African refugees and migrants have arrived in Malta in their thousands over the past decade. Reuters photographer Darrin Zammit Lupi has been covering the story closely all that time.
Migration is among the defining trends of the early 21st century, says the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), with more people on the move today than at any other time in history.
Boredom remains a major problem in a place where people are left waiting for something, anything, to happen; a place where until relatively recently, there has been little effort to help them integrate or acquire skills.
This is compounded by the fact that many of them show little interest in integrating in Malta. Most only ended up here unintentionally: either they needed rescuing or they mistook Malta for Italy.
Most want to leave sooner rather than later. They firmly believe they are just in transition, which makes learning their host country’s language and culture doubly hard.
It was clear that none of the refugees who have landed in Malta want to stay a minute longer than necessary. They feel trapped here; they can’t go back to where they came from and have little prospect of an attractive future by staying on the island.
Any opportunity to escape from limbo is jumped at headfirst.