When many small people...

As we are scouting the camp, people ask us for blankets, but the Red Cross tells us not to start distributing, “because then, everybody comes and wants some”. We ignore this wise advice, grab the blankets we collected the night before and bring them to the people, who gladly take them. As we are walking between the tent rows, talking with the refugees, joking with them and posing for souvenir photos, we notice that we are the only staffs actually entering this place. No police, no Red Cross people. They stay at the edges, Red Cross hiding in their tent, police on the earth walls surrounding the various sectors. I wonder if they know how the conditions for people in there really are. I enter one tent where families are preparing to go to sleep, and there is an awful stench of shoes, sweat, moist and dirt in there. Glad to get out after having stayed for like 15 minutes, I feel sorry for these people who will stay at least a few hours until police wakes them up to get into the buses to somewhere.

When we report the lack of blankets, we are told that there are enough in the tents, which are prepared for people to come. So we go to see how things are in a sector where no people are admitted for the moment. We find some blankets and isolation mats in the tents in the first row, but even there, they seem very few for the number of people they are supposed to shelter. In the second row, a tent where some twenty people might stay, we only find a small pile of blankets. No isolation mats, not even tarps to cover the ground. I want to count them and realise the blankets are wet.

Enough blankets in the tents.


"There are enough blankets in the tents", we are told. That is what we find. The blankets are wet. (Opatovac 27/09/2015)

As the night goes on, we connect more closely with the only volunteers allowed to stay in front of the entrance. German guys from Intereuropean Human Aid Association who are doing an awesome job managing all the donations as well as distributing clothes and shoes to people arriving. At five in the morning, they call to ask for some tea for a Scottish team which just arrived with a donation convoy. We bring a tray and watch in awe how a second warehouse tent is being filled with well sorted supplies. These people just drove a few thousand kilometres to bring them here. I am just speechless and fight not to cry of joy. I am really happy to know these donations ended up in their hands, because I have seen them doing their best to cover the refugees' needs. And they just got the message that there is even more to expect, as three vans full of supplies are to arrive in the next few days. But their two tents are now completely full, so we bring them the last tent we have. They invite us for a beer, and we chat for a while until the sky is getting lighter and lighter.

Scottish Donations


A Scottish team came all the way from Edinburgh to bring two vans full of donations. (Opatovac 27/09/2015)

I am sad to notice, as I did in Röszke, that official institutions, including the state and the big organisations such as UNHCR and the Red Cross are not responding properly to the real emergency. I am angry, because are these organisations not actually here to do exactly that? But I am so glad to see civil solidarity, real and effective action from people who do not wait for these organisations to do their job, but they just come on their own expenses to do an amazing job.

When many small people do many small things in many small places, they can change the world.

Overnight stay near

Overnight stay near Graz/Austria available for volunteers! Ask Max.

Great

Thank you for the offer, I can keep people in touch with Max if anybody is interested.

Guys and Girls, you are doing

Guys and Girls, you are doing a very good Job, and everything that is possible! Don't give up, we - a lot of People back home - are thinking of you and are being grateful for what you are doing. You do it not for Red Cross, not for Croatia, but for the refugees, and to demonstrate that WE are a community, helping those in Need! THANK YOU!

Thank you :-)

Thank you so much for your support. It is worth a lot to know there are all these people back home behind, it keeps us going on.

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