Italian Migration To Belgium

1946: Treaty between Italy and Belgium.

Italy sends workforce for the mines in exchange of coal

 

My Grandma's background

My Grandma was born in Palagiano, my hometown, in the South of Italy. When she was around ten she moved to Belgium with her mother and her three younger siblings. Her father was already in Belgium, working in the mines. 

Soon after they arrived, her mother had to go to hospital. They barely spoke French and my grandma, being the oldest daughter,  took care of her and of her siblings.

In her neighborhood there were many other Italian family. Among those there was my Granddad. They got married and had my mum.

Maybe tired of the grayness of Belgium, maybe looking as me for "the place I am meant to be", my mum moved back to Palagiano, and started working there. 

When she was pregnant with me, my great-grandfather passed away in Belgium. He suffered from silicosis, a illness that affects miners' lungs. 

One month later, I was born. My Grandma decided to come back to Palagiano to be closer to my mum and me.

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"Maybe the experience of expatriation was a good thing after all. I feel good everywhere."