The three L’s

To flourish and thrive, the migrant-being that we are needs what Pope Francis calls the three L’s: Labour, Land, and Lodging. Many of those who decide to leave their homeland do so because, one way or another, they have not found or they have lost one of these 3 L’s.

There are many people who live by their wits, “getting by” in the underground economy, because they cannot find a job, even after graduating from university: some graduates are driving taxis or selling thrift at the market. Some of them, dazzled by advertisements from so-called rich countries, then decide to try their luck by going elsewhere to find what they do not find at home and take the risk of an often dangerous migration.

Others, because of local conflicts or due to adverse weather conditions like drought or flooding, are driven off their land and also take to the road and migrate elsewhere. As a result, they lose the 3rd L, their lodging.

Thus, for various reasons, those who have left their homeland lose all of their 3 L’s and find themselves most often without Labour, Land, and Lodging, which they lack to better themselves. But, in fact, this is not the time for self-fulfilment: it is urgent that they find shelter, to protect themselves from the cold, rain, and even snow, to survive.

From the tent on a sidewalk to a facility or shelter where the risk of theft or aggression is great, we are still far from the desired lodging. And, moreover, one finds oneself in a foreign land, far from one’s homeland, the land of one’s ancestors and one’s own home.

A few “moonlighting” jobs can lead to a job that is, in fact, literally only one’s “bread and butter”, but not the kind of job in which someone can thrive.

As we can see, many people are deprived of the 3 L’s that are desirable for their self-fulfilment, and are reduced to a subservient human existence.

Those of us who, for the most part, benefit from the 3 L’s, even if they are not always quite satisfactory, how much hospitality can we share with those who are less fortunate? This questions both our policies and our personal capacity to be open and welcoming to our Other-migrant.