Old Calabria By Norman Douglas

 -  I remember wondering how
it came to reach Messina.

In the olden days, of course, the days of splendour.

Will - Page 350
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I Remember Wondering How It Came To Reach Messina.

In the olden days, of course, the days of splendour.

Will they ever return?

It struck me that the sufferings of the survivors would be alleviated if all the sheds in which they are living could be painted white or pearl-grey in order to protect them, as far as possible, from the burning rays of the sun. I mentioned the idea to an overseer.

"We are painting as fast as we can," he replied. "An expensive matter, however. The Villagio Elena alone has cost us, in this respect, twenty thousand francs - with the greatest economy."

This will give some notion of the scale on which things have to be done. The settlement in question contains some two hundred sheds - two hundred out of over ten thousand.

But I was alluding not to these groups of hygienic bungalows erected by public munificence and supplied with schools, laboratories, orphanages, hospitals, and all that can make life endurable, but to the others - those which the refugees built for themselves - ill-contrived hovels, patched together with ropes, potato-sacks, petroleum cans and miscellaneous odds and ends. A coat of whitewash, at least, inside and out. ... I was thinking, too, of those still stranger dwellings, the disused railway trucks which the government has placed at the disposal of homeless families. At many Stations along the line may be seen strings of these picturesque wigwams crowded with poor folk who have installed themselves within, apparently for ever.

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