|Transition To A New World With Ties To The Old - January 2011|
|Written by Administrator|
|Thursday, 27 January 2011 20:50|
Joseph Pluchinotta got his first glimpse of the gray--tinged skyline of New York City on a cold February day. He learned quickly from that day forward that his American experience would bear little resemblance to the James Stewart movies he had watched back in Italy. His foreign dress and inability to speak English made him an outsider in New York. Pluchinotta’s experience in the U.S was common for many immigrants at the time. There were few helping hands—for many it was sink or swim.
Although it was his most difficult, Pluchinotta's transition into American society was not his first. He was born to Italian parents in Libya, which prior to World War II was an Italian colony. In the mid--1950s the family was forced to leave the country. They headed to Italy, where they lived for just over two years until his parents decided to move to the U.S. His parents, Italian citizens, had a long wait for a visa. But he and his sisters, Libyan citizens, were rapidly given clear passage. His father hoped that sending the children ahead would speed their own visas along. The gamble failed, and Pluchinotta and his sisters came to the U.S. alone. They lived there with extended family for nearly four years before their mother arrived. Their father followed a year later.
When Pluchinotta thinks back on his childhood he says he was always an outsider anywhere he has lived. He was an Italian transplant in Libya, a boy who grew up in Africa among Italians, and an Italian immigrant in the U.S. Despite the initial challenges he faced upon his arrival to America, he thrived in his new country. If you ask him today, he’ll tell you that he’s an American. But years ago when he lost his Italian citizenship, for reasons he can't explain, he wanted it back. His ties to his home country still run deep, he says. It is those ties that drew him to the Una Vita Foundation. As a board member of the foundation he will assist with the study of life in Raviscanina. It is his hope to preserve the lifestyle in small Italian villages. He shares the concern of other board members that a way of life may be eroding because young people who seek college degrees are forced to move away from their villages to find employment.
“I would like to see what can be done in small towns to help them keep their young,” says Pluchinotta. He ultimately hopes that someday, through their efforts, more of Italy’s youth will be able to take their degrees back home.
“In the U.S. if a town turns into a ghost town you lose maybe a few hundred years of history. If an Italian town disappears, you lose a millennia,” he says.Download English Version Download Italian Version: Transizione verso un mondo nuovo senza dimenticare il vecchio