“Since I Arrrived in Italy …”

Kadija J. on her reasons for coming to Europe.

Interview with Kadija J. in Palermo, 11 June 2019

My purpose of being in Europe is because I was very sick. Seriously sick. I have been to different countries in Africa like Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Gambia for medicine. But the sickness was just worsening. So I decided to come. Since I entered Italy, — at first, I would not wear shoes like this because my feet were swollen. My face, everything was swollen. My hands, they were swelling. But since I entered Italy I started taking treatment and I am good, really. I say Alhamdulillah – Thanks to God.

Interview with Kadija J. in Palermo, 11 June 2019

Kadija J. has lived in Palermo for over two years. Because she suffers from a chronic heart-lung disorder and medical supplies in her homecountry Guinea was not sufficient, she and her husband came to Palermo. They have a son who they had to leave behind in Guinea. Kadija wishes to be involved in cultural mediation within the refugee community.

During the Giocherenda Workshops Kadija told us about her reasons to come to Europe, her visions and how she reforges a new life in Palermo and supports other refugees in doing so.

How were the films and fragments in Palermo made?

Diawara B. and Diallo S. from Giocherenda held a three-day workshop with six participants in Palermo: Glory M., Fatima D., Ismail A., Kadijatu J., Marrie S. and Mustapha F. Mixing different approaches and games, the group exchanged personal experiences and shared them in the black box in front of the camera. Furthermore, Fatima D., Ismail A. and Mustapha F. consented to being portrayed in short films by the We Refugees Archive film crew beyond the workshop. The portraits deal with their lives in the city.

Giocherenda is a professional organization led by, for and with young refugees in Palermo that offers storytelling games. Its aim is not to help refugees and support them, but the opposite: refugees bring locals together for the sake of exchanging their experiences with refugees.

The word Giocherenda stems from the Fula language Pular, primarily spoken in Guinea, and connotes solidarity, interdependence and strength generated from people getting together. Phonetically, it resembles the Italian word “giocare” (to play), which inspired the collective to develop games for the sake of producing narratives and personal memories.

Refugees’ perspectives

In the interviews, the film crew consciously abstained from screenplays and standardized questions. Instead, the refugees directed the course of the interview and discussed only those topics they were willing to speak about. With We Refugee Archive’s mission in mind, the participants’ personal experiences in Palermo and their visions for the near future was the rough focal point. Thus, experiences during and personal trajectories of forced migration to Europe were shared and discussed at the individual’s own will and not required nor elicited on demand.

Interviewer: Francesca Bertin
Camera: Max Sänger
Production: Francesca Bertin