Long-lasting friendships

Leggi in italiano

2015 03 amicizie durature pic1Adam is a young helper in Piedimonte Etneo GIM Centre. When he was 13 years old, he witnessed the murder of his twin sister and since then, he began to have nightmares and to suffer from severe depression. Furthermore, in Lybia, he spent about 6 months in jail (because he was found with no documents) and while he was in there he suffered further abuse. We met him at the Hosting Center about 2 years ago. At that time, he was receiving psychological support at the Refugee Camp and taking some psychiatric medication.

In these days it still is not easy for him but you can see that he smiles more and always arrives carrying his Italian lessons'notebook. He never went to school before, but now he has started to read some easy two syllable words and slowly he even reads some more complex words. A few months ago, his mom passed away and this was another hard blow for him. Now, he only has his 17-year-old brother left who, thank God, has found a couple that is taking care of him in Senegal. He started to attend school thanks to the money that we can send him occasionally. At Mineo, we met many people who now have left CARA and we hosted about 5000 “asylum seekers” that have visited us in our office in Mineo! We don’t know the names of many of these, because they just pass to take some clothes and a pair of shoes.

2015 03 amicizie durature pic2But we got to know some of them in a special way: we listened to their stories, we joked, they cooked some of their typical dishes for us and spent some days with us at our Piedimonte ETNEO CENTRE. We particularly remember Gé-rémie, Rahm, André, Charles, Shaid, Robin, Shaikol, Massaouda, Mohamed, Zibzki, Kamran, Akeem, Allyson, Viviane, Sahid, Paul, Mike, Isaac, Moazam… Who knows, maybe one day our paths will cross again. Today at Mineo we regularly meet Amara, Mamadou, Seiku, Promise and many others…each one with their own story and dreams.

It's been a few months that we also regularly go to Caltanisetta (about 2 hours away from our GIM BASE) where we bring food and clothes to Pakistani, Afghan and Malaysian refugees, who are camping under a bridge. While they are waiting for their residency permit renewal or to be accepted in a refugee camp, they move from one place to another but, despite this, we have various opportunities to talk to them (as we drink the tea that they give us). Recently, we became sad because Adnan, a guy who used to regularly help us and with whom we had established a nice relationship, was suddenly transferred to a hosting center near Naples, it all happened overnight…at first he didn’t want to go away, he was desperate and said he had found a family here! Anyway, we keep in touch with him by phone, but this episode shows once again how refugee hosting is complex to organize. At Caltanissetta we can count on the big help of Giuseppe and Silvia, a couple that has a heart for refugees. They are dedicating themselves a lot to them, visiting them regularly even in other days of the week. Furthermore, Sameh helps us too, he is an Egyptian we met at CARA of Mineo 2 ½ years ago. He now has his work permit, lives at Caltanissetta, speaks Italian fluently and helps us with all his heart. Sometimes his friend Jan comes with him, he is a Pakistani that works with Sameh, who appreciates and loves us. His wife and 3-year-old child (whom he has not seen for 3 years) are in Pakistan. He is trying to get his family reunited, but bureaucracy is slow and complex. Besides visiting those who are “living in camps”, we also visit people hosted at another Centre (about 140 asylum seekers), in a town near Caltanissetta. There, we have met many people, but among them a few men that belong to a small ethnic minority of Pakistan (Beluci), a people group that has been  fiercely persecuted for years, and to whom it is not even allowed to speak their own language. For those who don’t know the problem, these people are simply considered as Pakistani citizens, but they do not feel Pakistanis because their “Beluci” people are continuously persecuted.


Rome, May 23rd 2015