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Farewell Dino Lesa, italian pioneer of Malindi

51 years of Kenya, starting from San Marco project

06-09-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo

In the Malindi of the pioneers, which was not only that of big-game hunters and adventurers or eccentric travellers, but also that of professionals, technicians or even labourers following engineer Luigi Broglio in the creation of the first Italian space centre in Africa, Dino Lesa will always occupy a special place.
It is neither a VIP Olympus, nor a palm grove of mysteries, intrigues, spicy events, splendour or misery and other implications that often create the ideal scripts for the history of Italians in Kenya.
Dino will always have his seat in a bar in front of the sea, one of those special places where you meet simple and genuine people who, in any corner of the world, would know how to give you the same serenity, the same gentle and light way of presenting themselves and would always have something to tell.
Dino Lesa, a Friulian by birth and heart, left us a few days ago at the age of 88, 51 of whom he spent in Kenya.
He arrived at the end of the 1960s immediately after the opening of the San Marco base in Ngomeni, and was the classic maintenance man who knew how to do everything. From electrician to plumber, from builder to mechanic, there was no problem that he could not solve, and if Africa got in the way, he knew how to remedy it and, at the very least, how not to worry too much.
A small beer (white cap, his favourite) at the Baobab Bar, in front of the Indian ocean, at sunset, and a few friends with whom to make fun of everything.
And how many pairs of beers we clinked together, like dancing souls in front of Vasco da Gama's waves. Dino would tell me how the sea arrived where the road is today and how that was the best music Baobab could guarantee.
Then a thousand other anecdotes flourished, as he built the wood-burning oven of my pizzeria or looked after the house of one of the many compatriots who trusted him.
Anecdotes that followed on from those seasoned with a laugh that was always ready and accompanied by the fabulous salads with chicory from his garden that graced dinners with friends, many of whom had gone before him.
He had made time to celebrate his eightieth birthday before his children convinced him to return to Italy. In Rome, among his loved ones, he spent his last years with the same calmness that had always accompanied him, without ever forgetting his good days in Malindi. Good, like his heart and his character. A slow and inexorable disease, but fortunately respectful of a person like him, took him away "pole to pole".
This evening's white cap at sunset is all for you.
Or rather, as you would prefer, all for us.
A big hug to Federica, Flavio and their families.

 

TAGS: italiani kenyaricordo kenyalutto kenyasan marco kenya

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