A collaboration between Carrefour and UNHCR Cyprus on the occasion of the World Refugee Day 2006
NICOSIA – Have you thought about refugees yet? On the week of the World Refugee Day many are the initiatives that induce us to think about the lives and stories of these less fortunate people whose lives once have been changed, and that hope one day everything will be as it used to.
It looks like an ordinary day in all of the Carrefour’s Chris Cash & Carry stored in Nicosia and Larnaca, and throughout Cyprus, and when you enter them you might feel just like that. After all, your main concern is to make sure you do not forget anything from the list of foods and snacks to buy that was carefully prepared at home and you might not notice that something is going on. It is while you are looking for the tomatoes that your eyes see a big blue poster with the word “hope” on it, repeated so many times that you just have to read it all. But this is not all because, as you move few steps on, you notice one employee wearing an unusual t-shirt, different from those you are used to. Also, the girl at the cashier is wearing it, and the manager too, and they all read the same thing: “We travel for fun, refugees travel for fear”. This is when the words travel, fun, refugees, fear, hope, all fall into place in your mind and your shopping day is not an ordinary one anymore.
The proof is in the words of both the employees and the customers and it is amazing how almost everybody has something to say about refugees. Like Stelios, the store manager in Engomi, Nicosia, that wishes that all the refugees might be able, one day, to make choices for themselves, or Michael, a customer, that says refugees should all be assisted to find a job in order to be self sufficient. Antoni from Larnaca, instead, gives more thoughts about the meaning of the statement on the t-shirt and how terrible would be to travel having fear for the unknown.
This is what is happening every “ordinary” day in the Chris Cash & Carry stores, and so it will be for the rest of the week. There are nearly 21 million of uprooted in the world that the wish expressed by Costas, from Larnaca, of not having refugees anymore, seems unachievable. However all refugees deserve a little of our time, at least. Yiota from Australia, for example, does not understand “why in 2006 we still have all these people running”. Good question, as many others that will come up to your mind while walking and talking to people inside the stores during this week. It is a chance we are given freely to think that as we run to keep up with our daily schedules, refugees run away from their persecutors, as we travel for fun, refugees travel for fear.
Pictures are available in flickr: http://flickr.com/photos/unhcr-cyprus/sets/72157608704011259/