CAMP OBRENOVAC

Ben joined us last night, and today we had the same routine - wake up early in the light snow, scrub and chop potatoes, wash apples, shred carrots, cook all morning, and then we went to distribute at a nearby camp. When the Serbian government forbade all the ngos from helping the refugees outside of camps, Hot Food Idomeni was the only one that said basically: with deep respect, sorry not sorry, we are going to keep serving one hot nutritious meal a day to people living in these conditions. We will be in this place, at this time, every day. The founder's diplomacy and good heartedness won over the politicians, and the police looked the other way. As a result of their incredible and diplomatic work, when the freezing months came and the government decided it had to put the most vulnerable refugees in a new camp - they agreed to let Hot Food Idomeni come once a day to the camp and serve these boys. It's a beautiful example of not taking no for an answer and how sticking to your integrity opens pathways that weren't there before - that couldn't have been there before.

It's a love rebellion.

We aren't allowed to take photos. The camp looks like an old army training center. The boys live in mid size rooms with many bunkbeds. They have very little to do and often contend with boredom. The other food they receive is mainly cup o' noodles :( There are about 600 boys there now, though they expect that number to rise dramatically in the next months.

7 days a week Hot Food Idomeni is there - serving not just food but smiles, warmth, respect and love with these children.

One of the boys said he left because the Taliban was after him for humanitarian work he was doing in his own country.

I can't really imagine being so young, on my own stuck in a country I can't leave - with no resources to go to school, work, see my friends and family, play, no books to read, no computers, no idea what is coming next - old and young mixed together, where the highlight of my day is a little warm stew, a couple pieces of bread, and an apple...and maybe trying to convince the volunteers with a charming smile to give me a second one ;)(they get as many second and third helpings as they like, and often take these back to their rooms for later, but we only have so many pieces of fruit and bread).

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