Mr. T and Mr. X are two patients we support in their homes.

For several months, they have been members of the tenants’ council, organized by the “Affiliation” team. There they can meet other tenants in the Brussels Housing First project and together select activities in which they’d like to participate.

This time, the council decided to make a trip to the seaside. On the programme: put your feet in the sand and enjoy a shrimp croquette.

Normally, Mr. T and Mr. X see us coming to deal with psycho-medical-social questions.

But now it’s different: we are going to the seaside!

In the car driving to our destination, Mr. T is pensive and doesn’t say much. He watches the road pass by and tells us that he hasn’t been in a car for a long time. It almost makes him seasick…

Mr. X tells us about the books he’s last read. Throughout the journey he showers us with his passion for Greek mythology and the heroes from the Marvel comics.

En route, their conversation gets going. They get to know each other and prudently exchange some words on their past: “Life is like a garbage bin”, one of them exclaims. “Oh, if only you knew what happened to me”, replies the other. Gradually, this creates a space in which certain things can be deposited – also silently…

A day at the seaside!

The seaside – they hadn’t been there for years.

As soon as he arrives on the beach, Mr. X takes off his T-shirt and runs into the waves, together with some other tenants. Others just relax.

Mr. T keeps his distance and watches the scene with amusement. Everybody finds a spot of his/her own. Feet in the sand, eyes fixed on the horizon, the mind drifting away in feelings, memories, happy, tender, restful, nostalgic…

It seems as if, by taking their time, enjoying each other’s’ company, joking and feeling part of a group, they suddenly find it easier to accept life with all its ups and downs.

That evening, Mr. T and Mr. X got out of the car with a sparkle in their eyes. Mr. X exclaimed: “That was great!”- while Mr. T gave us broad smile…

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(*) We make every effort to respect the privacy of our patients and our professional secrecy. Nevertheless, we want to bear witness to how they have to survive and how we work together to reintegrate them. Therefore, the names of places and people are deliberately omitted or changed and real-life situations are placed in another context. There is no direct link between the photos and the stories above.