I really care about the people we help and the people who help us do that. I am not the same person I was before so I will take back my new self.

Barry Fallon ::  Wales :: Volunteer :: Age 30

Why did you decide to come and volunteer with the refugee crisis?

I went to Calais with friends on a delivery simply as a spare pair of hands and if I am honest the adventure. I felt like a tourist at first and didn’t feel I did much, I went home and I couldn’t stop thinking about what it was like there. The same friends went back a few days later, I went again and decided to stay. The choice to come to Greece was equally quick to make, I felt I had done what I could in Calais and needed a change.

What did you know about the place and the situation before arriving?

I knew little only that there were people in Idomeni that were living in a camp and the conditions were terrible.

When did you arrive and for how long have you stayed? 

I arrived on 3rd of March or there about and have no plan to leave.

Did you arive alone or  with friends? 

I travelled with some people I had met in Calais and some strangers none of which I knew particularly well.

What reactions did you get from family and friends before coming?

A lot of people were worried about the dangers involved, family and friends alike.

An influential / defining moment you had

I have them everyday. I spoke with a Syrian man who said that “I would rather be among bombs than live like this, this is not a life.” I gave him a hug and told him that there were people here who loved him and wanted him to be safe and his life would get better. It was defining because I believed the words I had said. I believe in the good our team was doing and the intention we had. I believed that people are inherently good and that hope is real. I also believed that we are all the same in many different ways. We want the same things and we deserve them.

What do you feel you learned? (about the people, about life, about the situation?)

I learn every day. Sometime I try to unlearn thjngs which is difficult.

Have you experienced moments of crisis or trauma?

Today was an awful day. I see things at he camp that upset me, sometimes it’s people with intention to help but who are misguided. Today I lost my temper with some other volunteers because I felt they acted dangerously and disprectfully… I’m not proud of how I acted or what I said. My emotions took over me and after I had a crisis of conscience as to whether I should do this work. I will make more mistakes.

Do you remember anyone in particular among refugees or volunteers?

Yes lots and lots, I might not remember your name but your face and spirit is what I do remember. I have met so many people with such big hearts it warms me to think of these people.

What are you taking with you back home?

When I go home I will take back the memory of all the people I have met and I will think about what they are doing. I really care about  the people we help and the people who help us do that. I am not the same person I was before so I will take back my new self.