I have always seen myself as a pilgrim who walks, step by step and at his own pace, towards his destiny, towards his final destination. While I knew the word "migrant", which has been suddenly thrust in the news for the past ten years by politicians and the media, it was not a word I used…
I preferred to use two terms that were related and more precise: "emigrant", one who leaves his or her country and becomes an "immigrant" when he or she arrives and settles in another country.
And yet, in fact, I have been a migrant since birth. Up-rooted, at one year old, due to the death of my father, I had already left my birthplace: my first migration, a geographical one, took place at an early age. By the time I became an adult, four more migrations had occurred. As of today, I have experienced twenty-seven other migrations, through eight countries.
During these migrations, I worked in eleven different professions: teacher, member of a religious order, professor, rural development consultant, farmer, expert for the World Bank, translator, forwarding agent for a public works company, in-house consultant and trainer, diocesan bursar, technical advisor of an NGO...
If we consider that the migrant is someone who is constantly on the move, physically as in his most personal life, how could I not be a migrant, I who have been shaped by so many different encounters that have broadened my little family horizon and opened it to other worlds whose strangeness fascinated me? Yes, the Josefa Foundation is right, in space as in time, we are, all and always, migrants: it is really our nature.
The wealth of gifts shared in this reciprocal hospitality disproves the common proverb: "the hand that gives is above that which receives", because, if it does not close itself after giving, the hand that gives also receives from the hand that receives; rather than one on top of the other, the real picture would then be the grip of two hands clasping each other. This is the human economy, interpersonal, of course, but also societal, of exchange and sharing, without us being able to decide who brings the most, especially if this economy of donations and counter-donations is not limited to money or material goods, but embraces the other values, cultural and spiritual, which are at the heart of our humanity.