Day 2 and we’ve travelled to the island of Lesvos where Simon and I are in the brilliant hands of Ines, Mohammad, Anna and the fantastic team of Refugee 4 Refugees volunteers. And I also visited the very lovely Danielle at Gateways2Life showers for women.
The area for today’s distro was on the left of camp right next to the road and closer to the town. Omar had already been through this area with the tarpaulins and lots of the tents feel bigger and more homely structures than in the other overspill area we were in yesterday. However, I also find this area much darker.
What a great day today! Maybe it was the bright Greek sunshine lifting the mood? It was a busy start at the Refugee 4 Refugees shop as a queue was waiting when we arrived. The women happily took a pen whilst they were being registered and, instead of kids’ drawings, Anne’s scribbling wall was soon full of lovely messages in French, Arabic and a little English.
Another busy day in the Refugee 4 Refugees shop. The brand new bras and knickers for the women, as well as the jumpers, scarf and sleeping bags of course, are so popular and so we opened the doors at 9am to a queue outside and lots of new registrations (registrating people as Anne calls it!). It’s great because it means word has spread in the Camp and the women really want what we’re giving out.
As we drove from the volunteer house in the morning, I was struck again by the camp on the hillside. No more than a blip, a little strip of blue and white canvas above the town. When we give out tickets, not everyone shows up, but ‘show rates’ this week for the jumpers, socks, underwear, bra and sleeping bags / shelter suits has been about 80-90%. And there’s lots of women coming to register too.
We understand only too well how compelling it is to a donor to spend £10 on a packet of nappies for a vulnerable baby and mum. And how the opposite is true of a £10 donation towards a £1000 monthly van hire, or towards insurance, or worse still, tax! Hearts and minds grabbers they’re definitely not! But vehicles are often the one thing volunteer groups can’t live without.