While I have been on the island of Lesvos,Greece working at the Refugee camp for 9 weeks, I have come to realize that many of you reading my posts have many questions. The purpose of this post is to try my best to answer the questions that you may have.
Q- What does the Refugee Camp look like?
A- My team and I work on the part of the camp which is called the ‘Overflow”. We work on the outskirts of the prison where the main camp is located. Inside the prison is housing for the Syrian Refugee’s. On the side that I work on, we come in contact with mostly Moroccans, Algerians, Iranians and some refugees from Pakistan and Afghanistan. The refugees that are fleeing from those countries are mostly males, I probably see an average of 80% males come into the food tent each night. The refugees that I come in contact with have left their countries on their own or with friends. Whereas on the Syrian side, most of the refugees are families that are fleeing their country together, so fathers, mothers and their children.
Q- Many people have been asking me why I haven’t posted any pictures with women or children on social media?
A- I have worked a couple of shifts in the children tent with another team member who has become the shift leader in the kids tent. The children’s tent is meant only for kids and their mothers, it is meant for them to feel safe and for them to warm up. While working in the children tent no volunteer is allowed to take a picture at any time or allowed to have their phone out of their pocket. There are many reasons why pictures are not allowed to be taken and posted on social media, some of the reason are from the kids tent shift leaders and some of them are from the leaders of the camp. When I come in contact with a female or a child it is usually when they have just have arrived from getting off a boat and I am handing them a hot cup of soup, then within in 30 minutes they have been taking to housing. Yes, I so dearly wish that I had the chance to build a stronger relationship with the women and children, but I am very grateful for the smiles and laughs that I have been able bring on their precious faces!
Q- What does a 5pm to 1am shift look like?
A- When my team and I first arrive at the food tent we do our best to help the lunch shift volunteers end their shift, we usually are still handing out food from lunch. If we aren’t handing out food from lunch then we are making a new pot of hot chocolate. Every night is different. Every day there is a different amount of people at the camp, it is all dependent on the weather and the water and if the refugees are willing to cross from Turkey to the island of Lesvos. So depending on the amount of refugees that are at the camp my team and I might starting cooking. We start cutting up onions, a lot of onions. We cut garlic, carrots, tomato’s, eggplant and add a bunch of beans and spices. Finally, at 7pm catering arrives. The catering company usually provides us with 500-800 meals. The meals we get for the caterer’s are a little tin container that have a small portion of rice, carrots and an even smaller portion of beans. We serve the refugees one meal and a piece of bread. Honestly, it is sad, it is a sad amount of food that they are given and it is even more sad that on a really busy day we can only give them one because we have to make sure that every refugees has eaten. We usually keep the food tent doors open for about 2 hours to allow people to trickle in and get dinner. Meanwhile we are still trying to cook the other pot of soup and the hot chocolate so we can serve that at around 9pm. We prepare the hot pot of soup and hot chocolate for when all the catering food is taken. We are preparing ourselves for if a new boat arrives, a new boat can be anywhere from 20 people to 60 people.
These are the main three questions that I get asked! Please, if you have any questions about the ministry that I am doing do not be afraid to personal message me on facebook or email me at email@example.com. I hope I answered some of your questions and that you have a better understanding of what I have been up to the past 9 weeks!
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