The story of Kané, Bakary and Kanjura: from the boat to a stable job thanks to a training course by an institution in Catania

“When I was a child I dreamed of becoming a doctor, but I soon realised life was going to take me elsewhere. Now, in Italy, my dream is to be a good cook”. Bakary is 19 and comes from Gambia. His story is not different from those of many other migrants. Yet, despite its apparent simplicity, it may shake our small daily beliefs. We met him in Catania together with two more young men: Kanjura from Gambia and Kané from Guinea. We met at the “Arché – Piazza dei Mestieri” headquarters. Arché is a training agency that last year started a training course for warehouse workers which was open to migrants as well. The three young men are now all employed. “When Kanjura joined the company,” says his project managers, “the atmosphere here changed and there’s much more enthusiasm today”. Kané, on the other hand, joined the Marianella Garcìa project, and he now works in a restaurant, just like Bakary.

INTEGRATION. Although their Italian transpires shyness, the boys talk about friendship and their words describe happiness and gratitude. “My dream,” says Bakary “is now a reality. Today I can study and the positive aspects outnumber the negative ones”. Kané wants to become a cook: “It’s not easy to integrate. You must go to school, learn the language, work, but with love you can do anything. I like the job, my colleagues are good people. Initially I struggled with vegetables and

tomatoes, but I’m getting better now”. They have been in Italy for two years; they speak to their mothers once a month and they use social networks to stay in touch with friends and read the news from their home countries.

THE STORY. Kané told us about how he fled Guinea and ran from Ebola. He went to the Ivory Coast first and then to Libya where he worked as a construction worker in conditions that resemble slavery, before being able to embark on the journey of his life. Countries like Libya, Sudan, Turkey and Morocco take advantage of their geographical position. Migrants forced to travel through them are kept in centres, often run by the government, where they can even be tortured. There’s a lot of money to be made out of migrants, and too often the West turns a blind eye.

A NEW PERSPECTIVE. Talking to these young men means understanding their migration from a different perspective than the one offered by the news on media. Their eyes, dark and bright at the same time, can tell you a lot more. We have in front of us human beings worthy of respect, who should not be judged based on what the TV says. Are we still able to dream new dreams? Bakary wanted to be a doctor, but reality soon took over and it did not stop him, he now wants to be a cook. How can his experience inspire us to reflect? “Every day – Bakary goes on – when I go out, I live the unexpected”. It’s only through these eyes that you can see the other face of life, the face of beauty.