Her eyes become clear. Looking at her son, drying her tears with her sleeves, she smiles at the child, who smiles back in turn. “I was forced to escape,” she says. “The head of my village wanted to marry me, against my will. I fought against it with all my power, but he threatened me and my children with death. Together, we crossed Nigeria and the Niger, to be able to enter Libya via Agadez.” I. comes from a small Cameroonian village.
When she entered into the tent for psychological support sessions, in Augusta, Sicily, she had a baby with her, only a few months old. “My other, two-year-old, son is in the camp as well. We were imprisoned in Libya, near Tripoli, and they beat me and my children. The oldest’s head swelled, and he had black eyes, because he was hit on his skull with a bottle. Even though I know we are safe here in Italy, I still live in the fear that from one moment to the next something terrible will happen.”
I reassure her that the voyage is finished, that her children will be able to go to school, and that all three will be brought to a center for treatment. Her face relaxes a little. Her story tells us of her life and the determination of a mother to save her children. As I rise to my feet to greet her, and accompany her to her tent, I take her child in my arms and, looking into her eyes, say, “Your children are very lucky to have a mother like you.”
– Fabrizio, EMERGENCY psychologist in Sicily