Written by Laura and Bea from Progestion
The schedule for this day is really complete and full of enriching activities. We started the day with an activity carried out by Ellie, from Germany, about building cohesion in groups in which the members speak different languages, or people with disabilities and do not know each other. We had to communicate without talking, relying on non verbal communication or the knowledge that we already had about the others. We had to place ourselves in increasing order regarding the hours it took for us to get to the place where we were, Montes Claros, and according to our age. We also had to place ourselves in relation to an imaginary
spot representing Spain, showing where we live, where we were born, where our parents were born and where we would like to live in the future.
It was a nice way to get to know more about group members and it also served as a
representation of how migration is a world’s structural dynamic that has involved our families and the society in general from the beginning of history. It shows that migration is not only about the poor looking for better chances to improve their life (which is, of course, a 100% valid reason) but about sharing languages, cultures, lifestyles, etc. throughout the world and enriching societies with diversity, increasing their flexibility and adaptation to changes.
Right after, we enjoyed an activity carried out by Merat, from Egypt, based on Egypt’ situation, as a transit country for migrants and asylum seekers, that want to reach Europe, and how they get stuck in Egypt because of the European policies on national security and closing borders. Egypt is now an externalized border for Europe and it is dealing with increasing numbers of people coming mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, and surrounding African countries. Myrat told us about the discrimination that migrants are suffering due to their nationality and that is explained by how Egypt understands international relations, and also due to the color of their skin. We were informed about the few possibilities that migrants have to be included in the labour market, especially those with high education levels. She also shared with us information about her work experience and about other NGOs working on the same field.
Later on, Katrin, German and head of the project, gave a brief introduction to the
phenomenon of trauma and mirror neurons to facilitate the understanding on post traumatic stress disorder, occasionally experienced by migrants. Rafik, from Egypt, continued on the issue talking about his experience as a volunteer in the Greek island of Lesbos and Moria refugee camp. He went through some tough moments while being there and we were all grateful because of the generosity he showed talking about such a difficult experience. In order to cheer up the group. Katrin proposed an activity related to resilience and alternatives to take care of ourselves and our mental health by finding hobbies, habits,thoughts, etc that bring peace to our minds and are a source of alleviation. We also enjoyed an activity related to imagination and relaxation consisting on picturing in our minds a peaceful place on full detail.
After lunch and given the general mood of the group, the coordinators decided that it would be good for everyone to do the first activity of the afternoon outdoors, in order to enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful nature we had in such a wonderful location. We walked in pairs exchanging why we were motivated to work with migrants and to participate in the CanDoRefugees meeting. Afterwards, we returned to have some energizers and keep the group energy high. Nonetheless, we were all quite tired after the intense morning we had.
The last activity of the day was a briefing regarding Open Space. This methodology implies that a variety of activities and workshops are scheduled, some of them at coincident times, and participants choose freely which one they want to attend. In case they have chosen an activity, they do not need to stay until it finishes, but they can move to another one that is more useful for them. It is not rude to leave the group; the leader of the activity understands that it is not what the person that leaves the group needs, plus the ones who stay are actually motivated and interested. We discussed about the difficulties this method could mean for some of the people, mainly due to their culture, since Greeks and Spanish usually feel that it is disrespectful to leave a group. Some participants then offered themselves as leaders of activities or workshops and the scheduled was planned for Saturday morning.
After dinner, part of the group stayed outside, playing the guitar, singing and sharing conversations, in a cold night full of stars.
¿Could have been a better way to end this awesome day? we don’t think so…