Leslie Ibeanusi

Leslie Ibeanusi (Transnational AIDS Prevention among Migrant Prostitutes in Europe Project – TAMPEP): Leslie earned her BS in biology at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia (2001-2005). In 2005, she was crowned as the inaugural Miss Nigeria in America, where she represented young Nigerian women of the diaspora. Since then, she has become passionately involved in global health and social justice issues affecting women and children in African countries. She had also co-founded a nonprofit called Making Noise Inc, which uses the arts and media to raise awareness of social justice issues in Africa countries. At the time of her fellowship, Leslie had just graduated from the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she received her Master's in public health with a concentration in global health promotion.

“Too Many Italians”- Angel’s Story (Part 2)

14 Jun

Shortly after Angel’s last counselling session, she was taken by two TAMPEP social workers to have a look at a new shelter she’d be moving into next week. (In the summer, many shelters close due to lack of staff and resources to house the girls. This creates a scramble to reassign girls for the summer months). Before she left, her eyes were bright and her body language was upbeat (I was telling myself perhaps she really enjoyed the meatpie I’d given her earlier. Nah…new home trumps meatpie anyday!)

The next day, the entire TAMPEP staff met for the weekly office meeting. Here, each social worker talks about their case and gives the progress of each one. The morning was full of “Yes, Rebekah, was hired for the new job!” or “Sophia put her baby up for adoption, now she wants him back.” Since this was being translated to me from Italian, I drifted off a bit, until they brought up Angel. My ears perked up. Leaning close to my translator, I heard her update. Apparently, when Angel was taken to the shelter, she broke down crying. This new place was quite different from the shelter she was currently living, where she had mainly Nigerian girls to relate to. At this new shelter, she would be the only African among a group of Romanians, Italians, and Brazilians (who were also rescued sex workers). As the tour of the new shelter came to an end, her face slowly crumpled and tears fell.
The social worker narrated, (translation) “I think she realized what this all means for her.”

When Angel came in that afternoon, she called out a greeting to me as I passed through the waiting area. “Oh, Angel, I didn’t know you were here!” As I sat down next to her, I asked, “ I heard you didn’t like your new place. Too many Romanians and Italians for you, huh?” She laughed and looked down at her feet. I paused, as I tipped my head, trying to catch her eyes again. “You know- it wont be all that bad. Yes, its something new and different- but focus on where you are going. It’s an ends to a means. You wont be there forever.” She raised her eyes to mine, with a pensive and serious face. “Yes, yes, I know.” I continued, “You’ll manage it and you will be strong. You’re already strong.” Angel sighed, as if doubting what I’d just told her. “You are!” playfully poking her in her side.

Wanting to lighten the mood, I asked her, “So what kind of food was in the kitchen there?” She immediately distorted her face, showing disgust, as she responded, “Italian food!” I laughed, as I asked her, “ What’s wrong with Italian food?” “I don’t know,” she responded. “The way they make their food is somehow…” (Naija people… African people for that matter…we all know what “somehow” means right?!)

Angel and I laughed together.
What a sweet girl she is.

(This blog, and the others, can also be viewed on the Making Noise site at: http://www.myspace.com/livethenoise
Making Noise- using arts and media to “make noise” about social injustices affecting Africans))

Posted By Leslie Ibeanusi

Posted Jun 14th, 2007


  • Jane N.

    June 14, 2007


    The blog is great. The story of Angel really touched me. I know Italy is a great place. Keep up the good work and Keep God in all you do.

  • Jennifer

    June 18, 2007


    haha! “somehow”

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