A wild idea

This past Monday at the refugee center was cold and gray, but at least it wasn’t raining. We take what we can get with the weather in January in Belgium. The previous week, we had spread out dozen of sheet of paper with poetry and song and taped them all together to make a magic…

Magic carpet of music

Sarah and I spent two hours yesterday afternoon at the Fedasil Arrival Centre in Brussels, taping together page after page of poetry and songs into an enormous magic carpet of hope. Upon these pages were words from the hearts and minds of people from many places, all having traveled to Belgium with the hope of…

Welcome

A few weeks ago, on a particularly gloomy and frigid Monday afternoon, Sarah and I began writing words on a blank page we had posted on the wall at Petit-Château. Our “wall” is really two large wooden doors, but we have found that the packaging tape we use attaches far better onto the door than…

When you cross the border

Two Mondays ago, I met a man named Samba at the refugee center where I volunteer in Brussels, Belgium. He told me he had been in Belgium for a week. My co-volunteer, Sarah, and I had posted a piece of paper on the white door beside our poetry wall as usual. As it was our…

From Africa it’s a long story

The sun shone over Brussels yesterday afternoon, and I experienced the rare occurrence of being too warm for my jacket, scarf, and hat at the tail end of December. I set them on the bench by our open “office” space at a corner of the covered corridor at the refugee asylum center known as Petit-Château…

Life is long

This Monday at Petit-Chateau was grey, rainy, dark, and dismal. The previous Friday evening, I had visited the center for the volunteer appreciation dinner and joined staff and volunteers on a tour of the arrival portion of the center. We walked from one station to the next, learning about the process whereby those seeking asylum…

Before the music

This Monday at Petit-Château was about as dismal at a November afternoon in Brussels can be. A friend came with me who had wanted to experience our poetry and songwriting for a long time. I am always nervous on these occasions because I want them to have a positive experience. My first snafu was nearly…

Give me a chance to live

Our 28 October Monday afternoon poetry and songwriting session at the refugee center was intense and deeply meaningful. It was a moment where many people came together and expressed the joy of being able to share a creative moment in a world of uncertainty.   We began as usual by cleaning up our poetry wall….

You are always here with me

This Monday the weather was grey and cool, and it was quiet at Petit-Château. Sarah and I arrived and had a friend already waiting to visit with us. We posted printouts of refugee songs on our poetry wall and then posted the song from the previous week with the intention of singing it together.  …

Leave us be the way we are

This past Monday was the last day of a three-week visit by my mom and our friend. They traveled to Brussels from the east coast of the United States. From there, we flew to Prague, took the train to Vienna and Budapest, flew the Amsterdam, and took the train back to Brussels. It was exciting…