BALOBESHAYI

African Women Voices

If Someone Invites You In, Go!

The most terrifying horror movies have a started like this: a door, some creepy guy inviting you to enter and the voice of your mom echoing in your head saying “don’t trust strangers, don’t accept invitation by whoever.” And in most cases moms are right, except from our today’s case when an old Turkish man staring from the window of what looked like a very antique building, invited me and Gianpaolo to enter with a hand gesture.

We took some hours off work today and decided to visit Istanbul as most of the people do: as tourists. We went around Hagia Sofia, visited The Blue Mosque etc. But the highlight of our tour in Istanbul was ending up in the Library behind Hagia Sofia. Yes, there is a library behind the monumental byzantine church/mosque. It is a tall building locked to whoever is not invited in apparently, that almost looks like a private house (we so wished it could be ours!).

Anyway, we stare at the building dreaming of having a house just like that and a guy from inside tells us to go in. We’re the only people in the alley at that precise moment and we went in without hesitating. As we enter, we are greeted with a handshake and a tour of the foundation that apparently conserves all books about the history of Istanbul, all the pictures of the neighborhoods. We are so used to their names now that we have been studying where African migrants are living in Istanbul. We asked for permission to film, not as tourists, but as researchers on African migrants all over the world who want to know how Istanbul changed in the years, how the neighborhoods migrants are living in changed with the city. Permission was granted!

See you next week lovely library!

foto biblioteca

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