One Happy Family “gives a piece of normality back”

A primary school teacher that takes a one year break to discover different things and then came to us, this is Barla, our amazing, funny, positive, smart, always smiling friend! Since she’s a teacher she mainly taught in the Adult school but was also always there for any other daily tasks that we needed her for.

Thank you Barla, for being such a heart-person and sharing your volunteer story.

This is my most memorable moment:

The most memorable moment was when I saw the first time this very long food line. Men, women and children were all standing in a different line. So many people waiting for food and in the same time you can feel this good atmosphere, hear the music from the kitchen and smell the nice food. This was my favourite and most memorable moment during one of my first days at One Happy Family.

This was the most challenging for me:

There were some weird situations when I had to act like a policewoman. You are asking the people in the line, if they have already eaten. Just to make sure that there is enough food for everybody and nobody eats two times. This made me feel weird, even when I knew, it has to be fair for everybody and that’s why we need to say no.

One Happy Family is…

a positive bubble with happy people. And happy people make good things, right?

Of course it is much more. First of all, the place gives the people on the island a daily structure and (through good organization and happy vibes) calmness. It gives a piece of normality back, which is very important. One Happy Family treats the people humanely and shows them new options for everyday life on the island.

This is what I would like to tell other people:

It is a very special and unique place. It feels almost unreal to be with so many people from all over the world on the same place somewhere in Greece. Time and place get lost while you are there, which is very nice. You are totally living in the moment.

My tasks in One Happy Family are…

I was an English teacher and taught for almost 8 weeks. I had a Level 2 class and also an ABC-women class. It was nice to get this connection with my students and also a possibility to get to know people better. Besides learning a lot, we had a lot of fun in our classes.

What do you think makes One Happy Family different from other similar organizations?

I think what makes OHF different and unique is the drachmasystem. The visitors have to come regularly, to collect the drachmas. With the drachmas they have options to buy warm drinks or new soaps. Also to get a new haircut. It is more like in the reality, you have to make an effort to earn something. This is how it works at OHF. And the system works very well. The community Centre is different from other organizations, because it is not FOR the people, but it is WITH people in their asylum procedures, which makes the project more sustainable.

What motivated you to stay longterm and why do you think it is important that volunteers stay for a long time?

In the first weeks you only feel overwhelmed of everything. Many noises, many visitors and volunteers with many different languages and stories. It is a lot.

I noticed how enriching it is to have more time and become familiar with the place and the people.

After a couple of weeks, you know how everything works and you become more and more like a family member. This is a deep experience, that I would never want to miss in my life.

And then Barla adds…

I miss the place so much- you can feel all the warmhearted people, who fight for this positive Community Centre every day and it is so important to have all of you for making this project as nice as it is.