At the Centro Astalli Sud in Naples, refugees and asylum seekers find shelter, meals, legal and medical assistance. Most of the occupants have made their journey from Lybia to Sicily, where those registered are sent to various centres in Italy. The Centro Astalli Sud is one of these. Spending some time at the centre, I got to learn some of their stories, experiences and aspirations.
The most common experience is the painful ordeals of an existence in terrible poverty or one where there is no way out but to flee because of conflict and war. Today, they are dealing with the emotional scars of having left their home and families and the anxiety of an uncertain future. For some, the added trauma of being victims of torture, hate crimes and violence makes the limbo state a greater stress.
There is a great divide between those that have just arrived and those that have already being at the centre for a while. The effect of the traumatic journey at sea and the vivid images and feelings of what they went through in their countries is quite evident in their eagerness to speak, just so to release their energy and need for comfort.
Those that have been in the centre and in Italy for some time l are more withdrawn and anxious about their future and livelihood. The stress of not knowing is palpable and so is their need to take hold of their lives. For many this answer is not so reachable.