Mika, age 35, arrived in Italy five years ago from Bangladesh, and actually came to Rome on a flight in search of work for a better life. He now works alongside other Romans in the outdoor food market in Piazza San Cosimato in Trastevere, selling food products, such as pasta, olive oil, spices and after dinner liquors, mostly from southern Italy. He is well versed in their ingredients, origins in Puglia and preparation process. He is there every day and feels good about the life he has created here.
Migrants from Bangladesh are on nearly on every corner in the center of Rome. They work in alimentari (small grocery shops), trinket shops, restaurants or in outdoor markets like Mika does. Some walk around the city selling hand held gadgets, umbrellas or jewelry. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) the stabilization of the Bangladeshi population is ongoing and as of 2016, nearly 54 percent of the 142,403 Bangladeshi migrants in the country hold EU long term residence permits.
“Although my name is Mika, in Italy my name is Michele,” he says, adding “ I am a migrant and I work in Rome”. He attended Italian language school when he first arrived and lives near the Piazza with several other workers from Bangladesh in a three-bedroom apartment.
One stall away is one of his compatriots who is still learning Italian. His Roman co-worker corrects his grammar as he loads mandarins into a basket. They take turns serving customers from all angles of the open stall as the market fills up during its late morning rush.
“There is no work for me in Bangladesh, but here there is,” Mika says.
This story was reported and written by Jordan McCord, and reposted with permission from the Inter Press Service (IPS) News Agency. Read the full article here.