Today we met Walesa, Lisetta, Anya and Claudia. They are volunteers in Kara Tepe and Moria, two of the camps on Lesvos.
We sat in a circle presented ourselves and asked all sorts of questions. As usual our group didn’t disappoint at asking difficult yet fascinating questions.
We discussed their experience as volunteers, what keeps them going, what makes them get up every day, the conflicts they deal with regularly and the little victories they experience, the locals’ involvement in the crisis, their relation with the refugees.
Anya and Lisetta were volunteers from the medical team and they presented to us the difficulties they face with refugees who in a state of desperation turn to alcohol or drugs. The number of mental health issues and self harm issues they face in camps is considerable and illustrate the frustration the refugees feel by being stranded on an island with little to nothing to do.
Walesa and Anya also expressed their frustration as volunteers being obliged to follow the rules set by the state’s policies or the different organizations that run the camps, they cannot solve some of the issues the refugees face because of these restraints and feel powerless in the face of injustice.
Nonetheless, they all showed in some way their belief that they find themselves exactly where they are meant to be. In the heart of the beast, they fight to win these little battles that make them feel alive, useful and proud.
They do it to fight stereotyping, to bring some sort of relief to the people who need it most and to be part of something greater where everything still needs to be built.
Furthermore, Claudia also explained how even though they face challenges between the different cultures, essentially it all comes down to the individual. Some are conservative, some are not, some dance at parties, some don’t. Essentially we are all different humans regardless of our cultural background.
Our exchange with Anya, Claudia, Lisetta and Walesa truly captured what it means to Think Human… We left once more feeling motivated and empowered to bring this perception back to our communities!