02-08-2017 by Freddie del Curatolo
Fifty years passed together are a beautiful piece of eternity.
I went to Africa, more and more: an endless adventure that needs to be told and heard with the same amazement that you have when you are in the face of Equatorial Nature.
Half a century together in a Malindi that has gone from dirt roads and naked people, covered only by a strap on the intimate parts, matatu with the wi-fi.
In the middle, beautiful and immutable as baobabs, there are them, Elio and Carla Altomare.
Malindi's longest-serving Italian couple celebrates this year's 50th anniversary of Kenia, when Elio's specialist technician decided to accept the job at San Marco's newborn son directed by Professor Luigi Broglio.
The young wife Carolina, for all today "Mama Carla", after a bit of hesitation, decided to reach him from Foggia
The man had not yet arrived on the moon, while the British had left for Kenya and Italians for a few years, apart from Elio's colleagues, on the coast they saw very few.
"When I got to Kenya," Carla said, "I was the only Italian woman. The wives of other base employees arrived but returned to Italy almost immediately. At first it was a nightmare, stay from morning to night alone in a ruined Malindi cabin, waiting for my husband to return from work. Without anyone speaking my tongue and without knowing a word of English. "
Outside the house, the forest.
In the garden, snakes and insects never seen before.
At the edges of the streets, young mothers who give birth to land and elderly women who scream and run away when they see a mzungu.
But who knows Carla Altomare knows well that she is a woman who does not have the option of "getting lost" in her character.
Thanks to the presence of some British ladies and the retreat to the American-owned Sinbad Hotel, the young Italian courageous and begins to attend Malindi's life.
"There was nothing," Carla said, "we had to invent everything. But at the same time with a little fancy you could create anything and think it could be successful. I have to thank the British community, without them I would not have done it. "
While Elio, involved in the passionate adventure of the first orbital launch of an Italian satellite, supports and consoles her every night ("I told her, try to stay here for six months, then if you do not do it you will say we'll be back in Italy "), The consorte slowly organizes.
When it comes back in the early years, Carla Altomare's eyes become even more alive and also a bit lucid.
"The difficulties were there, we can not say no: in the evening we ate in the mosquitoes because we were attacked by any kind of insect, I wept the day I was forced to cut my long hair I was proud of. Each morning we had to invent life and there was always some drawback. But slowly I began to absorb African wonder, to love nature and the sense of freedom and to feel part of a new life. One of the first things that attracted me to Malindi's old town was the colorful baskets fabrics that came from India and Tanzania. Almost for the game and to spend time during the day, I began to draw clothes and beach covers. In a short time I had created my own line and the Anglo-Saxon community organized for me a parade at Blue Marlin. "
So Carla becomes the "Italian designer" of Malindi.
From the dresses, she soon goes to the furnishings of the first villas bought by the Italians who in the seventies begin to arrive on the Kenyan coast.
Fabrics for sofas, bed covers, cushions, tablecloths, linens, "Mama Carla" is now an institution.
For the joy and pride of Elio who not only saw his wife now in the Malindi community, but was dragged by his enthusiasm to counteract the routine of space-based work.
Not only that, they also become geometers, architects and builders of their nest of love, a simple, sober and colorful villa - their image and resemblance, a bit Italian, a bit african.
The story of Elio and Carla intersects with that of the Italian Malindi, which in a few years from a few scattered elements reaches the thousands of attendance and widening more and more, to become a town in the town.
Mama Carla, meanwhile, struggles with snakes ("one day one finally managed to bite me, but he died", he laughs at the woman) and hurls up with English and with a slang of his own, half-swahili mid-Puglia.
Today, Altomare's spouses are two gorgeous old-timers with their eyes and minds as little kids.
They smile and look at the first times they embrace themselves to be courageous in the face of Black Africa. With the awareness of having crossed half a century of Malindi's history with lightness and positivity.
We have not to wonder if the director Giampaolo Montesanto chose them as the protagonists of the doumentary "Italians in Kenya".
Their story is more than a movie, it's life!
An evening of other times and maybe Malindi, when you filled the Stardust disco, a temple of good nights on the coast, even in the afternoon.
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