‘This experience will stay in our hearts’

Elisabeth Tobler, Barbara Aulopi & Alexsandra Hitz

Elisabeth Tobler, Barbara Aulopi and Alexsandra Hitz wanted to make the world a little bit better. When they got to know about One Happy Family, they knew this was the right place to volunteer. ‘We feel close to the motto of this community center; not working for, but with the people. As teachers we try to do the same. And we can tell; it works.’

‘We are sad to leave. We’ve met so many smart and good people. They were part of our daily life. It is normal to get a bit attached to them.’

We came to Lesvos, because …
‘Elisabeths son was here a year ago. He organized a fundraising event where he told about his experience in One Happy Family.The same evening we decided to book our tickets and volunteer at this community center. His story just caught us. The fact that we would go together also motivated us. We knew we were with the right people to share such an intense experience with.’

Our experience was …
‘Touching. I think this is difficult to explain to people who haven’t been here. It is a feeling. You can see the pain in the eyes of the refugees. This community center really is a happy place. But it is sad at the same time. Because at the end of the day, they will go back to Moria. A place which is too horrible to describe.’

Our most memorable moment was …
‘Teaching English to the helpers. They were so grateful and keen to learn. As teachers, we know that this is not always the case. The courses were sometimes difficult for them. But despite this, they told us they learned something new everyday. It was wonderful that we were able to give them our full attention. They were the most important persons for us while we were teaching. That was heart opening.

What wasn’t a nice experience, but did stuck with us, was the driving to Moria. We had to take the helpers there after they worked in One Happy Family. We could see the fences and the bad condition of the camp. Knowing that we had to leave them there for the night, made us so sad.’

One Happy Family is …
‘Really a family. It is the home for many people in Lesvos. It is a place where the people trust in the abilities and knowledge of others. It shows that, if you just have faith in people, something beautiful like this community center can be the outcome.’

What we would like to tell other people …
‘There is a tragedy going on in Greece. You can’t realize how bad it is, if you haven’t been here. We would like to advice people to visit this place and volunteer. Human work can change something. The fact that you are volunteering, shows that you support the refugees. The warmth you give them, also returns back to you. You will keep this in your heart. Something more beautiful than this doesn’t exist.’

Alexsandra Hitz (left)

Age: 26

Country: Switzerland

Occupation: teacher

Stay: 9 april – 19 april

Elisabeth Tobler (middle)

Age: 52

Country: Switzerland

Occupation: teacher

Stay: 9 april – 19 april

Barbara Aulopi (right)

Age: 36

Country: Switzerland

Occupation: Teacher

Stay: 9 April – 19 April