Anlässlich meines Geburtstags im März sammle ich Spenden für Dråpen i Havet. Mit dieser gemeinnützigen Organisation habe ich selbst letzen Sommer in einem Flüchtlingscamp in Nea Kavala gearbeitet.
Die Organisation versorgt Menschen u. A. mit
– warmen Decken für den Winter
– frischen Lebensmitteln
und bietet den 750 Camp-Bewohnern die Möglichkeit, alle zwei Wochen eine Waschmaschine zu nutzen.
Weiteres habe ich in den letzten Monaten in diesem Blog beschrieben.
Die Not ist nach wie vor groß und die Perspektiven unklar. In den letzten Monaten ist ein großes Armeezelt komplett der Witterung zum Opfer gefallen und zwei der Wohn-Container sind bis auf das Alugestell ausgebrannt.
Ich freue mich, wenn ihr die gute Arbeit vor Ort unterstützt.
Liebe Grüße und ganz herzlichen Dank im Namen vieler Menschen, die unverschuldet in Not geraten sind.
Women’s space, English class
Check out market
A small boy who had told us a few days ago that he would move alone to Belgium to live with his uncle and aunt the following day. Now he is still at the camp. He tells me that he was only waiting for his passport, and then he would have to leave. But it was not really sure if he would leave. He seemed to be sad. The boy speaks a little bit English but no French. I ask him if he’d know his uncle and aunt, but he didn’t understand my question.
In the big community area there is a fire drill practiced by the military and the fire brigade. They make a fire in a grill and everybody who wants can try out the powder fire extinguisher. The children have a lot of fun. I ‘m happy to see this. I know that the people are very afraid of fire. Losing their homes again for them would mean to lose everything they have for another time.
I meet the mother and daughter whom I visited the day before again at the English class. They try their very best to speak and write in English, and they make fantastic progress.
Today is my second to the last day at Nea Kavala. I have my lunch break. A young man from Syria comes to sit down with me at the community space. You can clearly see, he isn’t going very well. He shows me some strange scarring’s on his arms and legs. As much as I understand those were caused by torture of his imprisonment for one year. He had pains but here at camp there wouldn’t be a doctor to care for him. He tells me in his cracked English that he has been here for five weeks now after he was imprisoned for one year.
Will the people at Nea Kavala ever get any chance in their live? Will they get the possibility to start a new life somewhere else. Or will they be refugees without any home? Will Nea Kavala turn into a long-term camp for people without any other perspectives? That is not the idea of Nea Kavala, but could this get possible? Will the people get used to live here?
Some refugees already started to run their own business at the camp.
My last gardening evening.
I see a small boy playing with a toy-machine gun. I’m startled. First he appeals to something else, later he directs it towards the other playing children. His mother gave it to him. Nobodys shows any reaction. This seems to be normal over here.
I’ll miss the children and their parents.
Living at a camp like Nea Kavala gives people the chance to feel safe for the first time after many years making experiences of war and violence.
But how long?
It is very hot in Greece in summer. The people like to sit in the shadow between two containers.
Also Cookie likes shadow. He is one of the dogs living at camp whom volunteers and refugeers take care of. He made himself for sleeping a hole in the sandy groung like the den of a fox.
As most people love shopping also many residents do. We want them to have some nice moments in their sad lives. I paint the children’s shoe shelf with blue and green colours and decorate it with flower motives.
At the laundry I speak to a woman who tells me, that her son had stomacheache. Some other people had told us the day before and the volunteers already had stopped drinking water from the tap. The woman was holding her belly because of asthma. Could I give some lessons in relaxed breathing? I ask myself.
A teacher from Republique Congo is sitting at out table. For two years he is waiting to get his documents. At the camp he had been volunteering as an interpreter for the helenic red cross. He wants to go to France to finish his studies and organise the reunion with his two teenage daughters that still live in Africa.
A farmer is burning something on his field. The fire is getting bigger and bigger. The residents at the camp are very afraid because of this. Carfully they watch the situation. I can imagine how they must feel. Losing their containers would mean losing everything they own for another time. I have no idea from what material the containers were made but the additional building are wooden and it hasn’t been raining for weeks.
Policemen are coming to calm the residents down and send the children away. I want to close down the laundry and leave the camp but my collegue askes me to wait a bit. The wind was going to the opposite direction.
Much time later the brigade is arriving. The firefighting operations take quite a long time.
On our day off a volunteer from Catalonia and I take the Intercity bus to Thessaloniki.
We visit the harbour, take a walk through the city.
We visit some old Romains buildings over there and a typical market hall.
While having a cup of coffee at the waterside I try to write down some answers to the questions that I had received from my friends the last days.
“Which possibilitys do NGO’s have to help refugees in Greece?”
What we can do while working here as a volunteer is to make the daily live a little bit more comfortable and easier. Six days a week the Dråpen i Havet volunteers help with distribution of fresh fruit and vegetables. They also sell some dry food and donated clothes, that refugees can buy with a cryptocurrency called Drops.
They run a laundry where the residents can wash their clothes. During the summer in the evenings residents and volunteers do fun sport activities like volleyball in the community space.
The organisation runs bike rentals for refugees and a build and repair workshop.
Most of the buildings like this canopy were self-made by refugees and volunteers.
The cooperating organisation We Are Here runs sport and childcare activities, gives English lessons and yoga classes to women, and starts gardening projects for all ages.
There is also a library where the refugees can borrow books two times a week.
There is the Childrens Friendly Place, where a young social worker and some volunteers play with them.
Do the people already speak a little bit English or German?
Some people do, at most countrys they learn English at school but because of war and flight some children couldn’t visit school for a long time.
Will these people be able to leave the camp and to move to other countries?
Many people told me, that they wanted to go to Germany, to France, to Sweden or to some other places but first they needed visa. Some had been waiting at Nea Kavala for two years. Leaving Greece was not easy. Staying at Greece was almost impossible because there were hardly any jobs.
One guy had told me that he had been offered a job for a salary of € 13 / day at Thessaloniki harbour. After a few months he had stopped this hard work because living at Thessaloniki would cost much more than he had earned. Some companies really seem to exploit refugees.
Nobody knows if these people will ever get the possibility to get asylum in Greece or to get visa to move to another country. Some people have been waiting here for two years. One man had told me up to now he had allready done seven interviews at the Greek authorities and there was still no decision.
Is it frustrating to work at a refugee camp or do you think volunteering at Nea kavala is doing a good job?
Sometimes it is very frustrating, because there are no future prospects. Many times ask myself, if it makes any sense to be here, but when I see what NGOs had built up within the last to years I know that we do a good job. Every little piece of help is a drop in the ocean. And very drop makes a difference. That’s the Drop in the Ocean’s philosophie.
Nea Kavala two years ago:
1500 people in tents without water, no money for clothes…
After reading this I understood the worth of our work over here.