To portray Idomeni as a place of pain, hopelessness and despair wouldn’t be fair. It was impossible not to see and feel all the love, happiness and hope that were spread across the fields and train tracks of Idomeni.
Certainly, it is an unbearable struggle for everyone, trying to overcome with grief the loss of loved ones, the loss of a home and everything known up to a certain point in ones life. It is exhausting both physically and mentally to try to create a new existence in inhumane living conditions coupled with an uncertain future. However, the most people living in Idomeni had not lost the ability to feel pleasure, to see hope, to motivate themselves to do things and create some sense of normalcy. They knew they were not dead and all they expected was to be given the chance to reorganise themselves and start a safe, peaceful life again. Especially the children, despite being deeply traumatised after all they had been through, they were still able to laugh, to play, to give and receive love. They were full of energy and interests and ideas and hope… It was so absurd to see all this human potential and talent being wasted in the muddy fields of Idomeni.
What was striking about Idomeni, was to watch and feel the compassion, love and hope pouring from the volunteers. All these good people who were surprisingly young most of whom have been there since the very beginning of the crisis in Idomeni, have given up their comfortable lives to stand by the refugees. Many of these determined volunteers have already been to places like Lesvos or Calais.
Despite the circumstances, these beautiful souls haven’t lost their good spirit. With great teamwork, outstanding work ethic, fierce dedication to their cause and endless love, the volunteers are helping all these people in need to find their way back to life. On a daily basis, they would cook, distribute meals and drinks, offer medical support, give language courses, supply clothes always being there to assist and provide in any possible way. All across the tent city of Idomeni volunteers were available to help whether playing with children, chatting or drinking a tea with adults, always smiling, always eager to do more, always open and friendly.
There were numerous of different volunteer teams that had been active in Idomeni , working with great efficiency and in perfect coordination. Hot Food Idomeni one of the mobile kitchens that cooked and distributed thousands of warm meals daily, Solidaritea offering warm tea all day long, the Warehouse, collecting and supplying clothes and other essentials, the Chech Team, to name but a few, were of vital importance for the existence and well being of the refugees in Idomeni.
Our fundraising team, Three Peas in Pot had the opportunity to financially and physically support a few volunteer groups. In May we visited Idomeni and spent some time in the region working alongside volunteers for Hot Food Idomeni and others. We delivered medicines, clothes and financial aid to likeminded independent volunteer teams and individuals.
During our stay in the region, we were constantly on an emotional roller coaster, going from sentimental to excited and from joyous to tearful.
After this overwhelming yet beautiful experience, we are convinced that volunteering has a lot of benefits both for local communities in need as well as the volunteers. Many communities rely on the help of volunteers to be successful. And many volunteers, in order to have a successful volunteering experience need first to step out of their comfort zone and try new things and second; to receive support and understanding themselves from others, especially family and friends.
Therefore, as a team, Three Peas in a Pot would like to thank all of our families, friends and acquaintances who have so generously supported our project. We are grateful to you for believing in us and we are asking you keep standing by our side, to get involved and offer volunteer aid whenever and wherever it is needed, it is not an easy task. However, there are always people who wish to create a healthy and a peaceful world and they see volunteering as a way to do so. This way, they can reach out to others and offer solidarity and love. There will be no financial rewards. But the joy they can bring to others will be priceless.
Let us appreciate their work and support their efforts. This is the only way to make of the world a better one for all to live.