The Holidays are over


The Holidays are over
One of the beaches of Melilla, at 30 degrees and sunshine

I've almost got into the holiday mood in the last few days.

Yesterday an evening of tapas and red wine, today a day at the beach. No research, no applications for licences - just sitting in the sun. It's a public holiday, everything is closed.

I've deliberately avoided approaching the fence until now. I don't want to get used to the sight of it. But that will be over tomorrow morning.

I am allowed to work with ACOGE. In addition to all its other activities, this NGO organises courses for residents of the refugee camp. There are programmes such as music, handicrafts and sports. It sounds like fun, but it has a very serious background.

Most of the refugees have travelled a long, rocky road, having lived in inhumane conditions during their flight. They had to assume false identities, were hunted like dogs and had to be constantly on their guard as to whom they could trust. They may have been beaten, robbed, raped or had to watch fellow travellers die. All of this leaves its mark, physically and emotionally. The courses are about getting people used to a dignified life again, doing things together, building trust, listening carefully and offering medical or legal help if necessary.

My workshop with women from the camp, which I am organising together with the experienced ACOGE staff, starts tomorrow at 9.30 am.

I will report on this later in the week.