In 16 months of search and rescue on the Mediterranean, we’ve met nearly 30,000 of the most hopeful & resilient people.
Meet Michael and Rachel, 21 and 22 years old from Nigeria.
Rachel: “I was pregnant when I left Nigeria, counting up to 8 months when I left. I gave birth in Libya, Sabha precisely. I don’t have money to go to the hospital. But thanks god I delivered successfully. And my baby now is 4 months old. Yesterday we came to Italy, today makes him 4 months and 8 days. And the travel from Libya to Italy, and the sea movement, it wasn’t easy. It’s not easy for us to come but thank God we got on our journey.
Each time I think about this whole journey… Libya, Nigeria… Even crossing the sea. It’s not easy, I cry all the time. We really passed through pain. The pain was too much for us. It was too much to be there.”
June 8th was an intense day for Doctors Without Borders’ search and rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The MSF ship Bourbon Argos, that set sail from Zarzis in Tunisia, rescued 362 people from three boats in distress: 134 in the first one, 113 in the second and 115 in the third. On the three rubber rafts, the majority were from Nigeria, Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Togo and Senegal. Between the three boats, 57 women were rescued as well as 2 children.
Today is a great day for Nigeria and i am happy for my country. However, i do not believe a former dictator is “change” or did i particularly like the Jonathan administration. He would have made a better political science professor. I am hopeful that Nigeria moves forward, i am hopeful that our country achieves as much as she can, that we are transitioning into better days. It says a lot that Nigerians had to chose between a lackadaisical Jonathan and a former dictator.
I have been told about change since i was born, i have seen corruption destroy lives, i have seen a country with so much potential become what it is today. I have heard stories of a Nigeria that was at its peak but here we are, the country in Africa with the highest billionaires, with Nigerians in America being the most educated people, with failed security, with the highest GDP in Africa, with a country that curbed Ebola with so much swiftness, with so much more to offer, the irony is frightening. I am hopeful, i am very much hopeful.
I am not interested in how beautiful their children look, i am interested in how they develop my country. I am interested in seeing how Nigeria moves forward, i am interested in how important issues are tackled, how our institutions get better, how our hospitals get better and that workers are paid. That there will be peace in Northern Nigeria. I am interested in knowing we are on a path to a better Nigeria. I am hopeful, as much as i wanted Fashola to run for this seat of presidency, i hope that Buhari does a great job and i hope that Nigeria will become all she can be and our nation becomes what it has always claimed to be, The Giant of Africa.