A day at the river

“Breathe in, breathe out. This is a sanctuary. Take off your weary clothes and the shoes that no longer shield your soles from the grit of the journey. “

Jeni McMillan

It’s another hot day at Lagu├ępie in the south of France and everyone is hanging out at the river. The lifeguard has a steady gaze. There’s screams, splashing and laughter as this crazy, inflatable spaceship rock and rolls.

The local kids are smoking cigarettes in the shade, wrapped in each others arms or taking selfies while Parisian girls cluster at the edge and dry their long black braids in the sun.

We are all shapes and sizes, ages and backgrounds with the same language of laughter. We are residents, visitors, travellers and refugees.

Thanks to Val Johnson, for introducing me to some of the guys who have made it to France against enormous odds and found refuge in this small community. Val has been tireless with fund-raising, finding homes and resources and for encouraging diversity and inclusiveness. I’m also grateful to the people I met for their generosity and smiles. I wish everyone a future where peace and happiness is as simple as a day at the river.