Sometimes the first day is like banging your head against the wall - today was different. 

Today we started by painting our bodies with invisible paint, banging Oday's chest with clenched fists, breathing in and opening our arms to the world and shaking away the shit. 

We're getting to know each other and we're getting to know the situation in Syria.

We listen to Oday speak about the revolution, how it started, how it grows, how he left. 

Oday reminisces  “my father told me that when the Arab spring happened in Tunisia that it will happen in Syria too and when it happens in Syria we will be in blood up to our knees.’ 

We talk about Daraa, the place Oday calls home. It’s where the revolution began started by children who wrote on the wall of the school ‘Doctor (Assad) It’s your time to go’. Daraa is finished now, Assad has destroyed everything, there is no food, no electricity, no power, no school, no jobs, no life.

This is where Oday feels he belongs.

'Assad’s armies are like animals they take everything, people, food, houses, shops, land, everything.'

Oday draws maps, tells us truths we don’t know, shares brave and courageous stories of how he escaped and survived unimaginable horror and control.

He escaped and here we are in this room in Cardiff discussing how we can best tell this story, how we can create a show that will inspire, encourage, challenge and provoke. How we can celebrate the acts of humanity that Oday has received that have encouraged, ensured and supported him in his courageous journey to reach the UK.

We finish the day in true Syrian style, sharing coffee and eating cake with Othman from Syria in Petra restaurant on City Road.

We joke, we laugh, we smile we call each other habibi.

 

Tomorrow we will celebrate

'I belong there' is a collaboration between three of us Oday Alkhalidi (actor) Matt Wright (artist) and Rhiannon White (director). Its a multilingual play about war, survival and hope. 

 

 

 

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