Nea Kavala, day six, Tuesday, 14th of August 2018

My schedule today:

Women’s Space
Gardening project

A friend had asked me to describe how people used to live at the camp and what their future prospects were.

Imagine a small village with one long street on a never used military airport runway. Along this road there are built about 160 containers.

Rollfeld Nea Kavala
Foto: Andrea Koltermann

Syrian artists painted the sanitary buildings to give some colour to the tristness of the refugee camp.

A few weeks ago, they had added a big army tent with small sleeping cabins to give another 100 people space. At the camp there are lliving about 750 people.

Foto: Andrea Koltermann

While I am taking some morning mood pictures, a man from Iraq comes to talk to me. He tells me, how difficult it was living at the camp. It would be dirty, he shows me that he was bitten by many mosquitos and he complains that there was almost no possibility to get medical help when needed. He had been over here for about two years waiting for documents to leave the camp.

I would like to help him if I could.

Foto: Andrea Koltermann

The service buildings are usually cleaned regularly but they are very scabby. The plumbing’s are rotten, they have many lacks. At some places the plumbs are missing, and the water runs to the ground.

The camp would need an installer to repair many of the pipes, but I’ve never seen anyone doing work like this.

This camp is meant to be temporary, so these little aesthetic repairs probably would never be done.

Because of this temporary concept there is not one flower planted in the whole camp.

Women's Space, English class
Foto: Andrea Koltermann

“I love giving English lessons at the Women’s Space.”

It is the second time for me to work at the women’s English class this noon. At the camp they offer English classes level one and two for women six days a week. Level three takes place in mixed groups for men and women. Only a few women visit them because often their husbands don’t allow them visiting classes together with other men.

Treffpunkt Laundry
Foto: Andrea Koltermann

The afternoon I work at the laundry, that is one of my favoured jobs. As the days before many people, mostly young men come to sit next to us in front of the laundry. They like to talk.

Mostly done communication content is smaltalk, “How are you?”
“Where do you come from?”, ” How long have you been here?” The answer to the first question normaly is “fine, how are you?”. That like it’s used to in USA, I don’t know if people would do in their own language.

A young Syrian tries to communicate by speaking into his mobile phone and letting an online translator write a translation. That seems to be a good idea, but many times the translation doesn’t make any sense.

One guy was just returned from his language class at Polycastro and asks me to help him with his English homework.

Foto: Andrea Koltermann

Bit by bit I’m starting to really like everyone around here. They are all so hearty. Among the inhabitants of the camp there are many children and young man in my sons age.

I think that many of these young men could get a job in Germany if they would ever get a visa. They are so polite, and they really would like to learn and to work.

The big difference between these young people and my own children is that my children have had a save childhood, and now they are grown up and just have to choose their way of living.

Icecold winds from Sybiria will bring a cold winter to Greece. Donations for blankets and sleeping bags:

Nea Kavala, day five, Monday, 13th of August 2018

My schedule today:

Women’s Space
Gardening project

I was asked to help at the English classes that are organised by We Are Here, another organisation that works at the camp and Dråpen i Havet cooperates with.

Women’s Space, Foto Andrea Koltermann

They offer English classes for women in different levels and had asked me to help with filling the sheets and teaching pronunciation for the new ones and sometimes give them some private coachings to them who needed most.

These buildings were made by NGos and refugees, Foto: Andrea Koltermann

There are 22 women and teenage girls in the class and they have a lot of fun. Learning English is a big challenge for Arabic people. I understood this a few days ago, when a guy from Syria gave me a lesson Arabic weekdays. Arabic people use to read from right to left side and all their letters look different from our letters.

Wochentage auf Arabisch
Foto: Andrea Koltermann

Usually the woman at the camp are very shy. Most of the time communication is mens task, but later that day I meet some women of the German class again. They are smiling, happy to meet me. Some even sway at me and call “hello teacher!”
I’m so happy about this and I’m really looking forward to the next lessons tomorrow.

Garten Projekt 1
Foto: Andrea Koltermann

In the evening we do a gardening project with children.

It is so amazing to see the positive energy in so many of the people and children ! (S.L., volunteer from Norway)

Foto: Andrea Koltermann

The children don’t want to get their clothes dirty. Also I don’t want to.

Do something together, burrow, play with water and make some buildings of sand, that’s a funny way to communicate even if you don’t speak any common language.

Children in Arabic cultures.
Growing up in an Arabic culture is very different from the usual experiences children make in our western cultures.
Often families use to live together in large families. Grandparents and older sisters take care for the smaller children. Having four or more children is not uncommon. In many families the women are 10 to 15 years younger than their husbands and start bearing children at young age.
Even very small children play outside the houses all day long. If something happens everyboby would help them. Communities take care for everyone’s wellbeing. Turned out of their family structure by the flight many people feel unsure in their parenting skills.

