10 May 2016
10 May 2016
A life starting in Niger
Sekou arrived in Ortisei on the 8th January and has now started to work at La Perla. He works in the kitchen and helps out with the staff lunches.
"Sekou’s story is one of survival, one born of misery and a search for hope which for once does not end in disappointment."
A story of immigration. A story of poverty, slavery, illness, war. It is unfortunately a story like many others but with an element of hope. This story has a name and the name is Sekou. Sekou is a man of 35 and is a sociable type and he moves lightly with no indication that his parents and sister are no longer alive and not withstanding the fact that his jouney took him to Libya and that he crossed the seas on one of the many boats which reaches our shores here in Italy. His parents had abandoned he and his sister when they were still young and had gone off to seek better things in another village. When Sekou grew up he went to search for his mother and father but he discovered that his mother had died and that his father had been made a slave. Years went by and his sister also died and Sekou was left desolate. He tried to get by working as a welder but it was not enough and he slipped into a life of poverty and misery and the future seemed without hope. When times are so bad the only way to change things is to go and look to change your fortune, even if that means going far far away, even to places you never knew of before and have no idea of what awaits you. It is easy to come across danger, to be humiliated and be the subject of violence. Thinking of Sekou’s life one can easily think that life is a lottery of birth. Niger, where he was born, is one of the poorest ten countries in the world in terms of GDP. There is poverty everywhere, two thirds of the territory is dessert. It is an ex French colony and is a presidential Republic. Mortality rates amongst babies aged between 1 and 4 are disturbing: only 248 out of 1000 survive. All the statistics regarding survival and life expectancy are disturbing. All this I know because I have turned part of my parents house in Ortisei into a welcome centre for political refugees, this done through a plan established with the Provincial authorities. This winter there was endless useless chatter on the subject. Sekou arrived in Ortisei on the 8th January and has now started to work at La Perla. He works in the kitchen and helps out with the staff lunches. Yesterday as I travelled with him from Ortisei to Corvara I asked myself what impression he had of the magnificent imposing Dolomites all around. I asked myself many other things and although I did not get many answers I realised that this was not the essential matter at stake. The essential things are the concrete things and even more so when survival and hope and future are concerned. In this instance it is how to get a job and how to work in order to gain a permit so that a new life can emerge in this country where he finds himself. It is no small matter and I think it is the minimum we can do for Sekou.