A letter from… Sicily and Lampedusa
Jake Convery reports from a church-run refugee project in Sicily and Lampedusa
As part of an ecumenical group organised by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CBTI), I’ve been visiting refugee projects run by the Mediterranean Hope project on the islands of Sicily and Lampedusa. Mediterranean Hope was set up by the Italian Federation of Evangelical Churches.
Today, we stood on the Lampedusa quayside onto which refugees step off rescue boats. The refugees are in poor shape: physically, mentally and spiritually. The tiny island is 80 miles off the Tunisian coast and a perilous 290 miles by sea from Libya. We heard about the poor welcome they receive, and looked across at the unsatisfactory compound that accommodates migrants waiting to be moved to Sicily and mainland Italy.
In a complete juxtaposition, we have seen how the dedicated staff of Mediterranean Hope respond to the migrants they meet. The majority of the staff are driven by their faith. They judge migrants who arrive on the island not by their country of origin, nor the colour of their skin, nor their religion. Instead, they simply pour out gentle love and compassion to fellow human beings.
As seven young men from the UK and Ireland, we arrived in Italy with a fact-finding mindset. But for me, that has quickly changed because I’ve been so affected by the people I’ve met.
Let me tell you about two migrants I’ve met this week. Their stories will surely stay with me until I die. …
This is an extract from an article that was published in the July/August 2017 edition of Reform. A single copy of Reform costs £4. Subscribe online or call 01371 851 886. For more reflections from this trip, visit FocusOnRefugees.org or justanotherchristianvoice.wordpress.com