Meet Francesco, A Carpenter from Lampedusa

He has lived his whole live on Lampedusa. He started working as a carpenter when he was very young. After the Arab spring, many refugees arrived on Lampedusa. One day Francesco saw migrants weeping for loved ones who had drowned in the Mediterranean crossing. That's when he wanted to do more to help refugees and share their grief with the rest of the world. He started picking up driftwood from the wreckages of migrant boats and made crosses from the timber.

He has lived his whole live on Lampedusa. He started working as a carpenter when he was very young.

After the Arab spring, many refugees arrived on Lampedusa. One day Francesco saw migrants weeping for loved ones who had drowned in the Mediterranean crossing. That's when he wanted to do more to help refugees and share their grief with the rest of the world.

He started picking up driftwood from the wreckages of migrant boats and made crosses from the timber.

Lampedusa Cemetery

In the cemetery, refugees who didn't survive their escape are buried among Lampedusa inhabitants. There is no anonymous "special refugee zone". Each person has a spot where space is available. We all belong to humanity. 

Unfortunately sometimes it is impossible to identify each migrant. People of Lampedusa still give every one of them a cross and bury them with all the details they can remember, in order to give them a face, a smile, an aspiration. The sign at the entrance says: "here rest Muslims, Catholics, old and young, black and white people, all migrants who died in search of freedom."

 

Meet Priest Don Mimmo...

He makes sure every body that is found is buried with dignity.

How?

By finding out about their stories. 

This is Welela's grave. You can see her photograph on the wall.

On the boat that brought her to Lampedusa from Africa, Welela had to fill in the tank with fuel. She was fatally burnt by the gasoline and salt water mix, but stayed onboard while being burned alive, with the desperate hope of reaching her destination.

Don Mimmo found her family and made sure she could rest in peace.