It was a great day for train travel. Some drizzly moments, not too cold, not too hot, glimpses of the sun as I waited at the station. A boy of about six was jumping around the platform with anticipation, exclaiming to passers-by: "I'm doing this for the first time in my life today!"
Oh joy, to jump on a train for the very first time! This kid was celebrating the extraordinary ordinary, giving my morning a magical twist and making me look forward to other encounters.
So on my way home, after my obligatory appointment at an exam center, I decided to go exploring. I wondered into De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, where World Press Photo 16 was being exhibited. It includes short films, one of the winners being Fatima's Drawings by Magnus Wennman from Sweden.
Fatima tells the story of being on a refugee boat after fleeing Syria. There was a woman who gave birth to a stillborn child in the boat. Fatima saw two men throw the baby into the sea:
"It was the first time I saw something like that."
With that comment on a 'first time' I was flung back in time a few hours to the boy at the railway station.
Fatima was about the same age as this Dutch boy, but her soul seemed so much older. His bubbly excitement set out against her solemn story telling.
His first time to take the train (my wish for any child to go on such an adventure) versus her first time to see a dead baby being thrown overboard (nobody should see that, let alone a small child!).
What would the drawings of this Dutch boy's journey look like next to Fatima's? Perhaps the contrast there will fade again and she will draw swings without bombs....and Swedish trains.
FATIMA’S DRAWINGS from Magnus Wennman on Vimeo.