My first time at Diavata was fulfilled with strange and overwhelming emotions but very quickly children’s enthusiasm and smiley faces made me to forget my fears and worries. As a member of the REACT program, I visit the camp at a daily basis and together with the team we organize sports and recreational activities.

I remember the first day when we arrived that many kids were waiting in the main entrance; when we got off the bus they came towards us smiling to offer us their welcoming hugs. I was worried that I would face some difficulties and especially the language barrier but immediately all my thoughts were gone when the kids seemed so eager to play and interact with us. All the difficulties disappeared and I became calmer and less hesitated. They were really good with us, they were kind,  and they thirsty to play and do activities.

The first week came to an end and I learned so many things; I reevaluated my principles, I became more open minded and less biased and afraid. Every day offers a new experience since the kids and their age range are not always the same. We make a plan which could adapt to any group of children and it contains creative activities such as crafts, drawings, games, songs and dance. Each meeting with the kids has the same context as our goal is to create a daily routine and cultivate responsibility, discipline, collaboration and respect for each other regardless of origin, religion and language. Thus, we start with songs, then we continue with the main activity and in the end we say goodbye and we renew our meeting. All kids are very expressive and they show us their love and recognition in multiple ways; they create bracelets and drawings for us, they give us from their food, they hug and offer us  big smiles.

My experience at Diavata is unforgettable and unexpected. Each day is unique, and even if we did not know what we will deal with, I feel safe because I am a member of a good and supportive team and people who live there really recognize and appreciate our role. I am glad that I have the chance to work with my colleagues in order to offer a few moments of joy to all those children  we interact with and also teach them important skills and values to join a social community effectively.

Myrto Stagkou