Looking back at our meet and eat event for World Refugee Day

Our volunteer Chaitali wrote a report about Vluchtelingen in de Knel’s ‘Meet and Eat’ event at World Refugee Day. Would you like to see the video report? Watch it here (in Dutch).

“On the 20th of June, to celebrate the World refugee Day, the organization Vluchtelingen in de Knel, arranged for a Meet and Eat event. The event was one of its kind and aimed to bring together the refugees and the asylum-seekers (who had been refused asylum in the Netherlands) along with the residents of Eindhoven to bond over food.

The almost 20 refugees who came, cooked with love the dishes from their own country and welcomed the residents of Eindhoven with this unique gesture. The atmosphere in the garden at the back was friendly and happy, where the residents met the refugees, expressed their enthusiasm in knowing their hosts and their stories. And of course the food they made.

‘This is how you eat Fufuo,’ told Safu (not his real name), sticking his fingers in the sticky mass, encouraging his guests to do the same. ‘It is a staple diet of many lands in Nigera, made up of Cassava.’ It was a moment to know their stories, their struggle and the fortitude with which they fight being displaced from their land.

‘It’s been a real warm experience bringing people together over food,’ says Anoeshka Gehring, who co-ordinated this event as one of the directors of Vluchtelingen in de Knel.

It was indeed an unique way to get a glimpse of the lives of these wonderful people who are forced to flee their lands due to violence. ‘It was scary, recalling my trip to the Netherlands,’ says Ahmed (not his real name), a refugee who would like to stay in the Netherlands. He talks about his fear when he thought that the small boat in which he crossed over from Turkey to Greece leaked. ‘I thought I was going to die, but was finally saved by the police.’

Indeed they are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Their stories are heartbreaking and their experiences are shattering. But in the end when I left them all, the only feeling that remained with me is a respect for their struggle. And the love and tastes I was treated to by them.

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