Lesvos- Greece with Clowns Without Borders

I remember before going to Lesvos, a friend who works for Unicef told me that it is going to be an intense trip.
My answer was: ” I am used to working with refugees, I think it will be fine”.
She was definitely so right about that.  I will share here some observations – statuses I have posted – pictures and videos from the journey-
What was I doing there with Clowns Without Borders? You can watch these two videos

and the AJ+ video below


October 28th
Our first performances in lesvos …
We’ve done one camp and a harbor so far.
It is so beautiful to be able to draw smiles on bored, tired, anxious, worried faces.
Thank you @clownswithoutborders Luz Gaxiola Clay Mazing and Molly Rose for being an amazing team. Clowns Without Borders

October 29th
Lesvos is where you can plan nothing ahead of time; even deciding to go to the toilet involved two shows because… why not? And what else we’re here for!
At night, it was a different story. we heard of a boat that had capsized with 400 people on it. We ran there not in clown costumes. I was translating, supporting wounded people, people who lost family members, women and kids. Molly and Luz helping with distributing warm clothes to the lucky ones who made it and Clay playing music for a family who couldn’t find their father and supported us.
There was this man in his 40s, crying sooooo much. I thought he had lost a family member like many others around. We sat together and he recounted
that the moment they started swimming he saw a baby in a life jacket drowning, he held him tight and swam and swam and swam…
then looked to check on him to realize that he was only holding the life jacket.
The baby slipped away and with him this man’s soul got lost in the sea…

Lesvos is a land where everyone you encounter has tears in their eyes.
Tears of joy after finding a sibling, a daughter, a son, a wife, a husband, a mother or a father.
Tears of horror and sadness after the loss of family members.
Tears of tiredness from sleeping on the sides of the roads, from the very cold nights and from hunger.
Tears of compassion specially observed on faces of the Greek people who are trying their best to help. The journalists who are covering the heartbreaking news, the volunteers coming from all over the world who (most of them) have never encountered that much misery in one place…
Tears of us clowns after every interaction with the crowds.
Lesvos is tired. Very very tired.

Thank you Clowns Without Borders today we performed 4 shows and done different “Clown Pit Stops” in different camps and ports.
Seeing people smiling (kids and adults) melts my heart…

I danced with this little kid on the right side of the picture wearing the light brown jacket and clapping. He was soaking wet but very happy to play and laugh with the clowns after enduring a rough time in the sea. He is a marvelous dancer by the way.
It wasn’t until today that I understood why he was so wet.
This kid survived the sinking boat and now off to a hopefully better life.

Sabine Choucair's photo.
We were on a “Clown Pit Stop” on the side walk of the harbor – there was this guy wearing a pink google shirt – he made a joke in Arabic that I didn’t really get but everybody in the crowd roared laughing; I thought this guy must be even funnier than us clowns so I invited him to take my part
his first comment was: ” Well, my dad is dead, he was burnt from head to toe and I almost died last night in the sea, so I might as well have some fun now”
Clay Mazing lasso’ed him and hugged him tight
Luz Gaxiola played amazing music while some bubbles were flying in the air.

it was a beautiful moment for him and us.
I feel so humbled to have taken part in this magical, hopeful, clown moment.
thank you Clowns Without Borders
Sabine Choucair's photo.

Today while performing in the UNHCR waiting area of one of the camps, a 10 year old kid was enjoying the show until he heard the sound of a helicopter. pure coincidence; I was looking at him at that specific moment.
His world collapsed, his smile turned into extreme fear, he looked at the sky then in no time put his and the two other kids’ heads on the floor and shouted : ” an airplane an airplane – hide hide”. But the other kids didn’t understand why he was acting this way and they did not obey…
That terrified him even more. He was shivering so much.

Not sure if he knew the other kids or just felt responsible for the ones next to him at that specific moment. But what I’m sure of is that this kid saw all the airplanes that once flew over his house in Syria in one fraction of a second.
At that specific moment I couldn’t help myself from crying. I went and hugged him, the helicopter left. We continued the show and he smiled again…
I hope it will be long before he hears such sounds again.

A happy day in Lesvos.
So far everyone arrived safely. We helped some people getting to the first registration camp and performed there.
One girl loved the small origami tree she got during one clown skit and after the show came to me and asked if we will go to Sweden because she’s going there.
I said she will definitely meet some other clowns there. Then she replied with a very sad and concerned face : ” but we will be staying in a house there and not in a camp – clowns don’t come to houses.”
Hurray clowns for making the refugee camps a desired place

 ·

an illustrator followed us to one of our shows in Moria camp in Lesvos
the outcome is worth sharing.
Thank you Hannah Kirmes-daly

From today’s show
Well one of the shows

Clowns Without Borders's photo.

6 November 

A ‪#‎rubber_boat‬ can mean putting people’s lives in danger, sinking and loosing loved ones but can also mean a new life worth being celebrated with the clowns;
Lesvos is where contradictory feelings travel with you all day long and mess with your mind!
Sabine Choucair's photo.

kids in Lesvos taught me that the simplest acts are the most meaningful ones
Clowns Without Borders, Molly Rose Luz Gaxiola Clay Mazing Clown Me In ClownMe In

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