Refugee of Ivory Coast


I am Issa, 24 years and was born in Ivory Coast.

I was welcomed into a hospitality center in Milan and have a residence permit on humanitarian basis. I do not have nine fingers. I met with a serious accident last winter when a friend with whom I journeyed from Africa, begged me to accompany him to Bardonecchia on the Alps, to help him to cross the boundary. I did not have any intention of leaving Italy but at the same time could not let him go alone.

We departed quickly through the region of Val d’Aosta. It was very cold. There, just before the mountains, my friend and I bid each other good bye. It was already evening and I was seated outside the station to pass the night and to wait for the first train to Milan. The station was closed and I spent the night in the open.  Even now I feel the cold in the bones every time I think of that. My hands were frozen and I clenched them into a fist to save them from cold.

In the morning I departed, but I no more felt my fingers on my hands. I could not go to the hospital because I had to re-enter Milan in order not to lose my post in the hospitality center.

I thought that boiling water would help my hands. When I arrived at the center the fingers had already entered into necrosis. They took me to the causuality, but nothing could be done. They had to amputate all of them, except the thumb finger on the right hand.

If I had not come to Italy it would not have happened. But I was forced to escape from my country, after they had attempted to kill me using machetes.

In Ivory Coast I was a construction worker and a taxi driver. Now, without fingers I am useless. In these months I studied much and have learnt Italian. I am doing all things possible to make myself autonomous, although not easy.

My dream is to find a job of a gardener. Only with artificial limbs I can begin to use my hands. The prothesis costs 10.000 euro.


This money was collected, thanks to the solidarity of many persons and today Issa can realize his dream. This is one of the stories that narrated gestures and concrete choices of solidarity where the other is looked upon as a brother to be helped and not as a stranger to be feared.