Meet Kelvin.


Meet Kelvin.

20 years old and from Nigeria.

To reach Lampedusa he crossed three countries: Nigeria, Niger, and the most dangerous of all, Libya.

His parents were shot because of a land issue and he fled. Kelvin’s trip took one year and two months.

After he reached Niger and crossed the Sahara desert, he reached Sabha, Libya. Sabha is the first (or one of the first) cities migrants stop in after the desert. The names of the cities get repeated in almost everyone’s stories, so you start to understand exactly where the narrative is going before they’ve said it. Sabha is a dangerous place.

“They deceived me,” he said of the smugglers. At first they provided him with food and clothes. Then he was sold to traffickers.

He was put in a prison. There are a number of large rooms where they are kept; in his, there were 200 people. He was in prison for eight months. He was beaten seriously every day, “morning and night.”

He was tortured by electric shock everyday for six months. The traffickers finally let him go because he had no money and no one to call for a money transfer.

He found a man who gave him farm work somewhere in Tripoli. He received food and a promised boat ride as payment only, no money. He did this for three months; his hands bled every day from the work.

When he reached the Libyan coast he swam out in a scramble to meet the boat. He did not want to stay behind and wait for the next one (which can be weeks or longer, if you haven’t money or contacts, or if the weather makes the sea too dangerous to attempt crossing.)

He crossed the Mediterranean Sea in a rubber dinghy at 1:00am. There was a pregnant woman on board. He was out to sea for eight hours before he was rescued by a German vessel, then transferred to the Guardia Costiera who brought him to the hotspot on October 29, 2016.

Kelvin wants to go to school. He loves football (i.e. soccer) and has a ridiculous smile when you make sarcastic jokes with him.

Kelvin is an amazing human being.