“The role that OHF plays within the greater context of Lesvos and activism on the island is invaluable.”

Today you’ll meet our spicy fermented sauce inventor – Sam!

Sam has been first with our partner Better days and was for everyone “Garden Sam”! But then, he decided to join our kitchen team where he spends most of his days at OHF now: preparing food, inventing spicy sauce, speaking with Fifie about sustainability and ways of improvement, discussing ideas for new recipes and – as well – organises our cleaning cupboard and supports like this sustainability at OHF.

We’re very happy to have Sam as part of our team and even happier to share his volunteer story today with you.

Thank you, Sam for everything but most importantly for having a very huge and wonderful heart and for being part of this One happy-crazy-singing-dancing-smiling-amazing family!

This is my most memorable moment:

There are truly so many beautiful moments on a daily basis in OHF that it isn’t easy to pinpoint a specific instance, however one memory that will stay with me for some time is that of making falafel with the kitchen team in lieu of the tradition helper/volunteer breakfast. It was a rather clandestine operation if I’m being honest. With some coordination and much collusion, we were able to borrow the van the night prior, soak dried chickpeas and blend tahini without suspicion. Arriving to OHF shortly after the sunrise, watching the first moments of the day from arguably one of the most beautiful vantage points in the center, hurrying to make sure everything was perfect and as tasty as possible was one of the most remarkable moments for me and my time in OHF (well, second after tasting the falafel).

This struck me the most:

What has really taken me aback in the context of this project in its entirety – from the daily interactions with which I am privileged, to the wonderful colleagues with whom I work alongside, as well as the unique setting  – resides in the feeling of inclusivity and love. From dancing shamame and evening English courses, to bike repair, computer courses and pottery workshops, there has yet to be a moment of exclusionary comportment. The privilege I have for such emotions is extraordinary and is held dear to my heart.

One Happy Family is…

A space built from necessity and incessantly transforming itself and others in serendipitous splendor.

 This is what I would like to tell other people:

Allow yourself to love and be loved and remain present through each action.

My tasks in One Happy Family are…

My tasks in One Happy Family revolve principally around food and hygiene. I am volunteering as kitchen support and have recently been appointed the task of hygiene manager. Through food I am best able to communicate intention, hence spending my days in the cornerstone of OHF is where I feel best.

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

What makes OHF different from other organizations with similar intention is its nuance. Overlooking Turkey’s Western coastline, there is a strong sense of borders and their implications. Oriented rather longitudinally, OHF, when walked from one end to the other, requires you to pass by the same individuals with great frequency, facilitating conversations, pleasant glances and warm handshakes. Additionally, the kitchen lies more or less central to the greater space and most volunteers and visitors will at some point in the day visit to say hello, rooted in feelings of curiosity and/or hunger — both of which are immensely welcome.

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

I am indeed a long term volunteer. I have been volunteering in/around OHF for just about five months now, and I am more than content with this decision. During my time in the community space, I have had many hellos andgoodbyes, it’s the nature of volunteering in this context. For nearly all the refugees on the island, this is also a reoccurring facet of their lived experience. Staying for a longer duration allows for trust to root itself in relationships and experiences, and I have found so much beauty watching these rapports grow and grow.

And Sam added: 

The role that OHF plays within the greater context of Lesvos and activism on the island is invaluable. I feel happy and grateful to had the experience to watch this space and myself grow in unison.