In Claviere, a small town in the upper Valsusa, the last Italian municipality before the French border, the thermometer, despite the sunny day, when evening falls shows no more than 9 or 10 degrees. The houses and businesses are mostly closed because it is the low season and the streets, which until a few weeks ago were crossed by holidaymakers, are almost deserted and those walking are in a hurry, wrapped in the first autumn duvet. And so, the migrants, sitting in front of the church which is a few meters from the Town Hall, waiting to set off towards the border towards France, are looking for a bit of shelter, some on the steps of a house, some others breaking small branches to keep I live a weak fire, most of them looking around, one next to the other, with the disoriented air of someone who doesn’t know what to do or where to go.
To break the even flow of time, the arrival of a Red Cross van bringing them water and biscuits: one after the other they line up, then, having taken the package, they return to where they came from. And the van, having completed its task in one of the many daily transfers, leaves waiting to return to accompany those waiting at the border, which is just over a couple of kilometers away, or to Oulx, if the reception center still has places available, or further down the valley, in Bussoleno.
They, the migrants, have little desire to speak, they don’t know the language, some try to express themselves in English, but it’s difficult. What we can sense is that they arrive from long and complicated journeys, many from Lampedusa, they have left their countries of origin, Sudan, Guinea, and now they are waiting for a new future, they want to go to France, someone to reach a relative, someone, perhaps, to continue towards other destinations. And among all of them there are those who ask to be able to call the emergency number and the operator who asks if they need a doctor or an ambulance simply replies ‘Oulx’, which means welcome.