A tangible step towards embracing the unfamiliar with open arms


As I approach my second month as an intern at the aditus foundation, I find myself reflecting on a profound realization that has emerged from my experience thus far.

First and foremost, I’ve chosen to reside in Hamrun for the entirety of my four-month internship, primarily due to its proximity to our offices. Little did I anticipate the profound self-discovery this decision would unveil.

Hailing from Thessaloniki, Greece, I am no stranger to multicultural neighborhoods like Gianitson and Anageniseos streets, where diverse communities coexist. However, it wasn’t until my time in Hamrun that I truly confronted my preconceived notions. Under the guidance of Madam Domenica Ghidei Biidu, a senior strategic adviser and coach on Equity, Inclusiveness, and Diversity, I participated in a transformative workshop as part of the SKIN project. This initiative aimed to address Afrophobia and Islamophobia, empowering the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) to better serve local migrant communities.

The workshop shed light on the pervasive fear of the “other.” From childhood, I was conditioned to approach strangers with caution, whether they were Roma, Black, or Arab. This sanitized mindset became glaringly evident when I hesitated to patronize a local kebab shop, fearing irrational scenarios like being refused service. It’s a process, navigating this discomfort and confronting ingrained biases, as Madam Biidu eloquently phrased it: “What does your belly say when you enter this space? How do your identities react to it?” I’m still grappling with these questions, striving to overcome barriers and embrace unfamiliar spaces.

In the office, the palpable compassion displayed by my colleagues towards those in need has left an indelible mark on me. Shadowing client meetings has humanized the struggles documented in reports, reminding me that behind every statistic lies a story of suffering and desperation. Yet, there’s a hesitancy within me, a fear of delving too deep into their experiences, unsure if I possess the emotional fortitude to confront such raw anguish.

On a lighter note, my time outside the office has been filled with exploration. From the St. Paul’s Bay Aquarium to the charming streets of Marsaxlokk, reminiscent of my hometown, to the vibrant energy of Valletta and the bustling Paceville in St. Julian’s, Malta has offered a myriad of experiences to savour. And let’s not forget the culinary delights—pastizzi and qassata have become regular indulgences, though I eagerly anticipate delving further into Maltese cuisine with a taste of fenek dish when I venture to Mgarr.

To sum up, while I eagerly anticipate immersing myself in Maltese culture over the coming months, my immediate goal remains simple yet significant: to conquer that kebab, a tangible step towards embracing the unfamiliar with open arms.

Until next time,