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…

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…

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…

Zindgi Sakhta/Life is hard

Every Monday, I visit the Petit-Château. With ukulele in hand, I walk through every kind of weather to get there. We stand outside for two hours, writing poetry and turning poetry into music. By the end, my body is freezing, but my heart is warm. Each time I visit the château, I wonder if I will…

We sing together

My third visit to the Fedasil Petit-Château refugee asylum center was literally stormy and creatively dynamic. Rain, hail, thunder, and lightening swept through the open courtyard as our little group sang our hearts out to a melody shared by one of the participants. The poetry volunteer had written two lines from an ancient Chinese poem…

Never give up

I knew that I was going to be more on the spot at my second visit to the refugee asylum center. As I walked from the metro to the center, I could hear the voice of my inner critic, chatting away in my ear.   What if you aren’t able to come up with a…

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…