“What are your plans now?”
“I want to study”
R. is 14 years old, and comes from Eritrea. He waits for me, seated, with his arms folded; I shake his hand, as adults do, and say hello. I ask him how he is doing.
“Things are bad. My entire body hurts, but this does not matter. The important thing is that I arrived alive, and I did not have to join the army. I have seen my friends die, and I myself risked death.” While he is speaking, he lifts his t-shirt and shows me the wounds from torture that he underwent during the trip.
“In Eritrea, national military service is required, and if you do not do it, you are forced into labour. I would have like to have studied in Eritrea to become a doctor, but it was not possible. I escaped, without telling anyone, not even my mother and father, aware that I would be risking my life, and that the journey would be very dangerous. I had no other opportunity. In my country, I would never be free.”
– Fabrizio, EMERGENCY psychologist in Sicily