I don’t think I’d be wrong in saying that the 26 of us who embarked on the #FCBPlayers #WithRefugees trip were all well aware that we would live a striking experience. And I don’t think I’d be wrong in saying that for most of us the experience exceeded our expectations. In a positive way.
Out of everything we were able to do with the help of the UNHCR in Greece on the 18th of November; my lasting memory is of the smiling faces of more than 220 girls and boys at the end of the day after we had shared a few hours together with them. Bright and early they welcomed us through the doors of what has become in the last few months their home, in the refugee camp of Katsikas in Ioannina. It’s a place, they themselves say, which is just a stop on their journey, fleeing from the horror of war. A horror which the Association members were told about in first person.
The rapport with all of them was instantaneous, magical. Our Club’s ex-players enjoyed seeing the power of the language of football. It was on show during the coaching clinic and at the lunch, and finally at the match which we played with the Pas Giannina Veterans, where every blue and claret goal saw the thousand refugees who were watching the game go mad.
It was just one day, yes. And we’ve gone back to our lives, yes. But we also know that they will always remember the excitement they felt about Barça and the experience they lived, and that if together we can speak up about the reality which refugees are living in Europe, we can help to change their situation.