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​Edith, spices and catholicism

Everything began with vanilla and the brilliant intuition of a lady who had come from afar: born in Madagascar in 1970 and arriving in Moncalieri, Turin in 1997, Edith Elise Jaomazava achieved a perfect combination between the riches of her place of origin and the demands of her new country. “At first it was very hard” – Silvia Gusmano recounted on the website madamaricetta.it”. I was a “black” in a very closed city. I couldn’t find a job and so I made the most of my family experience, an experience of four generations: the cultivation of vanilla”. Edith flew to Madagascar, picked up a few kilos of the precious spice of which only a synthetic version is found in Italy and sold it to several pastry shops in Turin. “It was a success and I decided to continue”. In a few months the new businesswoman learned Italian, passed her driving test, took a course in nutrition and studied. And in 2004 she founded sa.va, a company for importing and trading in spices which increased its supply (and its turnover) from one year to the next. Shortly afterwards she opened a shop in the centre of Turin, Atelier Madagascar, where today she sells almost 40 kinds of spice that come from all over the world. In 2010 she was nominated “foreign businesswoman of the year” in the context of the prestigious Money Gram Award and today, despite the crisis, she continues to made grand plans. Her priority is to improve living conditions in Madagascar where she has already been giving work to dozens of farmers for years (as many as 300 in the high season). A Catholic, the mother of four children whom she is bringing up alone, Edith is grateful to Italy although she still experiences all its racism: at the opera “people still stare at me as though I were an extraterrestrial being”, while on Sundays, when she sings in church with great pleasure, “they hear my voice but they don’t see me”. 

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