The short story this month has its roots in my past in East Africa. I grew up in Kenya and my father often drove us down the escarpment of the Rift Valley to the small town of Naivasha, passing the little Italian church. Sometimes we stopped and visited the cool interior, the solid walls keeping out the equatorial heat. I have a photo of a younger self, sitting on the stone steps clutching my teddybear.
Many Italian prisoners of war remained in East Africa after World War II and settled on the land. I would like to think that the fictitious Captain Malatesta was one of those and that Emilio got to climb Mt Kenya with Peter.
Didn’t that happen before? No, it didn’t.
Just been reading the reviews of my short story of that name which will be published in Write Around Queensland’s anthology for 2014. People have been very kind. The story is about two young girls who depart on an odyssey around Europe to find their origins. Some of it I took from real life situations when I visited Spain. Although my ancestors are 100% Scottish, the Spaniards were convinced I was a local. In supermarkets, the check out chicks would chatter away to me whilst dredging up their limited English for my travel companions. Old Nonnas would take my arm to see them across the road, muttering about the evils of tourism as they glared at my companions. Perhaps some Spanish sailor from the wrecks of the Armada got cast ashore on a Hebridean islandand founded my family dynasty?