When I was invited to return for the summer and work in the service for refugees in which I had previously worked, I jumped at the chance and decided to extend my holiday to make this working visit worthwhile. It certainly was….I left feeling that I had created a perfect compromise….a restful and enjoyable holiday, balanced by constructive and productive input to a service for which I have much admiration. On several occasions while I was there, I felt poems “coming on” and wish I had written them at the time. Instead, on my return here, though the memories remained, I could not capture the moments in poetry. So I have decided to write down some of the things that touched me:
- The greeting I received when I visited the service a day after I landed….full of joy and lots of emotion, good friends and work mates being reunited (who says business and pleasure do not mix!?)
- Forgotten stresses of travelling by the underground and the rush of people there and on the pavements as they hurtle towards you, nobody giving way to let you pass. Scary!
- Meeting William, a homeless man with whom I worked in a day centre as a volunteer. He is not that old, but very vulnerable and I always wonder if he has survived another winter(or any of our temperamental seasons for that matter). He looked just the same, his bald scalp tanned by the summer sun, and he had the same dry humour. What fortitude! And, no, he is not a drunk or drug addict, but a man in self imposed isolation with brilliant memories of his past. Seeing him alive and well made my day!
- Seeing the beautiful face of a young man who emerged one morning from his covers, sleeping in a doorway near to my home. He had always been a non-entity before as he was just a bundle in the doorway, morning and night. Having a beautiful face should not affect the impact of the plight of a young man with seemingly no family or friends who has to sleep in a doorway, but I could not help but stare. He touched my heart.
- Walking across the bridges of London, absorbing the majesty and grabbing memories to create my dreams. There can be no other place like it!
- Spending precious time with family and friends whom I do not see often enough.
- Laughing from deep in the belly at some humourous situation in the office…and there seemed to be plenty of such situations! How uplifting it is to be able to laugh like that! I am always sorry for those who cannot.
- Being introduced to a website where one can contact school friends and making contact with my closest friends at that time. Amazing!
- Approaching the time for departure with such sadness and sense of loss. Separation from those we love is so endlessly painful.