Zagreb: Spansko Refugee Camp

Geneva There are nearly 800 people living in the Spansko Refugee Camp. About a quarter of them are children between the ages of three and seven.

My colleague and I walk the stark hallways trying to learn as much as we can by observing the people and their meager belongings while also respecting their privacy and dignity. The single image that impacts me the most is a child’s drawing taped to a wall. It features buildings and a rainbow and the words “Vukovar – heaven on earth.”

Displaying shame and pride in equal measures, one of the refugees offers me a cup of tea and a seat on the only chair in this room they call home.

I ask again and again if anyone can identify the former site of the refugee camp. No one is able to help me. It seems like an exercise in selective forgetting.

“Cinnamon, Brian said, once tasted is never forgotten, is longed for every after. He showed her the tear-shaped island where it grew, and she thought about longing for something so far away.”