My friend Rando just returned from Macedonia and Greece, volunteering his help in the ongoing refugeecrisis. His reports about the living conditions there were harrowing (but also inspiring – for all the humanity he did encounter).
For example, 1500 forgotten souls are stuck in a limbo at TABANOVCE, on the border between Macedonia and Serbia, unable to go back or forth. Few volunteers were let through by the police to distribute food, water and firewood. Volunteer efforts are further complicated by the fact that hired cars from Greece may not enter Macedonia.
Thanks to your donations, he and his friend Itzel were able to distrubute food and drink to the stuck refugees there.
Idomeni on the Greek – Macedonian border. The border was just being shut to all refugees at the time when Rando was there.
Desperation spread amongst the unlucky 15000 as word got out about this. There are nearly 6000 children here. It looks like they will all be deported back to Turkey.
Then in the afternoon the sun came out and Rando and the other volunteers were able to give out 1000 food bags and enjoy happy moments with the refugees, playful children (hundreds of them), other volunteers and adults.
Big and small moment that could make you cry: Someone stole a girls’ doll, mother and daughter crying, a line of riot police 3 metres away. I don’t know how the volunteers do it. I read an advert asking for volunteers, and it said: ‘work is emotionally draining, accommodation in shared tent, bring own sleeping bag and car if possible ….”
Yet they smile again for the refugees tomorrow. They apologise on our behalf: to the Syrian lady sleeping with her two kids outside without a tent, to the lost 14 year old boy without parents, the guys they couldn’t give blankets to because they ran out, the guys they couldn’t give any good news about the border reopening……
This is a snippet from Rando’s Facebook post:
“Humanity is at it’s end when you find a 14 year old child at the side of a motorway, the child protection helpline tells you they have no one to pick him up, a group of 8 police officers inform you ‘the border is closed’ after you tell them twice that the boy is 14, from Afghanistan and alone. You proceed to the camp, to find that access road so blocked even parking a car is next to impossible and takes 10 mins because people are everywhere, you approach two TV teams, who tell you no one cares (the child next to you) for a Bulgarian State TV to take an interest ( the irony).
We took the boy to the Aporis/Save the children child protection unit. And they are explaining to a 14 year old boy how to claim asylum in Greece!
He doesn’t want to, he wants to go to to Germany…..the border is closed, it’s the end of the road and all these people are still hopeful that they will reach Germany, Sweden etc…. If they give up that hope, they might as well just give up!”
I have no idea where the volunteers find the strength
Every torrential rain cloud has a silver lining ( not for the refugees and volunteers in Idonemi, who will need all the strengths left to get through the next 4 days of heavy rain, the local river burst it’s banks today, how much more can everyone take? – I really don’t know)
It took 7 hours to drive to Athens instead of 5, so Rando didn’t make the last flight, but could spend a few hours helping at Piraeus port. Conditions are far from
Ideal but paradise compared to IDOMENI. Ordinary
Greek people once again showing true compassion.
Unemployed Greeks Dj’ing in Piraeus port for refugee kids!
Nice end to very disturbing and hope crushing week.
Please consider donating to Rando’s GoFundMeCampaign OneHumanRace by clicking the link below.
So far, Rando’s GoFundMeCampaign has raised £ 12,500, all of which has gone directly to benefit the refugees: No unnecessary overhead costs or fancy expenses. But much more is needed to provide the victims of war and terror with the bare necessities for survival and save the loss of more life, wherever this person was born.