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BLOG | Happyness 🔄 Dismay

👉 Andrea, part of the CRR team on Lesvos is blogging about her first week as volunteer.

My first week as volunteer in the camp Mavrovouni are finished. In just a couple of days I had so my impressions that I barely know where to start writing. I think that is the nature of the job here, happiness and dismay are interchanging constantly. One moment I’m joking around with Congolese men, the other moment somebody is telling me a moving life story that almost break me into tears. One day I’m handing out free goods to make people happy for a while, the other day somebody is reacting very frustrated when I have to pass an annoying message. So never a dull moment.

Last Thursday I had to hand out ‘tickets’ to men, they can use these to pick new clothes at the foundation ‘One Happy Family’. I received a list with names and tent numbers, with that list I was able to find all the men who had right on the ticket. Our working day already starts at 08.00 hrs, but the refugees who have almost nothing to do, are in bed until late in the morning. So it happens often that you ‘knock’ on the tent and everybody is still asleep. It can take a while before you have contact. One meeting of that morning, with a Nigerian man, is still in my memory. He is happy with the ticket, however I notice that want to get rid of his story. In the beginning he is joking that he want to go to the Netherlands with me and Mirjam (my working partner that day), but the mood is changing. He is joking, but I realise that there is real hope in his joke. He desperately want to start a new life in a land that is good for him. He tells that he had a good life back in Nigeria and that he is a good person. But he argues that it’s really unfair that he is now locked in a camp, in a small tent. They are becoming crazy about the fact that they really cannot to anything the whole day. He really hope that we can do anything for him in our country. There moments are tough. I can’t do something for him now, only listen and say that I feel sorry for him and that I hope that he can receive asylum real quick. One of his tent mates is already waiting at Lesvos for asylum for 2,5 years…

The same afternoon Mirjam and myself have lunch at one of the catering vans and we enjoy our break at a hill with a view at sea and Turkey. Two Afghan girls of about 20 years see us and whisper to each other. They want to join us. We invite them to sit with us, and we chat in broken English. Refugees are in need of contact, I see that more often. We also get invited sometimes to have tea in their tent, really nice moments. For them a nice break of the day and for us a relax way to get in contact and hear their stories.

I only worked 4 days in the camp, but I have the feeling that I’m here for weeks. The days are intense but the work give so much satisfaction. The people here are suffering and there is not so much we can to. But what we can do is be a little light in their dark days in the camp Marvrovouni. That’s what I do it for!

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