The 11th October
This day was a work day for we had a lot to do.
Teresa Renda offered a T-shirt to each participant and received their instructions and there they went to do what they were told. It was a very important day for they were going to interview the immigrants and record images that will be used in making a film on this issue.
During the morning, now in smaller groups, to be easier, the students interviewed the immigrants who were in their groups in different places in Pozzallo, and the Belgian teachers recorded them.
While this activity was going on the teachers visited the Istituto Tecnico Nautico, one of the three schools integrated into the Istituto di Istruzione Superiore Giorgio La Pira. The Nautico as the name indicates is especially interested in forming technicians to work in ships, such as commanders and different person to be on board helping, touristic ships, cruises, etc.
It was great to see the specialized rooms where they have classes, and looking out of the window and see the Mediterranean.
At the end of the morning, at the end of the activity, everybody was supposed to meet in Raganzino Beach, in one of the extremities of Pozzallo.
It was the moment to do the chemical analysis of the Mediterranean water. All students, but especially the Portuguese, who were sure the most active, participated in this activity.
The results of the analysis of oxygen dissolved, clorets, nitrates, nitrites, fosfates and ammonium and the measure of pH, we verified the excellent quality of the water.
After lunch we had the most emotional part of the day or perhaps of all days: we met and were received by the Captain of the Port of Pozzallo, responsible for all the activities in the port and for the activities related with the crossing and receiving the immigrants coming from Africa by sea. When the Italian Navy detects vessels that abandon the African coasts, go to meet them, so as to transport safely the immigrants to the various places in Sicily where there are host centers. All this activity is coordinated by the Italian authorities in Pozzallo and in other places in the island.
With the Captain, it was also Dr Moretti, one of the responsible doctors for the hosting of immigrants. He is the first person to get into the boats full of immigrants to evaluate the conditions of the people inside, conditions of health, especially the children who travel in horrible sub-human conditions and at the same time see if there are sick or dead people among them.
The experiences he decided to share with us that occurred during 16 years of his activity in this job were shocking and too emotional for those who heard him. The most dramatic cases let us completely perplexed by what is going on in the Mediterranean with so many people. Watching on TV doesn’t have the same impact…they are far away and not here near, close to us…but sharing their fate, even for a week bothers us and makes us restless.
We could see the so-called vessels that are no more than small boats that arrive with huge amounts of people that are crushed, asphyxiated, thrown to the sea…the diseases, the suffering of the children aboard and of their mothers who by being pregnant give birth in the trip, deaths by drowning, by fighting, by trying to survive…terrible. We heard some reports very lively ones, that let the students shocked with the reality that came to their lap.
The people from southern Sicily is in touch with this reality for long when thousands of people go in boats with no conditions whatsoever, too full of women, men and children trying to escape from misery, poverty, war, famine, …with the hope and dream of getting better conditions of life.
Thanks to them that allowed us to share a little of their experience and get a close vision of reality.
Europe has a big problem with immigrants, the ones that are lucky to arrive on our continent. Perhaps it is time to look for a solution in the long run or soon enough the problem will be so big no one can do a thing.