Traveling really is not only a way to see the world, but to see who you are. Our plans were to head down to Athens, Amanda and I booked on Air Serbia last month and we had an hour connection in Belgrade. We could not have foreseen the weather when we booked, we woke in Paris to a soupy thick fog. We took the airport shuttle at 7:45am, it was a quick 10 min drive to the airport.
The driver helped load our bags and when Amanda said we were going to terminal D2, he said that he only drops off at the rail station. He saw the 2 of us with 2 enormous Ikea Dimpa bags, our roller carry on bags and our purses. He asked what was in the Dimpa’s and we said “aid for refugees”. He said without missing a beat “I will bring you to your terminal”. Plans change, people help you…….look for the good in people.
Our 2 hour delayed flight to Belgrade was above the cloud and fog line so we got to see some sunshine! We had an hour connection in Belgrade which ultimately was not enough time. When we got out of the jet way and asked where the Athens flight was we were told it had left. There is a me that would have thrown a fit with such news, but not today.
Our Air Serbia minder was with us when we got our 3 checked Dimpa bags and we breezed thru customs. As fate would have it, we will actually be returning to Serbia later in the trip to deliver 500 baby carriers. Apparently Serbian customs are not easy so we have VERY specific instructions for packing the 500 carries now in the warehouse in Athens.
We’ve never been to Serbia, the 20 min drive from the airport was a Winter wonderland. It
was snowing and by the looks of it, has been snowing all winter. We have been put up in a nice hotel with dinner and breakfast, transportation to/from the airport and our room paid for- we felt it was our duty to sample the sweets of Serbia- so we got to choose one of these bad boys. Yummmmy! On a side note you can smoke like everywhere here in Serbia, restaurants, hotel rooms, lobbies…….so strange to see people smoking so openly and inside of a building!
The situation in the Serbian camps is very difficult- an exploratory team was here last month looking at the situation and they ended up purchasing a bunch of winter wear for the camps. The camps here asked for the baby carriers, hence part of our mission. Our aid bags are filled with winter wear, underwear and some baby carriers. Breezing thru customs means that we will be able to leave this aid here in Belgrade. Our camp contact is meeting us at our hotel in the morning to collect the bags. France and Greece while struggling mightily have other NGO’s supporting the camps- this is not the case in all of the countries. We will not have the time to visit the camp tomorrow but will return later this week to deliver the 500 baby carriers (fingers and toes crossed we get thru customs) and to take a look for ourselves what is happening in the camps here.
We lost a day working on the ground, but will be able to help in some small way by leaving our aid bags here. Little bits of hope and light……..