From one harsh ordeal to the other, Oumoh is a 4-year old Ivorian migrant who has been tested by fate.
For the fear of female genital mutilation in her country, Ivory coast, her mother sneaked her out of the village. Together they left for Tunis to stay with a friend. Oumoh’s mother had to go back home to get a few things; and within that space of time a lot changed for Oumoh.
While her mother was away, the friend whom they stayed with in Tunis found a long awaited opportunity to travel to Italy through the Mediterranean sea. She did not go alone, she went on the dicey sojourn with little Oumoh only to abandon her to her fate during the excruciating journey.
Not much is known about the Tunis friend but Oumoh was lucky enough to be rescued by another boat at the Mediterranean sea. No one knew her there. Coupled with her already traumatized journey from fleeing an FGM culture and being abandoned at sea, Oumoh was not in the best frame of mind.
The experience was too hefty for her to decipher let alone bear. Good enough the young Ivorian girl was rescued and brought to the Italian island of Lampedusa. There she came in contact with “Mamma Maria”.
“Mamma Maria” is a fond name given to Police inspector Maria Volpe. She specializes in taking care of unaccompanied children who are victims of illegal migration. Volpe had gone to the Italian island to take Oumoh with her.
Still traumatized, Thomson Reuters Foundation confirms that she had a hard time communicating with Marilena Cefala, the head of a rehab centre where she was taken to.
From there she was taken to a children’s community in Palermo. After a few days Oumoh was returned back to the reception centre on Lampedusa. It was there that the lucky twist occurred.
It was some sort of divine coincidence that one of the children at the centre was able to recognize Oumoh’s picture in Cefala’s phone while she played with it.
Through information obtained from Facebook, a relative residing in France gave a contact number of Oumoh’s mother.
“She cried tears of joy when I told her that her daughter was safe and alive.”
Authorities will still conduct a DNA test to actually prove that the two are truly related. After that they will be re-united.