"We Never Thought It Would Be Like This": Refugees' Experiences In Sicily

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The arrival of refugees by boat to Sicily is not, perhaps, significant in numbers, but from a humanitarian point of view it is a crisis in the truest sense of the word. Refugees that arrive in port cities are more susceptible to trafficking due to their extra vulnerability and impaired emotional and physical states. The three main preoccupations refugees are: the arduous and often deadly journey, their treatment upon arrival, and rebuilding their lives in a society that does not want them. They often wonder if what they encounter in Sicily is in some ways worse than the place they left. These refugees are both from refugee camps and refugee centers where I spent time and engaged the, predominantly men, in small conversation(s) that led to in-depth interviewing. These poems represent the journey not as a choice, but a destiny of sorts. Poetic inquiry allows me to represent my data in a variety of ways, and to avoid trying to say everything all at once in any one particular piece. These poems show the refugees’ social, mental and physical battles upon arrival. My intention is to pluck them from the masses and let their humanity and their particular experiences shine forth.