We are both dragging…….we had to give each other a pep talk to just go 1 more day! We had appointments so we did what we said we were going to do.
Our 1st of 3 stops today was at the kitchen for BelgrAID which has taken over the feeding at the Warehouse. We were there yesterday helping with the food line so today we went full circle and drove the 30 min to the suburbs of Belgrade to their kitchen and headquarters to help make todays meals.
All of these places are off the beaten track and hidden down lanes. This was no
exception. We recognized the van and food truck from yesterday and knew we were in the right place. Perhaps a dozen people were milling around at 8:30am for the start of the day. We were pointed in the direction of the volunteer coordinator – she looked SO familiar. Finally after playing 500 questions I knew her from my trip to Greece in Oct when she was working at a camp we dropped baby beds off at. I even had a picture of her helping us unload the beds! Small world.
About 10 of us started inside chopping potatoes for about 30 min, the rest of the people were heating up the big cauldrons to start cooking for the 2000 people they cook for daily. As in EVERYDAY. No breaks. If they don’t bring the food to the camp and Warehouse then people will not eat that day. All of these people are volunteers- we chopped along with Irish, French, Spanish, Danish, British, US, German people.
The 10 of us soon moved outside to start chopping the 5-25lb bags of onions waiting for us. Someone said we usually do 8 bags. While some of us were doing onions, carrots were started and parsley was also being copped. We had quite a groove going.
There was a building opposite the courtyard we were chopping in. About 6 guys showed up and opened the doors to what appeared to be a big work room. I asked one of the long term volunteers who they were she said “they just told me they build things”. “As in Get Shit Done group?”. “Yup”! I’d read about them and here they were!
We chopped for 3 hours then headed out- the rest of them were next going to load every thing into the caravan, drive the 1/2 to the city, set up, hand out food to 1000 for 2 hours, head back, load up with the food for the 1000 people in the camp they feed and clean up the kitchen and start prep for tomorrows meals. They are like 12 hour days!
Yesterday we’d met 2 girls on line monitor duty from Germany here with a small German NGO that provides breakfast for about 150 people everyday. They heard we had a van so wanted to do a grocery store run. They were at the appointed corner at our meet up time, they hopped in and we headed to the biggest grocery store in the area. They filled 2 carts with sandwich bread, sugar (for tea they also hand out), meat, lettuce, apples and mayo, enough food for 3 days. We loaded everything up into the van and drove them back to the city to unload at the hostel they are staying at.
Our final stop was a center that is for residents of the camp nearest to Belgrade that
offers language classes, computer use, games, women’s center, art classes and soon more activities. The center is 2 bus rides away from the camp- it is lovely. Everyday 50-70 kids and moms show up- Monday – Friday. These centers provide critical language classes and an outlet from the monotony of camp life.
Then just like that…….BOOM……….we are done! It has been a fantastic 17 days. I know we have done well and had a jam packed schedule. But again, we are tired!