Waving her UMCOR food vouchers, Mariama praises God: “He will surely provide for me,” she told Graziella of Pellegrino della Terra. Photo: Pelegrino della Terra
By Pellegrino della Terra*
The rough journey of so many migrants to Italy is hard to describe. Earlier this month one survivor, Mariama, a migrant from Nigeria, spoke to Pellegrino della Terra about her ordeal.
The ship Mariama voyaged in was destroyed at sea during a storm; she and her two small children were among the survivors. She described the shipwreck as “God’s intervention to save lives.” Mariama said the storm had felt like an epic battle between God and the devil.
“I saw how the sea can engulf many people at a time whenever there is storm,” she said. “People were shouting and calling on the name of God.”
Mariama explained, “I was travelling with my two children. They were crying because they hadn’t eaten for two days. I gave them only water to drink; the sea took all our belongings.I lost everything except these children that the Lord gave me,” said Mariama.
“We faced a lot of difficulties passing through the desert, but the Lord was with us,” she continued. “That was the only hope that kept me alive through the storm: The Lord would bring me out of this storm and save my children. And really he is faithful!”
Mariama told us this story as confirmation of her faith that the living God never abandons us in the midst of danger. And she continues to rely on her faith, as her present situation in Italy is full of challenges. The reception center where she lives cannot provide adequately for her and the children as available resources are tight. There are thousands of migrants in this region, and unemployment is high here, so there is little to share.
Mariama visited our office earlier this month and told us she has not even been able to buy milk and pampers for the children. She is a single parent, and we really understood her situation and how she struggles to make ends meet.
When we told her about the Temidire project, which is sponsored by UMCOR [United Methodist Committee on Relief] to assist recent migrants in Italy, her face lit up. As she received the UMCOR food vouchers Mariama started singing: “He is my provider; He is my sustainer; He will surely provide for me.”
Surely, UMCOR has changed the situation of many people, and they are giving a living testimony.
* Pellegrino della Terra is a Sicilian voluntary organization that is partnering with UMCOR to provide food relief for recently arrived migrants in Sicily, Italy.