Meet Felix

Felix in Lampedusa, Italy. November, 2016. © Pamela Kerpius

Felix in Lampedusa, Italy. November, 2016. © Pamela Kerpius


Meet Felix.

18 years old and from The Gambia.

To reach Lampedusa he crossed six countries: The Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and the most dangerous of all, Libya.

He left home because he was in a car accident that damaged public property; because the punishment for this crime in Gambia would lead to his imprisonment (in a system where prisoners are known to be severely mistreated), he fled almost immediately, alone.

The trip took six months. He crossed the Sahara Desert with 5 liters of water in the back of a pickup truck driven by smugglers. He crossed Libya upon constant threat of death and danger, which took, he says, in total 5 months, 1 week, and 2 days; he was beaten once.

He crossed the Mediterranean Sea in a rubber dinghy with 151 people. There was a leak in the boat and their feet were immersed in cold sea water. It was 10 o'clock at night when they left the Libyan coast, dark. He was scared. He prayed. He was very scared.

The Italian Coast Guard rescued them hours later and he among the others were brought to Lampedusa. He lives in the hotspot now, until he is transferred to mainland Sicily; where he goes after that, we don't know yet.

His favorite movie is Barbershop, his favorite music is R&B, and his favorite food is something called domoda, a Gambian peanut butter stew with chicken and tomatoes: "I don't know how to cook it, but I know how to eat it," he says.

Felix is an amazing human being.