We could try it and see

This Monday at Petit-Château marked the third week in a row we have been working on a new song. it is a song that rises questions that are universal concepts for the human experience: freedom, nationality, identity, fear, violence, acceptance, judgment, power.   We filled two large sheets of paper the first week with words…

Free like a smile

Every Monday I visit the Fedasil Petit-Château Klein Kasteeljte is an opportunity to capture a moment in time in both poetry and song. My co-volunteer Sarah and I often take a bit of a pause in the summer months. It has been increasingly hot in Brussels, and it is important to allow for some downtime…

Hakuna Matata

Without fail, this week’s visit to the refugee center was one, which offered an opportunity for the exchange of culture, experience, and language, as well as the creation of something beautiful.   Sarah and I arrived at the entrance to the center at the same moment, so we entered together and went to sit on…

This magic moment

Sarah and I often talk about how we really never know what will happen on each Monday visit to the refugee center. There are times where we sit and chat on the bench by our worksite, with only each other and the pigeons in the courtyard for company.   We decided long ago that even…

I want to live

This past Monday, we met several residents at the center. Since we have found that beginning by playing music can help to draw people in, Sarah posted the song we wrote the previous week, The hand that hurts can also heal.   As people came to join us, Sarah brought a blank piece of paper…

The Pigeons of Petit-Château

In my nearly 38 rotations around the sun, I have found that there is a deep longing in my own being to be connected with the natural world and with the many species beyond my own with whom I share this beautiful planet. I have friends from my park ranger days who would tell me…

The hand that hurts can also heal

Yesterday’s poetry and songwriting session was magical and also very insightful for me into the inner workings of the creative process (at least, as I experience it). Several people from outside of the center joined us. One person who joined us was our friend Mahmoud, who had been a resident for eight months at the…

We want to live in peace

There are themes that seem to resurface time again in the time I have spent, volunteering at the refugee asylum center. When I worked with a woman from Macedonia on her song, I asked her to tell me her greatest desire. She responded, I want a peaceful life for my children. In several songs, people…

Once a park ranger…

This week was an epic adventure in songwriting and in life. My experience in life is that I often make plans; those plans then take on a life of their own and generally turn out quite differently than I anticipated. This shift can lead to the unexpected, which can be uncomfortable at times but often…

Singing in the new year

I have not written about Monday songwriting in a few weeks. It is ongoing, though there have been a few times I have not been able to join. The center itself has been in a state of transition since this past December, when the rules regarding the asylum process for Belgium were drastically changed and…