51 years since ......
(Gisborne, Victoria, Australia)
Myself and Mama at Marsaxlokk
Hi my name’s Chris. This is my first time to Malta.
Both my mother and father are originally from Malta so obviously one of the first things I wanted to do was visit their home towns.
I've been begging to send my mother to her homeland for over 20 years with constant rejection. Her reasoning was that she'd only go if I went with her.
So early this year I decided that enough is enough and that we must go before she gets too old. She has not been to Malta since she migrated to Australia 51 years ago! Yes 51 long years!
What an amazing experience it has been thus far!
Upon going to Marsaxlokk (where mum is from) I finally got to see the little picturesque fishing village that my mother was born and raised in. My mother took me to her childhood home, which is now partly demolished and vacated/for sale.
We peeped through a hole in the front and mum began to tell me tons of stories (quite emotional).
Mum then decided to try her luck and knock on the neighbours door to see "if" her childhood friend Marie still lives there! Luck on our side, Marie and her husband still occupy the house next door!
Her husband answered the door and Mum asked if Marie lived there. With a bemused look on his face he replied "Yes, who are you?" … Mum explained who she was and we were both invited into their home. (Marie unfortunately is ridden with arthritis and most of the time bed bound).
We proceeded into their home into the lounge area where Gianni (Marie's husband) looks after her. The look on both my mother and her friend Marie's face was absolutely priceless.
Since that visit, Mum has been surprising quite many of her old friends with random visits! In no time did it take for word to spread that my mother was here in Malta and many are asking for her to come and visit.
I also went to visit my father’s village Birkirkara. I rang my father whilst in Malta and he told me to go to a club in his hometown called "Tal-Bagri".
Upon entering the club, I spoke to a few of the locals and told them about my father and his father … few of the men there knew them!
I was very fortunate to be taken on a private tour of the club.
Two of the committee members took me into bomb shelters that were dug out in World War II beneath this very club! The entrance to the bomb shelters is an arched room with a magnificent ceiling. Apparently archaeologists are still trying to figure out who built this particular room as it is the ONLY room with this particular styled ceiling. They are believed to have been created by the Knights of St John.
Two artifacts were also discovered whilst excavating. One which is a column and the other looks like a bell carved out of stone!
We then proceeded into a labyrinth of tunnels which turned any which way. They are all under the road network of Birkirkara. The whole network at one time was under water as you can see the water line up to the ceiling. Off the tunnels are tiny rooms, which one could purchase to house his or her family. Inscribed into the side of the wall is 1943.
The club is working on it at the moment and installing lights into the tunnels. It was such an amazing experience and I am for ever grateful to have been taken into them.
So, my dream of taking Mama to her homeland has been nothing but an absolute dream come true!
I love you Malta and will no doubt be coming back again.