Departure from Pogradec, a difficult life common to all immigrants. Now, thanks to his determination, Aurel Mengri, in Italy from 20 years, carries out his profession of anesthesiologist at the Cardinal Massaia hospital in Asti, and is also interested in aesthetic medicine.When did you decide to cross the borders of your Albania?
Like all great discoveries, the idea of embarking on the great journey of fortune came about by chance. Upon obtaining the first degree in medicine in Tirana, a friend put forward to me the fateful proposal of the Journey. We started together with an Ithaca boiling with emotions, rebellions, an air of novelty aroused by the fall of the regime. Everyone longed to know the world, look around, broaden their horizons, and that's exactly what I did with the courage of the dreamer.
How was Italy received by the country of arrival?
The first months in Italy were not at all simple. We embarked on a very intricate itinerary throughout Italy in search of refuge, following many promises and illusions. To meet hospitality, we met friends and relatives who, despite the proud display of imaginary well-being, had nothing to eat. From the coast of Trieste to that of Catania, we were victims of the scarcity of any basic necessities; we suffered and endured the most disparate adversities with hope, until we found a job as waiters in a Sicilian inland town.
However he did not give up. How did you deal with the obstacles that stood between you and your dream?
At the same time, I worked and applied in various medical offices as an assistant. From this new starting point I began the journey towards the second stage. Not seeing me recognized, in fact, the title I had taken in Albania, I re-embraced the studies for the attainment of a second degree, which I obtained at La Sapienza. I worked at night and studied during the day, in a frantic climb to the much-desired professional affirmation. So I moved to Piedmont, where I acquired specialization in anesthesia and training in aesthetic medicine. I alternated my activity in the Hospital of Alessandria, at the 118 in Bra and in the San Giuseppe Clinic in Asti, the city where I finally settled and where I have my studio today.
If Albania was a picture, how would you describe it?
They teach us to associate red with Albania: the flag, its representation on the map, where it is the only country of this color. But in my perception Albania is a disorganized and contradictory image, where the brushstrokes merge into a jumble of conflicting mentalities: my country has not yet found its direction, its common goal, its identity with clear contours .
Will this pilgrimage ever end? Do you already know his Ithaca?
The curious child, the researcher, the restless soul who resides in me stubbornly asks to be heard, evoking all his rights. But with the passage of time, the idea of putting my roots in a place becomes ever clearer: the influence of my culture, of the teachings of the ancestors, which pushes me to create the hearth full of children, is strong. welcoming refuge.
She was recently three months in Uganda as a volunteer to bring help to the Matani hospital. What struck him about this experience?
Matani is a totally isolated hospital, around which in 300-400 km there is the most complete nothing: I remember that many arrived after days and days of travel. Unfortunately, there were few local professionals and adequate structures; there were many infections, and we often didn't have the right tools. However the sense of solidarity was really strong, and this allowed us to do our task in spite of everything. Actually it was a more human than a professional experience. I had the opportunity to learn about different colors, foods and mentalities. I met a warrior, harsh, dignified people, where the woman has a central position, is the fulcrum of society. I saw up close the poor man who doesn't know what it means to possess, but who always smiles. A great poverty full of contradictions: not infrequently happened to see men with their skimpy costume, bow and arrows and mobile phone in hand.
What are your plans for the future?
After this volunteering experience in Uganda, I thought that after all, even in Albania, we need medical assistance for everyone. Unfortunately, in my country it is not equally easy for all age groups and all social classes to access efficient health services. For now I am working with an ophthalmologist who can deal with the serious problems affecting older people in Albania. I hope to be able to expand this project as soon as possible: the idea of bringing help to my country stimulates me a lot and opens up new perspectives.
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