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…

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.  …

The power to overcome

In my life in Brussels, I try to keep things as simple as possible. This is a tall order for a short person, as my husband reminds me time and again that I always wind up creating situations that are more complicated than need be. Well, I’m only human.   With regard to simplicity and…

The best is yet to come

In January 2016, I began volunteering at a refugee asylum center near the center of Brussels. I did a lot of research and contacted many places and organizations before happening upon one that gave a positive response to my request to offer songwriting from stories. When I participated in an entrepreneur accelerator program in Lowell,…

I want a peaceful life

March is Women’s History Month. In the past, I participated in Lowell Women’s Week in Lowell, Massachusetts. I offered a songwriting workshop and concert where I performed songs I had been working on from the oral histories of female factory workers. This year, I am composing songs in Brussels, Belgium as a volunteer at one…

Come on up to the house

Since arriving in Brussels in the beginning of December 2016, I have been sending inquiries to any and all agencies that I can find who assist immigrants and refugees coming to the city from other countries. I have followed several possible leads but only recently finally happened upon one where I can volunteer and songwriting…