We are in Leros since few days and try to figure out what to make of this our contemporary Odyssey.
Leros is a greek island in the Dodecanese, a few miles from the coast of Turkey.
Last year the 7.000 inhabitants of the island welcomed more than 7000 Syrian refugees, Afghans and Iraqis.
To give an idea of the proportions is like if in Europe we had 400 milions of refugees.
Here we are at the borders of Europe. A Europe that forget and do not want to hear about it. Coherently NGOs and private foundations try to deal with it and to take care of adults and children.
Currently on the island there are about 700 asylum seekers, so the situation is relatively under control.
The camps and the hotspot are still off limits of places.
Within them many children, some with their families, others alone.
Many women, many men with eyes lost in the void, and the children, always vivid, looking for something to do.
Arrived on the island, the first thing we wanted to do was make available our knowledge of theater, music, entertainment and art. An artistic availability but first of all human.
We started working in the field of Picka refugees, five / six animation hours a day.
Equally important was to start working with the Greek children of the local primary school; open a dialogue with local realities, with the places of the community referred to as primary school but also with the local dance group and the island’s theater group.
Consisting of 65 non-professional full of will and talent, these amators undertake their evenings to prepare shows to be presented to their fellow citizens and the nearby islands. This year they are preparing The Trojan Women by Euripides.
In addition, the local group of traditional dances (on each island there is a different dance, and dance defines the identity of each island) cooperates with us today and will be in the field of Picka to teach us Instant Team and young teens and children Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan as Lerico dance (dance of Leros).
Sunday finally all together, Meeting The Odyssey team, the primary school children of Leros, actors and dancers of local amateur groups, children of the fields, we will dance the Lerotico and improvise an Instant Performance in front of our boat Hoppet.
We hope it will be a festivel Sunday. A possible bridge between different worlds. One possible argument for Europe and a proof that we can join.
Michele Losi and Mariasofia Alleva