Från Grekland den
In the late eighties i once took a ferrie from Alexandria in Egypt to Crete. I spent a few weeks walking about on the island. To be on a Greek island in the Mediteranean was like a dream. Beautiful turquois water, friendly people and great food. I always thought I would like to return sometime but never imagined I would do it like on this trip.
Thirty years later three Swedish circus artists and myself flew into Mytilini on the island of Lesbos, just across the water from Turkey. The same mass of water Crossed by so many people fleeing for their safety with the dream of a better life. The same stretch of water that many people had risked and some people had lost their lives crossing.
We arrived late on a Sunday evening and then took a taxi to our motel Votala. The sea was still warm and beautiful, the food was magic and the people were still lovely.
The next morning I woke early, had a swim, ate a hearty breakfast, put on my work clothes and my make up and then joined my colegues in a van supplied by Save the children for a short drive to a very different Greece.
Moria is a former prison surrounded by multiple fences topped with razor wire and full of gravel concrete and dust. It is also full of tents, tarpoulens, more fences and around 6000 people, many of them children, with hopes a dreams. After passing the security and police at the front gates we walked up a concrete hill lined with small tents with people layng in the shade of their make do homes. On our right there was more razor wire and fences surrounding smal buildings which contained the boys who had made the trip by themselves without any parents.
We continued up to a little fenced off area with some small areas of shade and a container. This was the child friendly space set up by save the children. After many welcomes from all the children and staff we placed the children in the shade and then proceeded to do a show for them in the sun. The area changed to a place of laughter and celebration as we turned into very sweaty circus artists and clowns.
During the next 9 days we did 8 shows and 12 workshops in three different camps in the area.
Day two in Moria camp there was alot of tension as there had been troubles in one of the areas where the boys were kept. We did our show and a workshop in this area two days later. One of the boys was helped out to watch the show. He was bandaged around the waist as he had been stabbed with a bottle by some outsiders who had forced their way into their compound. He was in alot of pain but sat there for the show and the workshop.
One of the save the children staff told us later that this boy had said to him "This was the best day"!
Now our team is back in Sweden and life goes on. Everyone we met in the camps are most likely still there, sleeping on the ground under make do shelters, unsure of what lies ahead of them.
Thanks to Andrea Hilario, Anneli De Wahl, Johanna Abrahamsson, Clowns without Borders Sweden, Save the children and Vi Gör Vad Vi Kan, for making this whole tour possible and helping to spread some Laughter and hope.
Laughter does change lives.