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30th May 2017

A few days ago, the brother of one of our Children of Fortune disembarked on the Apulian coast. We have been waiting for this news with anguish for months. The ordeal we went through since we found out that he was in Libya is finally over because we now know that: he is alive.

For months we received fragmented information and what we didn’t know we heard it on the news which terrified us: tortures, slave trade, shipwrecks.

Every Sunday, while we drank coffee after lunch, we looked at each other in silence, we would chat about anything until one of us touched the sore point.

Maria, when do you think he will arrive? I don’t know. But he will come, right? I don’t know. I told him not to do it. I know. We can only wait, eat your cookies.

*Photo Copyright: Michelangelo Mignosa

And he has finally arrived and we now hope that the bureaucracy will take him here and let him join our colourful family. The wait has a different flavour now: I think about the cakes I want to make for him, all the things he’ll need, the cloths, the notebooks to learn how to read and write and the love needed to mitigate his sorrow and nostalgia.

This is migration: families seeing their children leave without knowing if they’ll ever see them again, other families waiting for them without even knowing them, a sea that can swallow them and prolong this wait forever. It means looking terrified at a body bag and not knowing who’s inside. It means crying for every lost life and wondering why you are alive. It means drinking coffees that taste of poison and not having any answer to offer.

But it also means opening the curtains and the windows to let the fresh air in, making space in the heart for a new Child of Fortune and wondering if the best way to start his integration process is by offering him a lasagna or, since it’s summer and hot, a pistachio ice cream.

After all, sometimes migration rimes with a nameless happiness.

By Maria Grazia Patania

Translator Francesca Colantuoni