On the 10th day I went to a refugee camp with my flatmate.
She´s been doing voluntary work there since some time now and told me a bit about the circumstances before we entered. I was very thankful for that because it helped me to get prepared mentally. Still it was very shocking and upsetting.
First I got a very distrustful look by the security at the main entrence, then we needed to get an ID card to be able to enter again. We had to wait and so we had some time to watch the goings-on: a big gym converted into an accomodation; people hanging around in the eating hall, in the courtyard, on sleeping benches; a man asking to change the trousers which were too big and which he got from the organization, but not understanding the answer of the unfriendly female worker who not even exerted herself to make him understand; grimly looking security everywhere, untouchable and like stones; many childern sitting and running around, trying to find some opportunities for playing....an improvised setup: noisy, cold and repellent.
I immediately got the urge to help, to do something. But the weird thing was that no one came to us to give instructions how to helpor what to do. Later another volunteer told me that this is the normal thing when you come to a camp for the first time. Also you are not allowed to walk around in the camp on our own, you always have to ask the security to accompany you. Me and another new girl wanted to gather some kids to play a clapping game. But we were not allowed to leave the eating hall unless we couldn´t find a person of the security to come with us.
So we were standing around without any task when just a big group of parents and kids from some religious communities entered. They brought about 40 different and awesome cakes, pies of fruit, muffins and brownies. Also with them: An e-piano, a violin and two musicians who were playing saloon music while we distributed the delicious food. All of a sudden we had some work to do! And what a wonderful one! It was so much pleasure to see the kids´eyes shining when eating the yummie sweets (and they were yummie indeed, I tried some). It was a very nice act of friendship, especially since it was spontanious and appeared like the answer to the inhuman act in front of another camp the day before.
The other volunteers were pretty cool and also the woman who was the responsible one. I know that I will go there again and maybe next time I´ll manage to make some music and play some games with the kids. You could feel that they would need some distraction and attention.
I would have loved to post some pics of the camp to give you a better impression of the atmosphere, but unfortunately it´s not allowed to take pics there. That´s part of the agreement you have to sign before you get the ID card.
I think that everyone should go to such a camp to get the impression of what´s going on there. You will see things in a new and different way..