Two perfectly sterilised settings: in the first, two enormous mixers are welded to the ground, they mix thymol with other elements; in the second, highly innovative machines pack the gelatine created by the fusion into small trays. The product is then delivered hives halfway around the world, to save the lives of the bees from Varroa, a deadly endemic disease caused by a parasitic mite.

This is the trench from where Abdel Belaichi, 46 years old from Fez (Morocco), fights his very personal battle to help the world’s environment, by running these machines at full speed every day.

After taking off his mask, gown, gloves and shoes, he explains to NRW that the subject of the environment and its conservation is important and fundamental here in Italy. It should be all around the world.

I am happy to be part of this project which brings prestige and economic growth to Italy, my second country, and to the company that hired me

Abdel Belaichi arrived in Italy 13 years ago, he lives in Fornovo San Giovanni: a town of almost 4000 souls deep in the Lower Bergamo area. In a few years, it has become a chemical hub of national importance. Even with the nightmare of Covid, here we have continued so as not to miss the train of economy and innovation. In the last few months Cicieffe srl, the chemical and pharmaceutical laboratory where Belaichi works, has produced sanitisers to help with the health crisis and, at the same time, it has undertaken this project of innovation and industrialisation.

This medicine is a consequence of Brexit. The world leading English company, Vita Europe, chose to entrust this work to Cicieffe after London’s divorce from Europe. Production was moved from England to Bergamo and is led by Maria Vittoria Favini.

“I believe that technological innovation is the real future for all of us. We must also focus on this for the young people here, regardless of where they come from. We are all in the same boat. This is our only way out”, explains Abdel Belaichi. “My first son was born in Morocco but has lived here since he was six years old, he is now attending an accounting course at the Treviglio institute. After finishing high school, I want him to enrol in university. Training and innovation are the main areas on which our society must focus”.

Those of us who come from other countries must push our children to study, study and study. I repeat this three times because it is fundamental. I am always sorry to hear that our Italy needs to hire doctors, engineers and professionals from abroad. My children must be Italian in all respects. They must learn these professions which are so important for the future of their country, which is Italy. They must be the new forces

“I had a few problems integrating. Only through difficulties with the language. I attended evening courses in Italian and with the help of Italian friends, I integrated well. I went from agencies to cooperatives until I found this position which has given me great satisfaction”.

An Italian family

After being reunited with his wife and son, two girls were born here. The family now considers itself to be Italian.

When I take my children to Morocco for their summer holidays, almost immediately they ask me to go back to their home, which is in Italy. They don’t speak Arabic: only Italian. Sometimes they even throw in a few words in Bergamasque when we are at the table.

“I believe my integration is complete”, adds Abdel Belaichi as he puts all the protective gear back on his machines. “I work very well in a company where almost all the workers are women: there is great respect. Among other things, we also produce many veterinary products for cats and dogs and pets. It’s a sign of civilisation for everyone”.

Translated by Sarah Ellis