Open Encounters

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I got to see Italy through Africa when Richard (Nigeria) and I reunited in Pisa, Italy after more than two years since our initial meeting on Lampedusa island in April 2017. He whisked me through the crowds and we posed for a shot where we held up the famous leaning tower––an amazing and very fun day. In this conversation, he talks about testifying against his traffickers in Sicily, the asylum process, racism, and the meaning of the word “lapalapa,” the Nigerian slang term for the rubber boat that crosses the Mediterranean Sea. He now lives in Pisa, Italy with one-year papers awaiting work and the next steps for his documentation. Recorded in Pisa, October 2019.

Show Notes

Read Richard’s original journey story on the site––anche disponibile in italiano. His followup story and photo essay is forthcoming.

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What is Open Encounters?

Hear the voices of the people who have crossed the Mediterranean Sea. After crossing continents, countries, the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean on inflatable boats, now they are on the next journey, of settling their lives in Italy, and beyond.

From humanitarian storytelling publication Migrants of the Mediterranean, this podcast brings light to the migrant flow in Italy and the EU in human terms. Migration continues to dominate the headlines in Europe, the US and around the world, but still so often only in political terms. Here, we change that.

Get to know the individuals themselves in one-on-one conversations with host and founder of Migrants of the Mediterranean, Pamela Kerpius.

Learn more about Migrants of the Mediterranean and read every journey story at the site.