The Reluctant Teacher

My crazy Italian life continues… The Reluctant Teacher Willie, originally from Peru, sits on my left. He has been in Italy for ten years and wants to learn English. Samba, a refugee from Mali, sits on my right. He speaks a kind of French dialect and he’s here to learn Italian. I volunteer twice a […]

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My Secret Thanksgiving

Last night, on what turned out to be American Thanksgiving, the African refugees cooked dinner in the Poggio Alla Croce community centre kitchen. Italians know very little of African food but after long discussions with the students, a shopping list was created. Two kilos of beef, okra, onions, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, peanut butter and rice […]

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The Changing Face of Italy: One Village at a Time

On Saturday, July 1, the population of Poggio Alla Croce increased by 17 percent. Thirty African and Asian young male refugees arrived, and are now living in a refurbished hotel near the town square.  The villagers were not consulted on this surge in their population and they are openly divided about the new residents.   […]

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Fall 2017 Travellers! Our homes, in Poggio Alla Croce and in Firenze

Our home at Agriturismo Il Colle, in Poggio Alla Croce. We stay here for two reasons, one is the setting.   Our country house has five bedrooms, three bathrooms with a complete kitchen, dining room and living room.         And the other reason we stay here is Giovanni, our host at Il Colle. Whether […]

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Eleven things you should know before you work the Olive Harvest (especially if you want to be invited back)

Though the Olive harvest for 2016 is over, it’s not too early to think about being a part of the Raccolta  (harvest) in November 2017. Typically you will receive, among other things, free room and board from your host, in exchange for your help.  1.It is hard and repetitive work. You are not on the […]

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