My home is your home

When we set out on our trip to Sicily, we asked ourselves “How beautiful is the island going to be?” or, as one of us said, “How are people going to welcome us?”. Of course, more than one of us has some kind of basic knowledge about the island: some about pizza, pasta and cannoli, others about the amazing beaches, and someone a bit nervous, uneasy and confused about “Sicilian mafia”.

ye_my-home-is-your-home-1When we landed in Palermo we were very excited and we wanted to make the most out of a trip that, without any doubt, was going to leave a mark on us for the rest of our lives. Our stay there, in Gibellina, was going to last ten day, which sometimes would seem endless but that, for the most part, would motivate us to wanting to stay there forever.

There were 30 of us, from Bulgaria, Armenia, Greece, Portugal, central Africa and South America… in short, more than 20 different nationalities. So you can imagine how much we were able to learn about other countries.

During the exchange people exchanged their moving stories, as well as the spine-chilling realities some of the participants had to live. Imagine a 12-year-old girl who runs from her home because social norms force her into marrying a man much older than her, a man in his 30ies. She escaped from the sad role that is imposed upon girls in that country, which adds to the misery, insecurity, violence and never-ending conflicts which she, and many others, need to run away from. ye_my-home-is-your-home-3We got a vague idea to what had to live those young people, who has our same age. But, no matter how much we tried, it’s very difficult to be able to imagine a reality so different from the one the majority of us lives… we, who are the lucky ones.

This project enabled us to know the history of the immigrants, the difficulties they meet in the hosting country, the migratory policies of the EU, and the possible solutions to migration. It made us realize that we need to demand our politicians take efficient measures in order to give immediate support, to redistribute the migrants in Europe and to regulate their situation. In addition, we saw how we can contribute to their integration, among many other things.

ye_my-home-is-your-home-4Beyond the formal and educational side of the project and the displease some of us felt when hearing the reality of what immigrants and refugees who were there with us went through, we have to highlight also the good moments of joy, dance and games. The incessant and deep conversations, the nights without sleep because, as we said before, we wanted to enjoy and make the most out of everything with people who felt like lifelong friends, rather than new ones. It didn’t matter where we were from or to which social class we belonged: it was definitely the reflexion of the plurality, diversity, tolerance, respect, mutual help and happiness that we wish for Europe and the rest of the world.

Said y Sara