I went to Lampedusa when the "emergency" was on every Italian's mind.
It was the front page of every paper, the opener for every news cycle, the topic during talk shows. The main point I was getting was that the Lampedusans were angry, the island devastated by these people who were essentially squatting everywhere, that the locals had taken to not leaving their homes, their lives destroyed.
I saw the opposite, the locals taking in these immigrants, feeding them, clothing them, some families hosting 3 or 4 immigrants under their roof, others giving them their boats to sleep in, or their garages .I met two local volunteers—Pippo and Maurizio they introduced me to this local family—the Matinas—who were hosting a lot of immigrants.
That's how i met Ahmed, a 23-year-old Tunisian who was being looked after by the Matinas. A great kid.
The family gave him clothes, allowed him to use the bathroom, cooked for him, they said to him "This house is your house now", .
Ahmed told me he earned 60 euros a month as a waiter in Biserta, where he lived, and had to pay bordercrossers 800 euros for a 25 hour boat ride with another two dozen Tunisians. His mother had sold half her belongings in order to help him take the trip.
"I left for my future, for my family," he told me.
The Matinas even wanted him to stay on the island, but Ahmed had to be moved to another CIE ("Center for Identification and Expulsion), I tried to meet him but i had no permission to get in, he finally obtained a temporary permit for six months, now he has to find a job or he will be re-patriated.
Ahmed went to Verona where his older sister lives , she works in a bar with her boyfriend but unfortunately they have no space in their house and not job opportunities for him.Ahmed decided to return to his "second family" in Lampedusa.
He tried to find a job, but it is very hard because the economy of Lampedusa is collapsing and he will be probably re-patriated.
The story of Ahmed, is one of the many young Tunisians landed on this island who in the revolution has found the strength and the hope to decide to leave his country.
I tried to capture photographs was able to transmit the single moments of the stay of Ahmed , his fears for the future, and his relationship with the island.