The winter in Greece will become cold.

Meine Vorbereitungen, Juli 2018

Es wird konkret

Meine Tochter ist aus ihrem Mallorca-Urlaub zurückgekommen. Auf meine Ankündigung hin, dass ich mich in einem Flüchtlingslager engagieren möchte, reagiert sie mit folgenden Worten: “Das wolltest du ja schon immer machen!”

Mithilfe einer Bekannten finde ich die Organisation Dråpen I Havet, eine international arbeitende Organisation mit Sitz in Norwegen und melde mich dort als Volunteer an.

Mein Sohn kommt zu Besuch. Auf meine Ankündigung, dass ich in einem Auffanglager für Flüchtlinge arbeiten werde, reagiert er genauso gelassen, als hätte ich ihm erzählt, ich müsse noch zum Bäcker.

Bevor es losgeht, heißt es für mich, meine Reserven aufzutanken. Wir haben zwei Wochen Familienurlaub auf dem Naturcampingplatz auf Terschelling gebucht. Ohne Strom aber mit fließendem Wasser, direkt am Wald und nur zwei Kilometer vom Meer entfernt.

Meine ToDo-Liste

  • Ein Flüchtlingscamp auswählen
  • Flug und Hotel buchen
  • Eine Webseite für meinen Blog einrichten
  • Meine Mutter besuchen und ihr von meinem Vorhaben berichten
  • Seminartermine mit meinen wichtigsten Kunden vereinbaren

Meine Pläne, Juni 2018

Zeit für Neues

Für mich ist es an der Zeit, etwas Neues zu tun, etwas zu tun, was ich schon lange gerne tun möchte. Lange habe ich mein Leben nach den Bedürfnissen meiner Familie geplant, nach dem Tagesablauf meiner Kinder, die ich über alles liebe. Und das habe ich sehr gerne gemacht. Jetzt sind diese groß und gehen ihre eigenen Wege.

“Frauen eine Stimme geben”. Unter diesem Titel habe ich in diesem Jahr einige Workshops gehalten. Auch nachdem in unserem Land Frauen seit 100 Jahren ein Stimmrecht haben, ist gehört und verstanden werden für Frauen immer noch enorm wichtig.

Für wen kann dieses Thema “Eine Stimme haben” noch wichtig sein, überlege ich während der Vorbereitung eines Vortrages, vielleicht sogar noch viel wichtiger als für die Frauen in unserem Land?

Karte Herkunftsländer
Foto: Andrea Koltermann

Immer wieder bin ich entsetzt, verärgert und aufgewühlt durch aktuelle politische Ereignisse in Europa.

Wie geht es denn den Frauen, die auf der Flucht sind, werden sie gehört und verstanden? Interessiert das überhaupt jemanden auf dieser Welt. Kommen sie nicht sowieso schon oft aus Ländern, in denen Frauen viel weniger zu sagen haben als bei uns? Schnell habe ich mir meine Frage selbst beantwortet. “besonders benachteiligten Frauen und Mädchen eine Stimme geben” das wird das Motto meines neuen Projektes sein.

Als Logopädin hatte ich 25 Jahre lang oft mit Menschen zu tun, die nicht sprechen konnten. Menschen, die gehört und verstanden werden wollen, buchen mich heute als Sprech- und Stimmcoach.

Andrea und Rainer
Foto: Andrea Koltermann

Heute habe ich meinem Mann Rainer erklärt, dass ich für einige Wochen verreisen werde. Mein Sohn studiert bereits und meine Tochter ist kurz davor.

Mein Mann scheint wenig überrascht zu sein, mitkommen möchte er nicht, aber solange ich nicht in ein Kriegsgebiet reisen will, unterstützt er meine Idee. Davon abhalten würde er mich sowieso nicht. Nach mehr als 25 Jahren mit mir und meinen Ideen weiß er, dass das vollkommen sinnlos wäre.

Meine ToDo-Liste

  • Eine Organisation suchen, die Flüchtlingsprojekte betreut
  • Einen Termin für meine Reise wählen
  • Meine Seminare für die zweite Jahreshälfte planen

Aufbruch zu neuen Ufern

“Why do people leave homes, their friends, their jobs and everything behind and risk their own lives and those of their children?”

Myriads of people are on the move. Most of the times they are forced to, because of war. They only want to safe their lives.

Schiff im Hafen
Foto: Andrea Koltermann