I talk with refugees. With some of them it was easier, with some not too much. I saw they do not like personal questions. First meeting with them, for me it was not possible talk more then 15-20 minutes. Second meeting, it usually was much better. I was surprised with that, because of first meeting. Another thing that I saw is that if a refugee is from a country nearby my own country, they have different reactions. Some of them always escaped from my presence. I am quite sure one reason for that was shame, because in that moment he or she know that I know their situation. It is like showing something bad in front of somebody who is your family or friends and person have bad feelings. For others of them, it is something nice, they feel more at home and they do not have problem because I know their situation. They are coming to us only for good reason. They want make clean situation with their state back home and that is all. I think that with JRS it works well.
Visiting the Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre, I saw that refugees are there and that it is almost like a prison. They accept us but as they also saw that we could not help them too much, then we are for them somebody who can talk with them help the time in detention go faster. In that moment, it is possible that we have meeting between us. That is good.
Bike school, the cycling training offered here is something that is an excellent thing for refugees, especial for women. Because of the different cultures and religions and social situations, they could not learn to ride a bike. It is a small thing, but it gives them a lot of joy. That is perfect.
We also do birthday presents for the children. Here I discovered one thing not too much good. When I received the lists with names of children, I found it challenging to sort out, to make sure every name was the right name. I know that is not easy, because people do not like to talk on their first visit too much about themself, but later maybe are willing to be more accurate. I know that you who are every day here, and that you know every person but when some new volunteer comes and meets them again for the first time, that is not so simple. So, we now have a new system of organizing gifts by the month of the birthdays. How find the right gift is now so much easier and how prepare a good choice of gifts it also easier!
The atmosphere between staff and volunteers is very good here, that is important. Thank you!