Vasilika refugee camp is a different story from Elpida.
The entrance of this old chicken farm which has turned into a camp, is guarded by police. If you are not part of one of the NGOs that are active here, you cannot get in, at least that was what we thought.
We meet a boy who calls himself the Mafia Guru. He shows us the way into the camp. The fence is cut open at the other side and we can easily walk inside, where a whole community opens up to us.
Everywhere we go we are offered self-prepared falafel and coffee. Apparently, people have found ways to start their own kitchens.
We are invited in the clubhouse, made by a bunch of inventive boys, that constructed a Alpine looking wooden house from supplies given by locals. Like in a real club, there is a someone sitting at a table at the entrance and inside we are welcomed to lounge on the comfortable sofas and chairs.
They really went all-out, with wall-mounted LED light strings that looked like they came straight from a fair. The walls are decorated with pictures and paintings from books and the furniture is completed with a rubber table cloth on which five ceramic presents are placed, serving as ash trays. In the corner, a Father Christmas figurine is placed as if he were the centrepiece of an altar.
Music from the speakers and flashing lights, smoking cigarettes. These boys made themselves useful and produced a setting in which they can feel at home. Their inventiveness showed us how inhumane their situation is, but also how the self-made man is celebrated.
The Mafia Guru walks with us out of the Vasilika camp. He puts on the Titanic soundtrack. He says it is his favourite music. Such a sensitive guy 😉
We walk back to the EKO homebase. A beautiful piece of land, surrounding the house of an old couple, that opened their space to host activity areas, community space, the school, kitchen etc. The area is still being constructed and it can use some colour. Maybe we can help?
The Sensitive Maffia Guru takes a selfie with us in the background. We feel welcome.