A journey to Mali in 2004 and a stay in Walia lay the foundations for this work. The women and the infants we met apparently developed their relationship in a different style of maternage. This experience led us to wonder whether it is still possible to think of an African “original” culture of childhood, defined by rhythms, times and patterns of breeding which are invariable and historically organized. It is common knowledge that colonization and decolonization processes deeply transformed the condition of the East and South of the world for better or for worse. Taking the afore-mentioned preconditions into account, we tried to understand what is the specific meaning of being born in a foreign land. As a consequence, one of the seminars on Infant Observation organized by the University of Pavia was devoted to the observation of babies born in African Muslim families residing in Pavia. Relying upon the Infant Observation method, we decided not to choose any a priori hypothesis but to explore the field and «assess how much "cultures" have an influence on body and psyche so to create "unique" forms of humanity, which actively interact with the genetic or phylogenetic components (more transculturally shared), modified themselves by the complexity of the intervening factors» (Lombardozzi, 2013).
Keywords: Mothering, portage, infant observation, migration, co-mother.