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Culture in a TIN taking place in Brussels, Belgium

26/07/2017

"When life present you a thousand reasons to cry, show that you have a thousand and one reasons to laugh" … to laugh, share and build together a better world than the one we have now.

And that was this experience, to help us to be better people through a multicultural coexistence and with very different situations, reflecting on the issue of refugees through a participatory methodology where all were involved and had something to offer. During these days, we were able through a tool as valuable as theatre, to experience a myriad of emotions, reflect on what is currently happening in Europe and beyond, with the help of people who told us in first person how it was to flee from your country with the hope of finding a better life.

That hope is what “infected” all our coexistence: through performed dynamics we were creating ties of union, confidence and also common feelings of eradicating prejudice that all of us, in greater or lesser extent, had. It was an experience that helped us to know a little more about ourselves, where respect was the main rule to follow. It is worth mentioning the great work done by the coordinators of the project, through a participatory approach they helped to make the group as one single entity, empowering people participating and being themselves a clear example of empathy. During the Project we also had the opportunity to approach and get to know different cultures, through music and dance: we visited the Galician Centre in Brussels for a concert of Tarantella (Italian folk dances) where we shared good time together, and we also visited the Brussels Hellenic Centre, where we learnt Greek dances with the collaboration of some of the participants… it was the most fun!

However, not everything was fun: there were days for reflection, of hard work... where each smaller group was building the final performances. The common theme chosen was “the circus”, through this, different groups were creating and adapting the stories (of refugees, of fear, of loneliness, of confusion, of anger, of hope, of sadness, of happiness…) they wanted to portray… some more demanding than others, but all of them full of value, of empathy, of collaboration, of desire to learn and to contribute as best as possible, of sharing, of emotions...

Our performances, that were represented in the Eglise du Beguinage in Brussels and within the Festival of the Music (Fete de la Musique) of Molenbeek, came from various working sessions, exciting and intense, and they all came from the ideas and emotions of the people involved. Words fall short to explain all the vivid sensations we went through.

Another amazing activity was the construction of our world: for it, we used recycled materials and cardboards, together with bits of newspapers of different countries and also earth and sand that participants brought from their countries (from meaningful places they stepped on, from places where refugees passed through). It was the most beautiful work, full of meanings: from scratch, we were building a world that as the days went by, took shape, and had different words in different languages (Galician, Italian, Arabic, Turkish, Greek, French, Dutch, English ...). It was nice to be able to participate in its construction along with other friends, as it was also nice to strive together to be able to transport our world through the streets of Molenbeek to the park where the festival of music was hosted and where we were also going to represent our performances. The “journey” was hard, but with efforts and collaboration, we succeeded.

At the end of the day, we decided to “undo” our work, top lay with the world, jumping, pulling, rolling... perhaps because after all the world we live in today does not convince us completely, with so many inequalities and violations of human rights, and we all aspire to build something better. To “destroy” the world in such a playful and childish way it was a very representative and meaningful experience, full of play and laughter, that left us ready and open to build another (better) world, with solid foundations of hope and joy.

Personally, I want to share my thanks to each of the people who made this Project possible, providing an opportunity to know ourselves better and to grow as people.

THANKS FOR ALL!

Vanesa Villares


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YEU has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727066