Volunteer story: Marta (Dec 16)
Before departing to Greece I had many expectations, dreams, I was in a certain way idealistic about the world and how it works. Volunteering in a crisis situation in the place where it is happening is an experience that has brought me more perspectives and knowledge and the most important, persistence to keep fighting for human rights and be more active in my day-to-day.
My first day in the camp I didn’t know how the NGO worked. I was more an observer and a questioner to the other volunteers. Day after day I learnt many things, every day is an opportunity to learn about the work we do and how the system works. However I left every evening with a bittersweet feeling. “I am not helping to stop this atrocities, I’m just helping to feed the system”. That’s a thought that came and still comes to my mind sometimes. “I am one of the thousands supporting actresses for this big play in which the directors are bombing the beautiful sceneries, killing the main actors and actresses and spoiling countries, all of these with the consent of the big first world hypocrisy industry of European Union, United States of America, UN and Russia.”
That’s true. But I went to Greece not to fight the system (that comes later) but to help to dignify the lives living in there. I learnt it thanks to volunteers, founders John and Paul I had the pleasure to meet, and mostly thanks to all the people living in the camp, individuals who are waiting for an asylum in a European country. That’s the reality right now, people run away from their countries because a bomb could fall from the sky. They own few things at the moment, war and misery took everything, everything means also part of their families. It is impossible for people who haven’t lived in a war to imagine ourselves in that condition. Normally, volunteers I shared the experience with and I though “We couldn’t live in this situation” “If I were them I would be always grumpy” “Look how much love they give to each other and to us”. Now I am a bit more optimistic when thinking about pure and good human beings, like residents in the camp and people who are helping to get to an end in all the possible ways to this circumstance. Of course we would be like them. The reason is because between them and us there’s nothing. We are the same people, with the same feelings, the same sorrows and joys.
After I understood I was there to help to dignify their lives, everything was easier for me, especially for my mind. Every moment I shared a smile with someone, every moment I chased a boy or a girl making them laugh until they lost their energy, every time I pushed the swings with a little girl or boy counting the numbers in learnt in Arabic, every moment I shared dancing during the women’s hour or every time I shared experiences and photos with some of the people stuck in the camp for over 8 months gave me a feeling of something is done well here. I was giving a sweet moment, a feeling of “someone is caring for me” and at the same time they were giving me love and optimism and a big tenacity to keep going, to keep fighting against this rotten system in all the ways are on my hand.
While I was working in camp and warehouse I started to think of different ways to help to change this situation. While I was there, there was a citizen movement in Spain spread over through social media called #Noestamosciegos “Siria No la Guerra Stop the war” (#wearenotblind “Stop the war Syria”) that called to all citizens in some of the Spanish cities to concentrate in a remarkable place of the town against the war in Syria and all the wars. That was how I started to act from back stage. My friend Raquel and I organized the event for our city Lleida. Then we got to know more people from our place who are doing a great job through different platforms for human rights and immigrants, locally and abroad. They launch different initiatives to pressure our governments who are one of the main responsible in these acts of war and inequality.
So I came back full of energy thanks to the people I had the pleasure to meet. I still have this kind of bitter feeling, I learnt a bit closer how the world works but I also saw a bit closer the love, the happiness, the altruism, the goodwill that gave me the capacity to keep going to create a better world (still sounds too utopian), here locally and there globally. The world needs to hear and feel us.
Let me finish with a statement, a last message:
When we born we are all the same so please stop to repeat the paternalist thinking “These people are suffering a lot” and don’t act as they are not human beings. Participate, be involved in every way you can, locally, politically, shout to your governments, to the European Union, donate money to NGO’s that actually invest money in humanitarian aid and dignifying lives like Refugee Support, that’s the only way to stop injustice and support people who are suffering.
Thank you very much