On October 26, Clowns Without Borders USA will begin a performing project on the Greek island of Lesvos, to support the influx of Syrian and other refugees who have been flooding the island to escape the perils of their countries, and seek a better, more secure life. The number of daily arrivals to Lesvos reached record breaking numbers in September, and October is only seeing an increase. More than 300,000 refugees have passed through the Greek islands since the beginning of 2015. October is the last month that it is safe to make the crossing before winter sets in, and the deterioration of the situation in Syria and Afghanistan means that there are thousands camped out on the coast of Turkey, waiting for the opportunity to attempt the perilous journey.
Clowns Without Borders USA is humbled and honored to be able to ease the pain and uncertainty of the refugee journey in some small way. In Lesvos we will be playing small group interactions, shows, songs, and magic tricks with children and families who are waiting to move on in their journey. Since the camps are all located along major roads and the island doesn’t have a venue for large-scale performance, this will be a little different than our regular performance tour. We are sending a small team of three performers and one logistical coordinator – Sabine Choucair, Luz Gaxiola, Clay Mazing, and Molly Levine. The team will be performing, sharing, and playing in three camps, in the north of the island where the rubber boats arrive, and in the harbor where up to 15,000 people wait daily for the ferry to Athens and the chance to continue their journey.
The influx of people has put a heavy burden on the programming and logistical capacity of services on the island. Sharing laughter and levity is one way to help people stay calm during this grave moment of uncertainty. Please view the links below to learn more about the refugee situation in Greece. Wish us luck, courage, and compassion – it is with red noses, full and heavy hearts, and big smiles that we go into this project in Lesvos. We can’t wait to keep you updated once we are there.