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Paris, France

Autumn has arrived in Paris with its share of problems : rain, wind, expulsions, obstacles in food distribution for refugees... The terrible events in Israel and Gaza loom over us like a shadow. We found people in the two settings where we deliver The Community Table very tired, hungry and unsettled. Finding a calm space to reflect, create and communicate seems all the more essential.

In the Semeuse garden one man painstakingly traced and coloured in a flower from a botany book as we thought about poetry as resistance and consolation, printing out lines from a Shakespeare sonnet before sharing the warm bread fresh from the oven.

In the Cedre the atmosphere was like static electricity, but despite the tension, different people engaged calmly with the materials on the table and shared their thoughts. One young man built a house with a delicate fenced garden, which soon became home to a blue diplodocus. Another talked about a warrior king while playing a fiercely competitive game of Jenga. « Time goes so quickly here » said his friend « in my country the days seemed endless. » He sat for a long moment lost in his thoughts before shaking himself and smiling shyly.

Words by Kate France & Naomi Press.

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