Evelien travelled for Boat Refugee Foundation to Elleniko in Athens and tells her story.
As soon as we get off the bus at Elleniko, children run to meet us. Whilst three volunteers walk around the camp to get the children, I walk around with our automatic bubble blowing machine. The children love it. They all try to get close to pop as many bubbles as possible. A father carrying his young son of about two years old joins the fun, and we laugh at his little perplexed face as a bubble pops on the tip of his nose. From the corner of my eye, I even see some older women laughing, and grabbing bubbles. It is a great success.
After, the children get to crawl through a caterpillar tunnel, one by one. Young and old; they all love it. The youngest ones are hesitant at first, but soon they also crawl through the tunnel, encouraged by the other children. Then playtime is over and all the children sit down in a row. We hand out cups and fill them with water. They deserve some refreshment after all that playing in the sun.
I then join the drawing and colouring. Another volunteer receives a drawing from an older boy. The image is clear; a rubber boat, filled with people, and next to that a large vessel carrying the Greek flag. Very intense. It is at those moments, when reality kicks in, that you realize everyone made such a journey. And how vitally important it is that these children can be a child again, because of what we do…
Photo’s and story: Evelien Florijn
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