I am a person that often looks in the mirror. A familiar face, who tells me all kinds of things. I believe that the word conscience is used in the dictionary. Consider that what I do also seems right in my heart. What I do well and what is not so well. It is someone who makes me aware of myself. This past week my mind has worked overtime in mirroring and speaking to my conscience.

Every day there is an activity / work schedule, and you enlist to one or more of them. I only do activities that are done between 14:00 and 18:00. My head and body do not have enough energy to be able to do a workday until 21:00. Occasionally there is some overtime working but I try to avoid that as much as possible.

After a week of looking around in all sorts of activities, I found what I prefer to be doing. And of course also work that I do not want to do. This distinction arose because of work situations in which I end up.

3 times I have been in a clothes distribution shop during the busiest time between 16:00 and 18:00. Nothing more than a small porto cabin, which is full of clothing and footwear. There are a number of rules, so that clothes are distributed fairly.

  • Residents must have made an appointment before they can choose clothes. They get a card here for an appointment.
  • They can only choose 1 set of clothing (pants, sweater, shoes, shirt, socks, etc.) per person. The number of people is also on the appointment card.
  • The persons must also all be present. If not, clothing can only be selected for the people who are there.
  • After selecting clothing, a new appointment is made for 4 weeks.
  • In addition, children may not enter the container without the assistance of a parent.

Appointments are stored in an appointment sheet. If the appointment on the appointment card does not match what is stated in the sheet, no clothing can be selected and a new appointment must be made. I have no experience in the retail business, I have no idea how to deal with customers and certainly not with dissatisfied customers.

It happens that residents with falsified appointment ticket come to pick up clothes. Upon checking, it appears that the appointments card does not correspond with the sheet. So when they are sent away, we first get the tragic stories, yesterday, baby, hospital, man hospital. (often used) If that story does not work, then suddenly they no longer understand what you are saying. Then the behavior and attitude is sometimes very provocative and they come closer to you right in front of you.

I am not the most patient person in these situations. I feel my stress level is rapidly rising until more or less a explosive level. For initiates, the Hofman attitude will be used. At first people are laughing but then they understand the signal and accept and leave.

I am perplexed by the sometimes provocative behavior of the residents. But more so I am totally upset by my own reaction and behavior. One that has been latent for years, and I try to suppress it. In my head everything goes back and forth. How was my behavior, wasn’t I to much of threat.

Another situation is that I put a 9-year-old boy out of the container after he did not want to leave. I thought gently lifted him at 2 arms and said that he could not enter without a parent. Most children speak a good word of English and not understanding does not apply.

Then it rains stones on the container I am in. I am not happy with that, even angry. A passing man (resident of the camp) then called to the youngster and eventually disappeared. Even then, everything went through me again. Did I do well, Do I have to take into account traumas, which of course leads to behavioral problems, was my approach ok ?.

At that moment I was thinking, “I am not suitable for this”. I have to be aware to do no harm. So I was thinking about quit my work. Those who have experienced me a little longer as a person know that I do not always have a peaceful nature. And that is what I am especially afraid of. Stress is something which I not respond to well.

There are not only stress moments. As a “woodworker” I have had great conversations with people who share their grief and suffering, share dreams and take steps to get ahead. People who also search for inspiration and motivation to challenge the hopelessness and their trauma’s. Some desperate want to move ahead. They show gratitude for provided matters, lessons and more. You notice that they are cooperating with the Elea project and the volunteers.

Some of them also give lessons, are also in the clothing stores, participate in all kinds of work that needs to be done. Are committed to the total community that resides in the camp. This experience gives a very different feeling. I get inspired and find motivation to do better and more. My stress level is totally zero and my energy level went sky high.

Today (Friday) I made a considerable donation after experiencing this project. I see the lack of resources, (think of sawing a plank with a bowsaw, nailing nails with sledgehammers?) By discussing my donation with the project organization, I was allowed to take a look at what was planned for the future. The mission of this project is a beautiful one.

Maybe I am not mentally ready and not be able to contribute to this community, but my donation can. For the time being I will continue to work, and try to learn. And maybe I will be able to live in this community in a proper way.