Madame Monsieur have finally met Mercy

Two weeks ago, we reported that the French duo Madame Monsieur was to meet Mercy – the girl who inspired their Eurovision 2018 entry – “very soon”. And they indeed visited her on August 28th, in Italy, as reported by the French local newspaper Nice Matin.

Mercy’s situation

Mercy was born on March 21st 2017 on the Aquarius ship, after her mother Taïwo had been rescued on the Mediterranean Sea. Mother and daughter eventually ended up in one of the largest migrant camp in Europe, in Mineo, Sicilia. They stayed there for more than a year, and this is where French journalist Éric Valmir found them a few months ago.

However, with the help of lawyers, an NGO, and the discreet support and attention of Madame Monsieur, the small family was given the official status of refugee (as Taïwo was fleeing violence in Nigeria), and was also given the right to move to a far smaller refuge a month ago, part of a small residential building in a village in the south of Sicily. They share it with a dozen other migrants, and are free to come and go.

Now, Taïwo is learning Italian, in order to work, and Mercy will start to go to the nursery. As she is still very young, she starts to speak too and might very well learn Italian as a mother tongue. She is already shouting “Ciao, ciao!” to everybody.

Madame Monsieur meeting Mercy

The French couple (Jean-Karl and Émilie) met Mercy and Taïwo on the morning of August 28th. At first, as they arrived, they were hesitant, fearing about their “legitimacy”.

Honestly, we were wondering who we were, what legitimacy we had to go there, us, two Frenchies, with a bag full of presents and with our guitar.

Madame Monsieur

They stepped in the building and first saw a massive mural painted in warm colours on one of the refuge’s walls, on the ground floor. It depicted two hands lifting a boat full of migrants out of the sea. Mercy was there, on her feet, holding the hand of an employee from the refuge, and then Taïwo arrived.

[Mercy] was a bit shy, reserved. Thankfully, there were many children around her to reassure her.

Madame Monsieur
[Taïwo] walked down the stairs, superb, beautiful. We fell into each others’s arms.

Madame Monsieur

Then Mercy started to walk closer to the couple, slowly, step by step.

And then, suddenly, she literally climbed on me, grabbed my neck and put her cheek on mine. I didn’t know what to do, I was petrified in happiness.

Émilie Satt

Then Jean-Karl took his guitar, and the duo started to sing their song, “Mercy”, which they wrote the same day Mercy was born. Obviously, it was a very strong moment for Madame Monsieur.

I almost stopped in the middle of the song.

Émilie Satt

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15 mois après sa naissance à bord de l’Aquarius, 15 mois après l’avoir racontée en chanson, nous rencontrons enfin Mercy et sa maman Taiwo. C’était une journée comme on en vit peu, débordant de joie, de tendresse et de rires. Finalement on se connaissait déjà très bien. On a chanté joue contre joue, pleuré un peu, raconté dans le désordre, observé pour garder longtemps dans le cœur ces sentiments uniques. Depuis un peu plus d’un mois Taiwo et Mercy sont à l’abris en Sicile dans un foyer pour femmes et enfants, après un long séjour passé dans le plus grand camp de migrants d’Europe. Mercy ira demain à la crèche et Taiwo à l’école pour apprendre l’italien et pouvoir ensuite trouver un travail. Puisque comme nous, vous avez aimé cette petite fille et son histoire incroyable, voici quelques images de cette journée précieuse. 🙏🏻♥️🙏🏻 Merci à Alessandro, Mathilde, Éric, Greg, @SOSMEDITERRANEE et Casa delle culture

A post shared by Madame Monsieur (@madamemonsieur) on

Émilie, Jean-Karl, Mercy and Taïwo then roamed the streets of the village, buying a lot of African food and, and listening to “Mercy” and to African songs as loudly as possible in their car. Eventually, Mercy fell asleep in Émilie’s arms.

The ESCXTRA team wishes all the best to Mercy and Taïwo in their new life!


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