I got to see Italy through Africa when Richard (Nigeria) and I reunited in Pisa, Italy after more than two years since our initial meeting on Lampedusa island in April 2017. He whisked me through the crowds and we posed for a shot where we held up the famous leaning tower––an amazing and very fun day. In this conversation, he talks about testifying against his traffickers in Sicily, the asylum process, racism, and the meaning of the word “lapalapa,” the Nigerian slang term for the rubber boat that crosses the Mediterranean Sea. He now lives in Pisa, Italy with one-year papers awaiting work and the next steps for his documentation. Recorded in Pisa, October 2019.
“I did it…I did it. And after I run, I regret it.” Baboucarr (Gambia) killed a man before fleeing home, crossing Libya and the sea, and finally landing in Lampedusa, where I met him in April 2017. He is among a very rare few who have shared the reason why he left his country. In doing this he says “the truth will set me free.” It is an act that has demanded my acceptance and compassion at new levels, and one that defines the driving force behind the work of Migrants of the Mediterranean. Hear what Babou has to say; his story is more nuanced than it appears. Try to listen first without judgement. See what happens. Babou now lives, works, and awaits his final asylum hearing in a small city near Padova, in the north of Italy. Recorded in Padova, September 2019.
We speak just outside the grounds of Gran Ghetto, where Peter now stays after going homeless in September 2019. Hear his testimony from inside the most notorious and squalid location in Italy.
Mere days before he is removed from his housing due to a negative verdict on his asylum hearing, we speak to "Peter" (Sierra Leone) about his impending homelessness and more. This is Part I of a two-part conversation.
“Without people….I cannot go forward, I cannot stand alone.” Pazi (Gambia) has found his pace living in Rome now after almost three years since his rescue and reception on Lampedusa. In this conversation, he speaks with perspective about what he needs to live the life he wants. He pursues it in spite of racial discrimination and false perceptions perpetuated by media, and with the goal of not going it alone. Recorded in May 2019.
Sami (24, Eritrea) pleads to be heard from the Khoms, Libya migrant detention center today, 15 August 2019, after finding the dead from a July shipwreck. Bodies are washing ashore and his life is in danger. "Don't forget about me, or us," he said.
In the small town of Isernia, Italy Moses and I close the gap on two years, the time we last saw each other on Lampedusa island just three days after his rescue at sea. We speak about work, racism, his crowded living conditions and his hopes for the future. Recorded in April 2019.
A fleeting encounter on Lampedusa led to a two-year wait that led, finally, to our reunion in the Sicilian seaside city, Agrigento. Ebrima talks housing + food quality, integration, "walls" + more. Recorded in Agrigento, Sicily.
Just over a year after our first meeting, Fabulous talks about patience, gratitude and his future in Italy. Recorded in Naples, Italy.
We meet a year-and-a-half after his Mediterranean rescue and reception on Lampedusa island.