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The Rock-itt : February 2010
Sempre Con Te Sempre Con Te Sempre Con Te Sempre Con Te (Always with You) (Always with You) (Always with You) (Always with You) By Silvana Toia, Gina Polito and Silvana Nero By Silvana Toia, Gina Polito and Silvana Nero By Silvana Toia, Gina Polito and Silvana Nero By Silvana Toia, Gina Polito and Silvana Nero Can you imagine your husband leaving you with a newborn and a two year old as he travels to the other side of the world? He has left you to try to make a better life for you and his children. You do not see him again for five years and when you finally join him you feel alienated. Having never travelled outside your little village, you are now in a country where the language, culture and lifestyle are so different to your previous life that you could well be on another planet! This is an example of what the women of "Sempre Con Te" (Always With You) experienced. Immerse yourself by reading the stories of nine women as they tell their personal journey of separation, migration and reunion. Read the first written socio-documentary and photo essay collection of the many Calabrian Italian migrants who, from the 1920's to the 1970's called the Northern Beaches of Sydney home. Sempre Con Te (Always with You) was recently published and launched at the Powerhouse Museum. The book launch was attended by many members of the Northern Beaches community and the keynote speaker was the Honourable Virginia Judge MP, Minister for Fair Trading, Minister for Citizenship and Minister assisting the Premier on the Arts. Sempre Con Te was written by Silvana Toia, Gina Polito and Silvana Nero and the book layout was created by Emilia Toia as a community project. We, (the authors) are all daughters of migrants and belong to this community, we believe in the importance of documenting our local history, not only for our own heritage but for future generations as well. While in many ways the struggles of these women in the book are universal to all migrants -- everyone has their own, unique story - but no one had ever acknowledged or enquired of these women about their experiences. With this book we have tried to honour the courage and determination of this group of women who struggled to make ends meet in their homeland and then found themselves in a new land where they had to continue to struggle to survive. The book is presented in four separate sections: Life apart in the village; The Voyage; The reunion and Life in The New Land. Most of the women we talked to when preparing the stories had very little to say when we interviewed them with our set of prepared questions. They did not think that they had done anything remarkable, or that they had achieved anything of note or worth. We feel that though what they brought to this country may not have been of great value, it was their values of loyalty, personal strength and love that allowed them to make a successful translocation. However, they really didn't do this for themselves. They did this to provide an environment of certainty and opportunity for their children and future generations. Their determination to succeed gives us an understanding of our place in the world and gives validation to their experiences. Without books like this, without migrant stories being told, I beg the question: 'What does it mean to be Australian?' We need projects like this to acknowledge honour and pay our respect to those that have made Australia what it is. Highly recommended!!