Not Allowed to Stay
We were so excited when we got the call out of the blue from the chef, saying Emmanuel could start work next week. He was over the moon with joy. My biggest problem was finding him a new home. After asking everyone we know and making calls off of every real estate site, we continue to come up short. I miss that stressful problem; the only solution to which was either to re-finish Courtney's very unfinished basement and turn it into a sublet, or, more likely, to have F shuttle him back and forth to his old place at midnight every night. Then I got the email yesterday. It was from our Caritas lawyer, who, in turn, had heard from his original and cold hearted lawyer. My eyes scanned the page until I hit the words mi spiace, I'm sorry. At first, I didn't know if it would even have any impact that he had lost his third level appeal case for Italy's protection. His nice lawyer in the south of Italy told us that day would come and that he had a hail Mary play which would depend on Emmanuel's ability to get a job. We were so close. I texted the first lawyer who had represented him for the appeal. I begged her to let me know where are plans for his new job stood. She told me she was eating lunch. I continued to text her. Is he allowed to work? She wrote back: He is not allowed to stay.
I couldn't get to the nicer lawyer for another few hours, during which time I cried so hard that my sinuses swelled up and I couldn't see straight. He told me that in southern Italy, you can go into the police station and demand a new start, but he doesn't know how it works up here. Well, it doesn't work like that. I called the Caritas lawyers because we already have an appointment with them for Tina's passport nightmare on Monday. I begged Roberto to let us bring Emmanuel. I wrote the chef, who I had told in advance of Emmanuel's regularly scheduled appointment where he was supposed to pick up his beautiful, new permesson on Tuesday. I told him that we changed the appointment to Monday so that there would be fewer work interruptions. He was annoyed. This is how it stands. We have to pray that the Caritas lawyers can fill out the paperwork so that Emmanuel can get a new start at the police station that same morning. Otherwise, I can't in good conscience give him the job. I will have to find someone else, who still will not have anywhere to live.
At first the nicer lawyer told me not to bring Emmanuel to the police for his scheduled appointment on Tuesday because they could arrest and deport him. Then he told me I should bring him to the police on Monday to ask for a new start. Obviously, we will bring more of the fresh, homemade bread we bring every time to maintain a good relationship with the Questura. Emmanuel will have to go early and get a number to increase our chances of not getting turned away when we finally show up. F has work. We have to go in two cars and Courtney will have to drive one of them. T will have to go to speak Italian to the lawyers for Tina's passport situation while I feed her information from the road, if I have to leave with Emmanuel.
Thank goodness we made a connection with this woman Valentina for baby clothes. She has legal experience and she is going to try to meet us at the police station, but her mother is in the hospital after a cancer operation and she has a small, feverish daughter at home, so I am not counting on it. Nevertheless, this angel managed to arrange a baby supplies drive at the school, and at least ten mothers are donating stuff to the babies.
It was terrible to have to break the news to Emmanuel in person. He had finally had good news, and I had to be the one to take it away from him. He fell apart less than I did. He told the story of a guy he knows who had his same situation and a good lawyer and made it. Things are harder now, though. His brother Job, Peace's papà, told me that if you are not dead as a refugee, you still have hope. Emmanuel is not dead, he told me. When I told Paul, he said no problem. I said, oh Paul. He said, we always say no problem, but I get it. This time it is a problem. But still, he said, no problem.