I am 220: Surviving a Migrant Boat Disaster

Collection with 17 media items created by Transterra Editor

11 Oct 2013 15:00

October 15, 2013
Trapani, Italy

"I am 27 years old, originally I came from Nigeria. I crossed from Libya to Italy in a small boat. 105 people went with me and 103 of them survived," said Refugee 220.

In Sicily I stumbled upon a fenced camp in the harbor town of Trapani. At this camp I met number 220. He is one of about 800 people who crossed over from Africa to Italy in the last three weeks. After the tragedy of the third of October, the sea has become a human cemetery. Number 220 is one of the lucky ones. He made it to land.

Number 220 says he was living in Libya, but the situation there drove him to attempt the crossing. He survived, but two women on his small boat died before a commercial ship took them on board. Eventually they ended up in an old gym in Trapani. He spends his days here with 85 other young men. ‘This is already better than Libya, I feel safe here and don’t hear gunshots anymore.’

The men in the gym have no idea what will happen to them. They don’t speak a word of Italian and the guards of the camp don’t speak English. They are totally in the dark about their status and tell me I am the first person to speak English to them since they arrived.

Since the guards don’t give me any information either, and won’t let me enter the camp, number 220 and me decide to meet outside the camp. Here I give him a disposable camera, so he can show me his life inside the camp. ‘I don’t do much inside, mainly sleep and sit on the patio with other guys from Nigeria. And wait.’

The quality of these analogue photos is not the best. Number 220 is not a professional photographer. But in my opinion his slightly dark, bleakly colored and out of focus photos perfectly reflect 220’s life at the moment. He lives on the edge of our society. His name is Louis. He could be a friend.

Photos and Text By:
Berta Banacloche / Jeffry Ruigendijk / Refugee 220

Trapani Itali Refugees Libya African Sicily Collection Boat Port Harbor Nigeria

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
11 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
View from the patio, through the eyes of refugee no. 220.

Thumb sm
I am 220
Trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
11 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
The basket now serves as a drying rack for refugees in an old gym in Trapani.

Thumb sm
I am 220
Trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
A refugee walks through the old gym that now serves as a refugee camp.

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
11 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
Refugees pass time on their mattresses inside the old gym that now serves as a refugee camp.

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
The floor of the gym, that now serves as a refugee camp, is covered in mattresses.

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
View through the door of the gym that now serves as the new home of refugee no. 220

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
Days are filled with idle time for the refugees who now live in an old gym.

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
Dinner through the eyes of refugee no. 220.

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
A refugee lays on his mattress in the old gym that now serves as a refugee camp.

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
A refugee scavenges the garbage for valuables. Most of them left Libya in small fishing boats without much space for possessions.

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
Refugees pass time sitting on the patio of the old gym that is now their home. They are allowed out about three hours per day, the rest of the time they spend inside.

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
11 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
The scarce possessions of the refugees are laid out on their mattresses. Approx. 85 refugees live in this gym at the moment.

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
Nigerian refugees flock together on the patio of the old gym that now serves as a refugee camp.

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
A refugee lays on one of the mattresses in the old gym that now serves as a refugee camp. Days are filled with idle time for most refugees.

Thumb sm
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Photo by: Refugee 220
The sun sets over the old gym that now serves as a refugee camp.

Thumb sm
I am 220
Trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Number 220 gets a disposable camera to take photos of life inside the refugee camp. All refugees get a number upon arrival in Trapani. Photo by: Berta Banacloche

Document thumbnail
I am 220
trapani, italy
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Oct 2013

Refugee story from Sicily, Italy, including photos made by the refugee in his camp.