Reflect on the past and focus on the future
I decided to volunteer on a refugee camp on a small Greek Island at the end of 2019. This wasn't my first visit to the Island, probably the 4th or 5th. In previous years I'd had some amazing family holidays here. In 2018 we had hired a car to drive to a beauty spot, what we didn't bargain for was driving past what I now know was 'the jungle'. The overspill of a refugee camp that at it's peak homed (in the loosest term) 8,200 people, which only intended to have 600 when it was set up. I couldn't ignore the sight I saw, so I went back as a volunteer, this is an extract from one of my emails home....
'Thankfully the rain has held off this week. I literally cry when it rains here because of the dire camp conditions and how desperate things must be in the wet. The rats are such a problem, people are telling us that the rats keep going for them and biting them. One girl was bitten on the nose by a rat, and there’s me complaining about small cockroaches! No-one ever complains here. In my English class, we always start with small conversations and the ladies are always so positive, it’s mind blowing. When I ask my students how are you, they always say they are fine or okay. This is despite sleeping in a tent or container, being away from home and family, queueing for 4 hours for every single meal they choose to have, access to a washing machine once every 4 months and being bitten by rats. It certainly puts a different perspective on my life. They smile and laugh with me every single day.'
My motivation and drive for Resettle@Guildford is that instead of ignoring this growing crisis which puts 1000's of families risking their lives to leave inhabitable homelands for many reasons, I can make a difference to one family simply by reaching out to help - who wouldn't do that? I hope that if my family were in that position someone would do the same for me.