DAY 14 – 20: TIME FLIES!

Our third and last week as part of the Chios Eastern Shore Response Team was flying by fastly. The main focus during the past six days was, of course, the completion of CESRT’s website, which kept us busy until Saturday. Luca did most of the work, as he was responsible for setting up and designing the webpage as well as inserting the pictures and texts. These texts were each written by experienced volunteers, which took a lot of work from us. My job was simply to shoot one or the other photo, to make the website a little more appealing, and to ensure that the finished texts were delivered in a timely manner.

Since Luca really had a good grip on the project “Website”, I had the opportunity to get to know two new activities of the aid organization this week. On Tuesday I went to the refugee camp with four other volunteers to distribute jackets, and on Thursday I was allowed to help prepare the food in “Costa’s Kitchen”.

Normally, the camp itself is responsible for giving out winter jackets, which works very well for the women and children, but unfortunately because of the shortage of men’s jackets, we had to plunder our stocks to improve the given situation. In order to ensure that all asylum seekers are equipped with the necessary winter clothing, it was organized some time ago, that jackets were already handed out directly at the landing. Since the camp is supported by us, in order to be able to provide the inhabitants with clothing, we must be very organized and structured, as the distribution framework is often chaotic. For this purpose, two of our volunteers went to the camp a few weeks ago, in order to get an overview together with the responsible employee of the camp control unit, of which male refugees living in the tents around the camp dont have a winter
jacket yet and which do. As a result, they brought a list to the warehouse, which showed the tent number and the clothing size of the residents, who were not yet supplied with a jacket.

Until last Tuesday, a large part of the tents on the list were already processed by us, which is why we had to pack only about 20 jackets in the morning and then we could make our way to Vial. Once there, we waited for a coworker of the camp, because we are not allowed to walk through the living areas on our own and because he knew a lot better, where to find which tent number. The handing out of jackets went smoothly, eventhough, one or two refugees not on our list came to us and asked us for a jacket. Unfortunately, we were not able to provide these people with winter jackets, because we did not have enough stock and we did not know if they had not already gotten a jacket and in fact were asking for a second one. It was nice to see how grateful the inhabitants were and how humane and respectful they are to each other despite the incredibly difficult situation. The children were playing wildly and many mothers were cooking a
little something for their families.

Not only in the camp people were cooking, but also in Costas Kitchen. Costa is a local that has been running a restaurant on the island forever and relatively soon after the onset of the refugee crisis has decided to provide a kitchen where all the volunteers working on the island are being fed. It’s a great project where the role of the chef is filled by a Syrian refugee. He comes to the kitchen from Monday to Friday and prepares a free vegan dish together with some volunteers for between 150 and 200 people. Normally, the ingredients for the next day’s meal are prepared and cut to size. These are often simple foods, of course, but it was a lot of fun to work with him and Margaret, a volunteer from the US,cutting about 25 cucumbers and 10 kg of tomatoes and to cook rice with grape leaf sauce.

For our last week, in addition to completing the website and other work for CESRT, we have set ourselves the goal of supporting a local family on behalf of Travel for Smiles. A detailed report can be found in the following blog entry: What is more expensive than education? No education!
On Saturday, Luca instructed two collegues who should keep the website “up to date” and I took part in the project day of the Language Center that is being held every Saturday. This time we had a little dance-show on the program, where Sarah taught me, a couple of other volunteers and highly motivated students the choreography of the first 60 seconds of the song “Me too” by Meghan Trainor. It was very entertaining and fortunately there were no injuries.

In the evening, a big farewell party was thrown together with all the volunteers at the end of our working week, because not only we, but also three other volunteers had their last day of work. It was really a great time here on Chios, where we learned so much and were part of a unique team. A small final report will follow. ūüôā¬†

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