Gym, Café, upcycling and more changing stories!

The Gym 

The long wait is over – the Gym has finally reopened! 
The gym has been closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, however now we are able to open it as an outdoor space under new rules. The manager of the Gym, Rahman, is so excited. 

“I am so excited and happy the gym is finally open, so people can work out again. Most people get in a better mood when they have exercised! Secondly, I’m so amazed that we have a lot of new equipment and materials, so we are able to provide a lot of workout options for our visitors”. 

The gym is open every day from 10:30- 14:00. Even in the hottest weather Greece has experienced in over 30 years, people are still using the Gym. Now that is commitment! 

“The heat doesn’t matter,” says Rahman. “People are so motivated to come and I’m happy to see visitors coming to the Gym. Just keep up your hydration!”. 

Exciting updates from the Cafe

As many of you know, the Kitchen and the Cafe have been two of our biggest projects in the past. With new COVID-19 rules, we’ve had to restructure the spaces and have paused the Kitchen project and moved the Cafe to the outside space in the Kitchen. 

Well, the drink selection at the Cafe just got a big upgrade- a fresh orange juice machine!

Our amazing logistics coordinator Fifie is so excited about the new addition. “It provides much-needed nourishment to the visitors who have limited access to healthy and nutritious food in the camp. It is also incredibly tasty and refreshing!”. 

We are juicing 100+ kilos of oranges daily with the new juice machine. It’s not hard to believe that it has become a popular favourite among our visitors and volunteers, particularly in the summer heat! We are also experimenting with making homemade ice tea, to be able to provide a wider selection of drinks, other than hot chocolate, tea and coffee.

Upcycling at OHF

As already said in a former newsletter we are trying to reduce the use of plastic at OHF. This has been challenging in the summer, where we’ve had to use the large plastic water bottles to provide cold water to our visitors. 

Our wonderful English teacher, Naghmeh, her young boys and many others, came up with the idea to upcycle the bottles into pot plants. We currently have many hung around OHF and there are small seeds sprouting, ready to be planted in the garden soon. Not only are they useful, and reusable, they decorate the inside of the centre beautifully. 

Thank you for this wonderful green initiative team! 

Art table 

In the shade outside we made a new Art Table. Here our visitors can paint with watercolors, pens, and get face paint. The creative art corner has already become very popular and occupies visitors for hours.

The face paint is especially popular among the kids at One Happy Family. Our talented volunteer Christoph is working hard to keep up with the line of kids, excited to be turned into a joker, butterfly, or princess.

We have books with examples to inspire the children and allow them to pick exactly the style they want. However, one of the popular princesses in the book was extra difficult and time-consuming to paint, so Christoph decided to remove the page and hide it, so the children could pick something else instead. But he did not expect that the children would soon find the hidden page and all want to be this princess again.

Now Christoph has asked a helper at the table, and the rest of us volunteers are trying not to disappoint the children if they are not lucky to be painted by Christoph’s patient and calm hands. 

Most adults prefer the option of drawing. Mahmoud is a frequent visitor and explains why drawing and painting make him calm: “I like drawing life inside a forest. I draw a place with mountains, birds, flowers, a colorful garden, and waterfalls. I imagine myself living there with my friends and family.”

We love to bring out imagination, creativity and make a lot of smiling princesses and jokers walking out of the gate at OHF.

This month it was Bazaar time again

Some months ago we distributed clothes and shoes for all single men in the camp. Now it was the time for the married men and adult sons’ turn.

We had an open bazaar where our visitors could pick their size and style themselves. They could all choose two t-shirts, a pair of trousers and a pair of shorts.

One of the visitors, Mortezar, explained why he was happy to be able to pick new clothes: “I came to OHF because I have a German class. Then I went to the online shop to collect the hygienic packs of the month. They told me I could go to the bazaar and pick clothes too. I became very, very happy! My family got the second rejection, so we don’t get any financial support anymore, so any help is good for us. And I really needed some summer clothes in this heat”.

We had exactly 999 people on our lists, so we had some busy days in the distribution container. Thank you Abbas for helping make this post and interview. And as always: Thanks to all of our donors for making our distributions possible!

Organizations visiting OHF 

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere”. The quote from Albert Einstein inspired our last month’s visitor, the organisation Changing Stories.

Changing Stories believes in the power of imagination and the healing effect of fun. At the end of last month’ they performed theatre with the kids participating, involved the children in painting of their uniforms and blown gigantic bobbles.

Their shows and entertainment brought a lot of laughter and entertainment to the kids (and adults) visiting OHF. 

“We believe that every kid deserves the right to play, have endless fun and reach for the highest dream. Not every kid gets the childhood it deserves. Some kids had to flee their home country because it was just too unsafe for them. Some kids end up in refugee camps, having traumas and remaining in survival mode. A huge lack of hope, of playing and laughter is far too often reality.” Changing Stories explains their reasons of doing the activities they do.

Playing, dancing and laughing is always welcomed with open arms at OHF and we love the new ideas, energy and fun Changing Stories came with. Thank you!