‘Volunteering in One Happy Family has become an addiction’

Fanny from Switzerland

One Happy Family still had to be built, when Fanny Oppler came here for the first time.This was more than a year ago. In March this year, she visited the center for the third time. ‘When I arrived here one year ago, I did a lot of construction work. I painted the walls and shoveled the ground. The center opened two days after I left. In September I came back to see the result. Volunteering in One Happy Family has become an addiction since then.’

My task at One Happy Family was …
‘To work at the bank. The system they have invented for this is great. The visitors get two ‘drachma’ everyday. They can get several things with this. A cup of tea, a haircut, or clothes at the boutique. They chose however they want to spent the drachma. I like the idea of a basic income. The fact that they are responsible for their expenses is also a good thing. It gives them a feeling of independency again.

The atmosphere at One Happy Family is good. But we do need some extra support when the bank opens. Some people are not willing to stand in line or they argue with you because they need more drachma. This may sound absurd, but imagine how desperate these people are to fight over a ticket. Luckily, this doesn’t happen a lot. The people are managing. They are so strong.’

I keep coming back, because …
‘The persons i’ve met here are amazing. Especially the people from Moria who work in the community center. They work so hard. It’s them that keeps this place running. One Happy Family is their place. The volunteers just support them.

The team working in the kitchen illustrates how much they love the community center. They are cooking for more than six hundred people in just two pots on the ground. It is amazing. Just like them, many people in this place are so talented. It is such a shame that they are stuck on this island.’

What struck me the most, was …
The system of the asylum seekers. It is so random. Some people from Syria get the blue stamp, while others from this country get rejected. There is just no logic. And they decide over human lives with this randomness. It is awful.’

My wish for refugees is …
‘That the war stops so they can go back to their country. Because that is what most of them want. They don’t want to stay in Europe. I hope the madness of this island will stop soon. And that the situation in Moria will change. So many boats are arriving in Lesvos. I can’t imagine how all these people will live there. It is going to be a war zone. Politicians all over Europe should act. They have to do something about it.’

Fanny Oppler

Age: 27

Country: Switzerland

Occupation: graphic designer

Stay: 1 march – 1 april