was checking my pockets and found that I didn't have any more. Then I tried to get a ticket from a box on the street but the box wouldn't take any coins. Then an Italian man who was also waiting asked me if I wanted a ticket. He gave one to me and said that I could take it. I wanted to pay him, but he didn't want the money. Actually, the Italian people are very kind.
Was there any reason for taking the statue of the horse?
Yes, this was my hobby from boyhood. I tried to ride a horse. One time in the beach area of Bangladesh, I hired a horse and tried to ride it.
My favourite bird is the pigeon. We call it .... It's a symbol of peace... I like all the pigeons, colour is not a factor for me. In my house, I have four pigeons. I made a box. In the morning, I open the door, they go away and after some time, before sunset, they come back. I have an interesting story. I was living in Japan in 1998 and the ship I was working on set sail for Canada. Four pidgeons came to the ship and we tried to make them leave, but they wouldn't leave. After some time of sailing, we caught and kept them onboard because we thought that otherwise they might die. We kept them and fed them every day in one cabin. When we arrived in Canada, I opened the door, and tried to set them free but they weren't interested in leaving, but later when we got to Korea, I opened the door again and they flew away and never came back. I don't know what is the reason. It's very interesting.
This is near my home in Torino. This is a small supermarket. Every day I buy something for cooking.
Is there a shop here that you can get Bangladeshi food that you can't buy here?
Yes, I can buy spices and herbs in a shop near Puorta Nuova. Usually I cook at home. The kind of food we cook reminds me of home.
In the city is there anything that reminds you of home?
The city centre looks quite similar. If you see the city centre of Dakkar, you couldn't say that Bangladesh is not rich. It's just around the city that you can see a big difference between rich and poor. .
These two are the ice pictures. This is the view out of my window. I've never seen ice in Torino so maybe I took this as a memory. I saw snow for the first time in Alaska. I saw Icebergs there too.
Coming from such a hot country, how do you feel being in Torino in the winter?
The winter is difficult for me, but not just for me, it's very difficult for all Bangladeshi people. Why did you come to Italy?
I never thought of coming here. But when I lost my job, working on a boat, I contacted my cousin who lived here in Torino. He told me to come here. He said maybe I could get a residence permit and maybe I could get a job. Then I prepared myself to come here.
Did you imagine Europe to be something different to the reality?
Yes, yes. I thought that Europe is so rich that if I go there, maybe I can get a job, an honourable job. But right now, it's something different. There are no jobs for foreginers. It's very difficult. I came here to earn money, but right now, I'm just very upset. So most of the time I'm thinking about leaving. Just to get some money together to go back.
Can you think about the future?
Right now I'm very upset. I don't know what is my future.
What would be your ideal future?
Maybe to stay here. Maybe my life is spoiled.
Do you think you would be better off if you had stayed in Bangladesh?
Yes. If I'd stayed in Bangladesh, I could have at least earned a little money.
Do you think you could have a more 'honourable' job in Bangladesh?
Before I came, I thought that I could find an honourable job here, but right now I can't see that happening. An honourable job is not possible in Bangladesh. There's too many people. Bangladesh right now has a population of 130 million.
Why did you decide to leave Bangladesh? Are there not good opportunities for work?
Yes, you know in Bangladesh, the main problem is a population problem and a job problem. That's why there's people leaving Bangladesh. You can find them all over the world. It's very hard there. I think you've heard that every year there are floods and cyclones that destroy our crops and houses.
Did you have a job in Bangladesh before you left?
No, I didn't have any job, that's why I left.
So far, have you found better chances for finding work?
Yes, after five years. I had a one year contract, working on a ship. The first time I joined was in 1995. I went back to Bangladesh after that.
Do you like that kind of life?
No, it's a boring life. Sailors are bound to sail, that's their profession, but I think everybody is bored. Sometimes at sea for over 15 days, 20 days, no shore, just water and water. Sometimes rough seas, rolling and somebody's vomiting and sometimes blood comes up. It's a problem. You know, one time in the Bay of Biscay, everybody was seasick for six days, continuous rolling, nobody could eat. Everybody was vomiting. But still you have to work. It's a terrible life.
So it wasn't really your choice of job?
I want to work on land, just a very small job, no problem for me.
If you don't like that kind of work, why did you choose it?
Because I was bound, I had to. I couldn't get any other kind of job.
Is it easier to get a job on a ship than on land?
Before joing the ship, I didn't have any job on land that's why I took it. It's not easy, but I applied, got an interview and got the chance, then I took it. .
This is the river near my house here. This the hospital for foreigners.
Have you ever had to go there?
Yes I went with my friend. He was ill with some gastric problem.
If you go and you don't have papers, is there any problem?
A passport is enough. You don't need anyother documents.
What's your situation? Do you have any documents?
Just my passport. You need a visa to get in here at the airport or border. If you can find someone here to sponsor you, to guarantee that they'll pay for you, or give you a job, then you can get documents, the permission of stay. So for me to come here I had to pay money to a broker who could then help me to enter Italy. I've come in here a few times. Sometimes by car, sometimes by boat. Last time I came in a truck. The first time they said to me that if I gave them the money, they'd fly me to Italy. After that, they did something different. I went on a train, a boat, on foot. You can't imagine. It's terrible. You can't imagine.
Can you describe something about the last time that you came in?
I can't. I want to forget it. I thought that I'd get a job here. Now I ask myself, what am I doing here? Right now I'm working selling flowers, but I can't stand it.
Do you feel worried as you do your job selling flowers in case someone asks for your papers?
Do you know anyone that has had any problems because they don't have any papers?
No, but I hear about people. Anyway if they send me back now, I don't really care.
If every street was like this, there would be no pollution. People also become happy. Because it's got a lot of trees.
Are the streets anything like this is Bangladesh?
Yes. Especially in some urban areas. Not every area is dense and polluted. Some areas like the army area is different. I wasn't in the army, but some of my relatives were and I went there visiting them sometimes. It's a nice place.
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This is Sophia. It's near the last station of 18 tram. It's a big park. It's a healthy place. It's very good looking.
When do you like to go there?
Only a few days a week. It's a nice place. I just go there to relax. There's some river and mountains.
Do you have something like this in Bangladesh?
Yes, it's like this in the countryside. In the cities there's a lot of pollution. Mostly the planning is bad. There's a lot of smoke. Also the water is quite polluted. So this makes me think of something different. In Bangladesh also I like to go out of the city. The towns, Chittagong and Sylhet have a lot of very beautiful mountatins and rivers around them. This picture looks like it could be in Bangladesh.
Do you have a lot of formal gardens like this?
Yes. I like flowers. I like them for my house and I like to draw them.
You didn't take any pictures of the flowers that you sell?
No. Because I don't like it. These kind are similar but I sell roses.