Crossing water

UPDATE FROM ART REFUGE UK IN NORTHERN FRANCE PROJECT PART TWO – CALAIS

We are now working each Friday with Medecins sans Frontieres – MSF – in a warm, secure portacabin space within their medical area in the Calais refugee camp, in close relationship with the team of doctors, nurses, their psychologist and interpreters.

Anna Kälin, Bobby Lloyd and Naomi Press worked today predominantly with young men aged 16-22 from Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Afghanistan. Using clay and plasticine, one of the main themes was the dangerous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece that so many people have made.

Supported by his friend who had earlier made a Map of Syria with teardrops and now contributed tiny plasticine people and rucksacks, a young man depicted his rescue by a life ring thrown from another vessel by police. This was after the rubber dinghy he was in capsized, during which others lost their lives. He now fears water. His journey from Syria to Calais took one month.

Another young man from Syria whom we’ve worked with before depicted the moment he was forced at gunpoint onto a boat, the terrifying voyage and the joy at arriving safely on the Greek sand-dunes. All three boys had to pay high sums of money for their journeys. All have been in Calais for several months.

In another part of the portacabin a pregnant woman, whose husband stood by her side, quietly wept as she described the drowning of their five year old son during the family’s sea crossing.

Unrelated stories resonating across the room.

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