Volunteer stories: Emily (Jun 17)

25/06/17

I’ve been home in London a few days, yet I’m still there in LM Village camp really. This camp, and others, is still NOW and ongoing, and certainly not in the past for the refugees that live there.

Most that I met are still stuck in this strange uncertain limbo, living each day much the same.

I don’t know how to summarise the past few months, but I owe it to the refugees I got to know to tell people how unbelievably generous, warm, and kind they were despite their horrific circumstances. I was seriously astounded most days that they had the emotional capacity to give love, and gestures of kindness to the volunteers. On my last day at LM Village, one family (who had lost their home to bombing in Syria and also recently received disappointing news about their asylum application), called me over to their home to thank me and say goodbye. They insisted on giving me their first grown cucumber from the plants they were growing from the ‘grow your own’ project we started. They picked it for me right there and then (it was the only cucumber so far!), and insisted I sat with them on their porch and eat it, as we chatted and they showed me photos of happier times in Syria. I mean seriously- WHO DOES that?! I’d never give my first home grown cucumber to ANYONE! That gesture of kindness and love made me feel both happy and sad all at once. I can’t stop thinking about this and other kind gestures we witnessed daily.

‘Choice’ and ‘opportunity’ has been cruelly taken away from these people. If there is anything I take from this, it’s to try to remind myself not to take for granted the choices and opportunities we have for our present and future. These refugees are currently utterly powerless to make any real choices about their future, or even within their daily limbo lives. However, what I did witness at LM Village camp, was the residents ability to *choose love* and generosity of heart. I am proud to have supported these people a little in their time of need. They truly gave me so much more than I could give them; I learnt so much about true selfless kindness.
Having volunteered for 5 months with Refugee Support I have witnessed first hand how your donations can provide some normality back into refugees lives, providing aid with dignity and respect, and enabling some small daily choices. The link below details some of the projects we worked on during my time working at LM Village for those interested. It is also still open for donations!

https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/emilythompson3