Apologies for a bit of a delay updating the blog – what a week! Hopefully you’ve been able to keep track of things on the Dock Facebook page or through Twitter – if not, check in and start following @thedocktq straight away!
Things got off to a nice early start on Wednesday as we supplied breakfast for the brave souls setting out to cycle 300 miles between Belfast and Cobh (Titanic’s last port of call) for the Christian Aid Titanic Cycle Challenge. After bacon butties and coffee, we marked the start of the cycle by wetting the wheels of the bikes with some good (clean….?!) Lagan water at the exact spot where Titanic slid off the slipways and touched water ro the first time…
It wasn’t just a week of early starts – late nights featured too… Dock Cafe was the venue for some of the events in the superb No More Traffik On Our Streets campaign – raising awareness of the shocking reality of human trafficking in our society. On Wednesday we heard some Stories of Hope - of those who had been rescued from a life of slavery, and stories of some of the organisations bringing transformation in cultures where trafficking is rife.
On Thursday we hosted a Chocolate and Fashion night – a fashion show and a chocolate-tasting session promoting products which have been ethically produced – nobody exploited in an anonymous production chain hidden behind a temptingly-cheap high street price.
This was followed by the premiere of The Pink Room, a new movie on the subject of trafficking, and a question-and-answer session with its director.
And on Friday the concrete walls, columns and surfaces of the cafe were used to project some superb artwork and photography – many of the photos taken as part of a project by Tim Doak, a Belfast-based photographer (who has some work on display in Dock Cafe, natch!) who was in Cambodia to teach photography to girls rescued from sex trafficking.
Most exciting moment of the week: when the doors opened every night and the people just kept coming…and coming… and coming… (we had over 250 squeezed into the cafe on Thursday night!)
Most hilarious moment of the week: trying to fit the huge wooden-block letters from the photography exhibition into the back of a Ford Ka…
(solution: come back with a van the next morning…)
Most challenging moment of the week: too many to mention. It was a real eye-opener for me personally to hear some of the stories and realise how much of a reality this issue is. Right here in Belfast we’ve heard of convictions for trafficking offences in recent weeks – so we can’t pretend that it’s a problem that just happens elsewhere in the world. So can I really encourage you to click on the link to the No More Traffik site and get involved.