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14 Jun

‘Try to imagine how it feels to be a refugee’

Soa Krummenacher

She wanted to travel, but she could not decide where to go. A documentary about Moria made her decide to go to Lesvos. ‘It was not a problem, but the fact that I had so many opportunities in my life stressed me out. What if I didn’t make the right choice? After seeing the situation in Moria, I was sure I wanted to do something for other people instead of for myself.’

‘Volunteering in One Happy Family has been great. I met a lot of amazing people and got to know different and new cultures. The most special thing was that all these different people could get along with each other so well. This community center really is a family.’

I came to Lesvos, because …
'I knew that there were refugees in Lesvos, but I didn’t hear much about it in the media. I wondered if there was still a crises going on. Now that I have been there, I know how bad the situation is. And that there really is a big, humanitarian crises in Greece.’

My tasks in One Happy Family, were …
‘Driving the shuttle, painting and coloring at the art table and working at the bank. Especially driving the car was fun. Most of the times it felt like a big party, with nice music and good vibes. Working at the bank was sometimes difficult, because the people wanted more drachma then we gave them. I understood them. They have lost everything. It was hard for me to say no to them, but I had to. Otherwise I wasn’t able to do my work properly.’

One Happy Family is …
‘A place where people really care about each .The atmosphere is so friendly and warm. I haven’t been in Moria, but I hear it is so horrible. One Happy Family is a place where the people can get away from this, even if it’s just for a short time. They can drink coffee or play some games. They are able do things to free their mind for a while. In my opinion this is very needed.’

This struck me the most
‘Like everyone else, I sometimes read about the horrifying things that are happening in countries that are in war. Even though it is heartbreaking, I still find it difficult to really feel what these people are going through. When I was in Lesvos, a boy told me his pregnant sister got killed by a bomb in front of his house. This confronted me with the reality. I really felt his pain. And I realized that this is happening to so many people. It really touched my heart.’

What I’d like to tell other people …
‘It is hard for me to exactly know how the refugees feel. I did not leave my country. I still have all of my family members with me. I can leave this island. I am free. These people have gone through hell and they are still in it. I think it is important that people try to imagine how this feels. Try to think about it, and ask yourself the question; how would this be for me? Maybe people will empathize more with refugees in this way.’

Age: 23

Country: Switzerland

Occupation: psychology student

Stay: 15 March - 5 April