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Testimony of the Lavalla200> Community in Syracuse

14/06/2018: Italy

The Community Lavalla200> Syracuse in Italy was born in October 2016, to serve mainly unaccompanied children and young people, refugees or immigrants who disembark in Italy.

Its members are Gabriel Bernardo da Silva (Brazil Centro-Sul), Br Onorino Rota (Mediterranea), Mario Araya Olguín (Santa Maria de los Andes) and Br Ricardo Gómez Rincón (Norandina).

Below is a testimony of the community’s newsletter, number 24, published on June 10.

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On April 15, 218 immigrants disembarked in the port of Augusta. Three ambulances arrived before the start of operations, an obvious sign that aboard the ship there are people, who are ill and that they must be taken urgently to the hospital. Nabilah, a young woman of 20 years who was taken to the Hospital Umberto I of Syracuse, got on the first ambulance. She underwent an emergency surgery, a Cesarean, giving birth to two children of 1600 grams. The news appeared in the media and journalists made the usual queue to get their scoop. Then, as often happens, there was nothing but silence. Ono was called to the hospital to talk to Nabilah, who comes from Ivory Coast and who, in addition to her language, was able make herself be understood in French. Like all young women her age, she had found her love, but her father demanded that she marry a much older man. There were no alternatives, the only solution was to flee, and she escaped with the consent of hes mother. The trip with her boyfriend lasted over a year. From the problems experienced during the trip, we can imagine the difficulties they had encountered. In their passage through Libya, both suffered all kinds of torture and violence, as all immigrants suffer, and which social networks are now beginning to show us images of. Nabilah got pregnant and, as I understand, she did not know if the children were from her boyfriend or from the rape she suffered. At the incubator next to her two little ones, she told me, crying, “They are white!”

The trip from Libya to Italy was not long, but rather complicated. The two boats that picked up the refugees landed in two different ports and, until now, Nabilah has no news of her boyfriend. She was traveling in a packed boat where she could not move. She spent a long time standing because there was no place to sit, much less to lie down. After a day and a half on the sea, she noticed that her baby (she still did not know there were two) was no longer moving. As soon as she got on the Coast Guard boat, the crew gave her the necessary treatment, but they immediately understood the seriousness of the case and notified the IRC (Italian Resuscitation Council) of the town of Augusta.

Nabilah is now in a centre near Syracuse and sometimes goes to the hospital to see how the two little ones are growing. I have not yet had the courage to talk calmly with her (mostly due to a lack of time), but I have asked myself, “how is she living this moment? How will she find the love for the two creatures that she carried in her womb,but that maybe she did not want and that are the result of violence instead of love? What effect will that sentence have that she said, in tears, “they are white!”?
Maybe I'm asking myself too many questions. I only hope that the smile of God, the smile of Mary and the smile of many other people with a big heart can give these children all the warmth they need to make their lives become a beautiful song.

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