Sunflowers - Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Gustave Klimt & Gustave Caillebotte
"We don’t like pictures like this. It is not good to deduce an entire country to the image of a person reaching out for food. It is not good for people to see us like this, and it is not good for us to see ourselves like this. This gives us no dignity. We don’t want to be shown as a country of people waiting for someone to bring us food. Congo has an incredible amount of farmland. An incredible amount of resources. Yes, we have a lot of problems. But food is not what we are reaching for. We need investment. We need the means to develop ourselves."
(Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo)
If you were going to tattoo a line of your own poetry on yourself, which line would it be?
Can I give you a few since thinking of just one will stress me out and make me cry? I’ll just pick some of my favourite lines:
- you are not an abandoned train station. You are poetry in motion.
- you are not an apology. Do not treat yourself like one
- your hips are more than a hotel, your body is a place to stay
- when you are both skeletons, you will kiss each other full again
- there has been an ocean here. There have been flowers in bloom.
- I loved you soft, I loved you careful and I bowed for you
- I want to be your morning sunrise peak. I want to be your mountain girl.
"I’d like them to be ministers or business people. But this one is supposed to start school this year, and I don’t have the money to send him."
(Kasangulu, Democratic Republic of Congo)
"He lived with his mother in Gaza when he was very young. One night, I talked to him on the phone before bedtime, and he told me he was wearing three pairs of pants to bed. I said: ‘Three pairs of pants? Why aren’t you in your pajamas?’ He told me: ‘Because I want my body to hold together if a bomb falls on me.’" (Petra, Jordan)
"What are your hopes for them?"
"We left our hopes back in Syria."
(Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan)