“My father was a soldier in Ethiopia during the war. He was Italian and Mussolini wanted to conquer the country so he had to go, otherwise Mussolini shoots you down eh! And that’s where he met my mother. Then Mussolini was chased out of Ethiopia, so they were looking for my father. My mother was Armenian, they came to Ethiopia because of the persecutions by the Turks. But she was untouchable here because her brother was an advisor to Haile Selassie I, the king of the Negus kings, the strength of strengths. She said, “This is my fiancé” and they couldn’t do anything. So I was born and raised in Ethiopia. I speak Ethiopian fluently. It’s a very beautiful country and Ethiopians are very, very good people.
Then when I was 15 years old we came to Switzerland. I worked for a long time in the street of Lausanne in several small car repair shops. I repaired all kind of brands. I restored old Bugattis and Ferraris owned by Claude François and Johnny Halliday. But I’m not really into luxury. I only like the oldies. I pay 3,000 francs, not more. As long as it runs, it’s good!
Now I’m the oldest of the old-timers. Sometimes they call me and I give them a hand. They don’t understand anything about old cars! But you know the gases you inhale… The lungs they get it bad, you mess up your health. I have friends who died at 55… I drank a lot of yogurt, that’s what kept me alive. Milk is the best remedy against pollution.
Ethiopia is the only thing I regret. I’d like to spend my retirement there but my wife doesn’t want to. But life is beautiful, you have to take it as it comes. I hate people’s anger, jealousy for nothing. We shouldn’t complicate things, we’re just passing through here. When I die, I take nothing with me. Here everything shines, but in truth everything that shines is not gold. I don’t care about money. I don’t have any enemy. My only enemy is my fucking stomach. Because of it I have to refuel or else I can’t move. It’s like a car, if the tank is empty you can’t go any further.”
(Rue du Mont-Blanc | translated from French)