We first met Mussab on a long and troubled day. He was at the hospital in one of the poorest and most marginalized districts in Tripoli, a town in the north of Lebanon.
It took us a very long time, many efforts and strong determination, but in the end Mussab was granted the possibility to come to Italy, in Genoa, to cure his serious disease. This was possible thanks to a network of solidarity composed by dozens of people and organizations. This is a story of courage, strong will, and change. What we share with you here is another chapter of this wonderful story…

Today Muss, as we now call him, has ended his career at the lower secondary school with an online presentation in front of us, his teachers, who had tailored the questions to suit him. He held the presentation in such a brilliant and involving way that we were really moved and were left speechless, so that we felt unable to say goodbye at the end.
The title of his presentation was “No more wars” and it started with a quotation from an Italian song “C’era una volta la mia vita, c’era una volta la mia casa, c’era una volta e voglio che sia ancora” (Il mio nome è mai più, Jovanotti, Pelù, Ligabue) .
We were his teachers for 2 years, and these were 2 special years for us.

Muss was introduced in his class, 2 C, in the middle of the 2nd year at the lower High School, when the other students had already created and consolidated their group. He is a quiet and reserved boy. However, his classmates, who are odd, outgoing teenagers, were really welcoming with him, as if he had always been part of the group. They invited him to birthday parties, they helped him with the homework.
Parents, too, never asked questions about Muss, not even when they noticed his mother wearing a black dress and hijab at the parents’ meeting. She was incredibly elegant, of course, but this was very unusual to see in our corridors .
Girls “studied” Mussab at a distance, at first. He could not speak Italian well, but he understood everything and thanks to sport, activities, oral tests, trips, breaks even the girls slowly got to know him. Even if Muss is really shy and not used to dealing with girls, he found them so “clever and beautiful”, as he himself admitted, so in the end they got on really well.
Muss started to tell his story to two of his classmates and he went on sharing his experiences during class discussion. His mates were so moved by his words that once, as we were reading a passage from Manzoni’s “The Betrothed” when Lucia, one of the main characters, has to say goodbye to her homeland, some of them commented: “A friend of mine, like Lucia, was forced to leave everything behind him. This is so unfair!”.
Muss can now speak Italian very well, he followed the lessons and took part in all the activities, especially those linked to sport.
He prayed with his mates, he discussed with us and we teachers supported him, scolded and loved him.
There’s no real purpose for this letter, we just wanted to show that, as Muss stated in his presentation, there are places of peace where getting on well together, sharing different religions and cultures, being shy and extrovert, a child and a teenager at the same moment is possible. There are places of PEACE and we have witnessed them as teachers. A different world is still possible.
We would like to thank those who saved Muss from the beginning and brought him to Italy because they understood his problem. Those who assisted and took care of him in Genoa. We would like to thank those who gave him and his family a shelter. And Pope Francis, who raised his voice for the migrants during the first Angelus in 2018: “It is important that everyone, from civil institutions, to educational, welfare and ecclesial bodies are committed to ensuring a future of peace for ‎refugees, migrants and everyone else”. His appeal touched our hearts. We would like to thank our students, who welcomed Muss spontaneously and without making a fuss of it.

May Muss and all the other refugees, migrants, victims of war have the right to live. May all the Musses on earth always believe that it is possible to achieve peace without war. May all the Musses have the right to work, study and build a future of peace for everyone.
As teachers, we just wanted to tell all the volunteers, the links in the chain of love which surrounded Muss, that we are ready to let him free to step into the world, and we are sure he will share what he has lived and learned. Finally, we wanted to thank them for this special and extraordinary experience we had with him.

Saronno, 17th June 2020
Muss’s teachers from the Scuola Secondaria I grado
Istituto Orsoline di San Carlo Saronno