12/03-17/03/2018: fourth project week in Belgium (Wavre)

Monday

On Monday, the first day of the exchange week, we stayed at school for most of the day to get to know each other and to share the results of our surveys and searches around the subject. After a quick tour of the school, we settled in the biggest class of the school to spend the day there. We started by making groups of around 6 students per group and by introducing ourselves to the other students. After that, we made a role play game putting us in the role of a member of the European Parliament having to vote new laws to organize the reception of refugees in Europe. Some students of each school then talked about the history migration in their respective countries, regions and cities. Finally, we showed the results of the survey that ran in each school and compared the results according to the answers of each different country.

Tuesday

On Tuesday we went to the House of European History. We received a small device which was supposed to guide us through the whole exhibition. That was the first nice thing : we were totally free to visit by ourselves, going wherever we wanted to ! And I have to say, it was actually quite big ! I don’t think anyone has had enough time to see everything. It was interactive, so it wasn’t boring at all. I could’ve well stayed an hour or two longer !

Even though it was nice, we also learned a lot. The permanent exhibition is divided by floors (4 or 5 in total), each one representing an era. For instance, the first floor was more about Europe’s common history during Prehistory. There was a floor about the industrial era, another one about the post second World War era… Really there were so many things that it was impossible to get bored !

There were also a few games dispatched around the place. Like a giant board game where you are the pawn, or a basic chess board.

One thing that marked me was this video about the fall of the wall in Berlin. I remember that it was quite long (like 15 minutes or so) and I thought I wouldn’t watch it in its entirety because I wanted to visit the other floors. But it was so interesting that I go caught up and ended up watching it until the end !

Another thing that I loved were all the old objects we could see everywhere. The televisions in black and white (one was even playing an old interview from years ago about televisions getting colors !), an old dial phone, and even a car that you could get in ! Those are just examples, and there was so much more !

The last floor was also great, about the future, even though I felt like there could’ve been more there. Nonetheless, it left us to think about it. There was also a giant area with a screen above, showing different kinds of new technologies, and it was so mesmerizing that I stayed there for around ten minutes, just watching.

So if I had to, I would totally recommend people to go visit because it’s clearly worth it !

Human Flow was beautiful. It forces us to fully emphasis with the different aspects of a migrant’s life, and makes us understand that these people are not a tsunami against witch the world must brace itself but individuals who have their own dreams, hopes and past, and who have as much right of food, shelter and safety than we do. 

It helps us grasp the concept that migration is deeply present in human history, and that it is no use to try to stop it because we just physically can’t.

 The interviews are incredible.  Just human individuals, speaking truly, and a camera.  In a little more than two hours, I saw people hopeful, desperate, angry, sick, happy,… I was personally very touched by the interview of a little girl in a Berlin refugee center.  She was just tired of the center, tired of her family, tired of her life… In a way no child should never experience.

Unfortunately, though this documentary fulfills perfectly it’s role of informing us about the refugees crisis, it doesn’t really give us any solution, which gave me a certain sensation of helplessness, and it may seem a little long for some people (140 minutes).

  In conclusion, Human Flow is totally worth it according to me, but be prepared to thinking about it for the rest of the day.  Trying to find solutions for the sake of other people’s lives is part of your citizen job after all

Wednesday

On Wednesday morning we visited the RTBF (Belgium French radio and TV)  we went to see the radio stations and the different TV  locals . They explained us how the journalist would treat the information and how to make the news. They also showed us some special effects like for the broadcast weather.

After lunch we went to the Grand Place of Brussels and visited the city.

Thursday

On  the morning we went to the European commission for a speech about the role of Europe in the problem of the migration.

We learned that the EU is the biggest donor worldwide in development aid and help Africa and poor countries. That the most of the refugees go in neighboring countries.

Migration is the part of history and forever and it’s our interest because Europe become old and Africa have a lot of young people and we need young people to pay pensions.
Europe is giving money for emergency furniture that are for everyone ( refugees, tourist ), refugees are relocated to different EU member states but it’s difficult because some of the member don’t agree. Europe has a agreement with Turkey to keep refugees and UE has developed a system of credit card where they give them money that it’s directly for the refugees not transiting to live (health, food,clothes).

The point of view of the women who present it’s that it ‘s not a good thing to do an agreement with Erdogan because we depend of him and we don’t have a another solution .We talked about the role of Europe with the refugees of the war in Syria that UE give money for refugees but doesn’t have political place. Then that USA and Australia can maybe host refugees because Europe welcomed 3 x more than them and Trump doesn’t want refugees.

We talked that it’s for men than women who are migrants. They are less than men. They are inequalities and when they come from country where the women doesn’t work.
I learned about the agreement between Turkey and Europe and that’s Bulgaria is a way for coming in Europe. I think that migration it’s a difficult topic and a lot work to do in for the future but we are in a positive way. After the European Commission we visited European Parliament . It is a big complex with many departments.

Situated beside Brussels-Luxembourg Station, there are three buildings (A, B and C). It was strange to visit such huge and luxurious buildings while studying the misery of migrants.We saw a kind of work of art in the parliament. It seemed also not necessary in this building because it needs also important means used in the wrong place.We visited the Assembly. We learned that there are seven groups in the Parliament : the president, the deputies, the different political groups, the different commissions, the delegations, the political bodies and the inter groups.

The 751 Members of the European Parliament meet alternately in the Chambers of Strasbourg and Brussels. The interpreters are responsible for translating proceedings simultaneously into the 24 official languages of the European Union.

Members of the European Parliament form groups based on their political affinity, not on their nationality.

 Friday

We went to a very famous mine place in Marcinelle : « Le Bois du Casier » .

We were separated in two groups : Italy – Spain and Belgium – Poland – Germany. Before lunch time , the Italy – Spain group visited the slag: heaps of waste from the mines. The other group visited the museum of the « Bois du Casier ».

A guide explained us the life of mine workers from the beginning to the end of their day ( the showers, garment hangers , the lamp’s office,…).

in the afternoon we went to a little place dedicated to the dead miners. After this, we watched a little reportage who talked about the mine shaft explosion during witch died 252 people the 8 August 1956.

 We visited the mining site of “le bois du Crazier”. The mine employed many migrant workers, therefore it falls well into our Erasmus+ project theme of migration.
When we visited the Slag heaps the guide showed us the different types of stones that the Slag heaps were made of and the different plants growing on it.The guide showed us the train tracks witch would go up to the top of the Slag heap. When we got at the top of the Slag heap, at 250 meters high from sea level there was a nice view of the surrounding areas at the top the guide showed us the two other Slag heaps of the mining site.