Kim Returns to Lesvos
Kim’s Return to Lesvos
I’ve been updating everyone about this trip for weeks now. And a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated so far we’ve raised £2486 which is phenomenal.
Today I was able to see where that money goes and let me tell you it doesn’t last long.
This morning first thing we met Bethany from the House4Humanity team. She brought with her some volunteers and together we had a tour of the house. The photos don’t really do the entire place justice. It is peaceful, there is a special energy. Rafat and Neda had told me this was the case but I really felt it today.
We agreed that Amir and I would accompany Bethany to the supermarket to pay for a shop. And when I say shop this is a beast of a shop. We spent 1769.51 Euros as you can see from the below we bought A LOT. But when the H4H is open 5 days a week with hungry families to feed, it doesn’t last long.
I will write another blog either tonight or tomorrow about how I feel about my return and what has changed on the island. Including how I arrived last night in the middle of a very violent and deeply saddening situation with some far right groups attacking silently protesting refugees. I will also share observations from locals, volunteers and refugees. But for now I will keep it focused on what happened today…
Humans4Humanity is managed and run by a number of refugees currently living in Moria. They are collected by Bethany and everyone worked to get the house ready. There are 4 key areas, the registration area, the store, the clothing store and the outside space.
We welcomed the first families, they have to register their details and are allocated credit, they can choose how to use their credit. Families are welcome to take what they need from the clothing store. Very quickly the noise levels raised, children can be heard laughing and wheeling about on the toys. (MORE TOYS ARE NEEDED! especially some picture books, robust games and anything else that can be used whilst waiting)
This is the most important area because it is what people are able to trade their points for, if the store is empty Humans4Humanity can’t open, or people go without important supplies. If you’ve waited to get your turn and the cupboards are bare, this is not a good experience. The store is looking pretty empty. I can now verify that the money buys a lot, but it doesn’t last. If anyone works for companies who might be interested in donating to the store. BIG deliveries of nappies, wipes, personal hygiene products are most welcome.
The Clothing Store
When I stepped in I GOT it, this is about having dignity and the ability to rummage, flick through the hanging clothes and make choices. Two things that got me this morning. Firstly seeing a very familiar garment, familiar because Bilbo wore it and then Harrison did. I also saw my handwriting on a box. This was our stuff in action…being useful! I was delighted to pass on our much loved romper suite to a mum with a gorgeous baby.
Of course the Clothing Store is not without its frustration, there is SOOO many bags of 0-2yrs clothes. Do you know what that means? You’re literally stood there with a bag full of stuff that might fit a 3 month old baby or a 2 year old.
TOP TIP: if you’re going to send aid, bag it up in exact sizes and split into what is? trousers, tops etc. Or bag up complete outfits. This would make life so much easier for the team here.
I have seen sheer delight in parents faces when i’ve opened up a bag and it is full of goodies. I had a particularly delighted 5 year old with her full on pink and purple get up. She proudly gave us a fashion show and left wearing every garment we found in her size. The delight in the little boys face when we found a spiderman t-shirt – the biggest grin of the day.
The outside space includes a football pitch and lots of shade from the hot sun. As well as areas to stay dry when i’m sure the Greek weather isn’t being so kind.
What is missing?
The team at Humans4Humanity are preparing for Ramadan. This will be a massive lift and not having the ability to chill or freeze food is a problem. And we can help…tomorrow I’m going shopping for a chest freezer and if I can stretch to it we will buy a fridge too. Why? because the food I bought this morning will be gone by the end of the week. But leaving something that is a legacy for the Humans4Humanity team means we can all leave a little bit of us there for them to continue to use long after i’ve gone home.
If you’d like to contribute please follow the link below. EVERY single penny can do so much good here. THANK YOU!