Meet_Larry
 
All the life is useless there.
 
  Larry (R) and his friend Kelvin (L) at the football field by the port; wooden ships laid to rest in the background.

Larry (R) and his friend Kelvin (L) at the football field by the port; wooden ships laid to rest in the background.

Meet Larry.

 

Meet Larry.

18 years old and from Nigeria.

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

His journey took one year and five months. He left Nigeria because it was unsafe. His uncle was a clothing vendor, but when the market he worked at was bombed he was killed; Larry fled.

He has trouble articulating details. Part of this is because of cultural nuances in communication; many of the guys I meet have a different way of asking and answering questions than Americans and Europeans. So sometimes I ask questions twice or more to get precise details; but sometimes asking again and again is aggravating, as any one can understand. At the hotspot there are a number of people employed who are native to their African countries to facilitate communication, not as translators, but as “cultural mediators.”

The other reason it might be difficult to communicate is because Larry suffered a head injury. Of his one year and five month journey, he spent one year and two months in Libyan prison; he was beaten there and took a blow to his head.

He gets headaches. He says he doesn’t know what to do.

In prison he lost track of time and the days. There were more than 1,000 people in captivity. “All the life is useless there,” he said. He escaped prison, which was somewhere within the Tripoli city limits, and made it to the coast.

He crossed the Mediterranean Sea in a rubber dinghy. There were women and babies on board the raft, which was out at sea for 7-9 hours, he says. He was rescued by a German ship then transferred to the care of the Guardia Costiera who brought him to Lampedusa on October 29, 2016.

There is only one thing Larry wants to do when he gets to mainland Europe: go to school.

Larry is an amazing human being.