MotM Update | “I Will Be In Touch With You Always”
12 December 2018
”I Will Be In Touch With You Always”
28 April 2017.
I met Ousman on the clear blue sea in the refuge of Lampedusa. It was about 10 days after his rescue on the Mediterranean. He was 16 years old.
Eighteen months pass.
In fact, I was browsing the front page of MotM recently, wondering about him and the others I’d met so long ago but never heard from. Then, a couple of days later out of the clear air, a message pops up.
“I just found [the contact you gave me in Lampedusa] and decided to search for you.”
The paper I gave him had gotten lost in the shuffle. He just found it.
This, the reason I suspect I don’t hear from so many others too––things just get lost in the move, in the disarray of a new life in a foreign land.
It feels like a miracle when this happens, like a coming-to or an awakening to a reality that’s been there all along––he has been there all along. I just couldn’t see it.
So it is with incredible enthusiasm that I share this update-in-brief with you––of this person coming back into my life; ahead of a reunion and follow-up interview when he and I will finally have the chance to meet in-person again.
Ousman, now 18, is living in a town near Naples, Italy in a converted hotel, where he shares a room with two other young men. He has been receiving Italian language education classes, so we greet each other now with a “buongiorno” instead of a hello in English.
“A lot has changed,” he said, since those first days on the island after escaping Libya. He says he is better. But he also said he is scared as he follows the news of the changing migration policies in Italy.
He has seen Minister Salvini’s new evacuation orders that have begun to remove tens of thousands of vulnerable people (including women and children) from state-funded migrant housing, to render them effectively homeless.
And it is in that vein Ousman is concerned about his fate. He continues to await the scheduling of his asylum hearing, which he said he thinks is being purposely delayed.
It helps though to have a light on, a connection with someone from the past who knows who he is––who saw how he arrived. “Sono molto felice,” he said to be in contact again in Italian, I am so happy, "I will be in touch with you always."
There is much more to share. Including an update tomorrow with another amazing person you’ve met before on MotM.
Like magic, more people keep coming out of the clear air.