“My name is Moustapha. I am 37 years old and I am from Senegal. I moved to Italy to find work, any work. When I started out as a vendor selling the street paper Terre di Mezzo [Middle Lands], sales were going well. I hoped to make enough money to send some home to my family. But now, the financial crisis is everywhere, and I can only manage to take care of myself.
“The only important thing, I always say, is not to stay locked up at home. I always try and keep myself busy. Earning a few [euros] by selling books on the street is something at least. If I find a job that’s OK for me, I’ll take it, as long as it earns enough for me to have a dignified life: The important thing is to not waste time.
“Terre di Mezzo has always allowed me to live a dignified life: This work has helped me and other immigrants to move forward. We street vendors can really thank Terre di Mezzo and citizens who, even in difficult times, have always leant us a hand. It’s not an easy job. The first thing you have to do is try to integrate and learn the language, because otherwise it’ll be difficult to meet people.
“I’ve always been a positive person; I never complain. As I say to my clients, who stop on the street in Milan city center, we can’t complain. The [economic] situation is the same in Italy, Spain, France and all over the world. As long as I’ve got my health I must never complain — I think things can change in a moment anyway.”