I love it when a plan comes together; especially when it comes together after a good bit of effort. The money, time, and effort spent to clown with the refugees last week was worth it.
My husband and I went to the island of Lesvos, Greece, which is very close to Turkey. A Facebook friend is doing some work there and said he could get us into the local refugee camps. We booked our flights and accommodations and were looking forward to two weeks on the island.
It wasn't easy to get into the camps. One of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) we contacted required a financial donation of 50 euros per person to volunteer. Seriously?? I just wanted to volunteer my clown skills for a few hours. I clown for free regularly, but I wasn't keen on paying them to let me clown!
All things work for the best when we trust God. That NGO is at a camp for mostly men; much more militaristic than the other camp. Thank You, Lord, for not opening that door!
Kara Tepe (pictured) is relatively small, currently averaging less than a thousand refugees, mostly families. They are from several middle eastern and African countries. The living conditions at Kara Tepe are very different from the refugee camps in Tunisia in 2011. The 'residents' live in 'Isobox containers', and some even have air conditioning.
We connected with an NGO called Movement On The Ground, based in Amsterdam. They allowed us to volunteer with them for a week, and they provided an opportunity for a clown show.
The rules about taking pictures are very strict. I was able to get a few pictures of Chahloula before the clowning began, but you will have to wait to see pictures that were taken during the show. They have to get permission to use pictures of refugees.
We presented the clown show at 9:00 at night because it was during Ramadan. Many activities are held in this party tent/amphitheater/yurt.
When I get the pictures, I will show them to you. Believe me, I am looking forward to seeing the pictures as much as you are!
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- Tags: Christian clowning, Clown Stories, Clowns in Tunisia, LeeAnn Martin, Volunteer Clowning