Corona has turned many things upside down, including the start of our volunteers on site. Currently, you (still) have to go into quarantine in one of our accommodations before things can really get started. In our MVI – QUARANTEAM Edition, we introduce you to new arrivals who are or have been in quarantine due to Corona measures and want to know what and how they are keeping themselves busy. This will give you a personal impression of the great people we can count among our team.

In this interview you will learn more about the psychologist Brigitte, who will support our Children Support Project on Lesbos – or is already doing so from her “home office” during the quarantine period. 

What gives you hope at the moment?

The experience that there are so many people here who are so committed and happy to help and give back their confidence and dignity to the people who have to live here under such terrible conditions. And that I am so lovingly accompanied and encouraged by so many great people. In one word: to encourage.

What has been your best experience with the MVI team so far?

I have not been with the team for long, but I have already had an amazing number of wonderful experiences. Among other things, the sympathetic help from Verena in Hamburg and from Carlotta, my psychologist colleague, who has been accompanying and instructing me so warmly for 3 weeks now via Zoom, Whats-App and now in person. The helpful preliminary consultations with Carlotta and another colleague via Zoom, as well as the support of colleagues who are also in quarantine.

How has COVID-19 changed your view of our work?  

The work here on the ground has probably gotten much more difficult by the pandemic. Especially for the people in the camp, the situation has definitely worsened due to the restrictions on leaving the camp and the difficult conditions. I find it all the more gratifying and hopeful that MVI and other NGOs are not letting themselves be defeated despite COVID-19 and are still trying with all their effort to help here on the ground; with all necessary caution. 

And personally, I realize that this week of “Easter retreat, as I call it (instead of quarantine or compulsory break ?), also helps me to arrive here, getting well connected with myself in order to prepare for the new challenges in a peaceful way.

In relation to our work here on site, we can even “be grateful” for the quarantine regulations: If we manage to “slow down our speed” a bit during the quarantine and we come to rest, recharge our batteries during this time, then it can only be helpful for our subsequent work here: Helpers with calmed nervous systems can presumably approach people who are under high stress and high tension at a more thoughtful pace and in a more healing or empathetic way. And we ourselves have more strength to cope with the situations we will encounter here.

Together, make three true “we” statements each. For example, “We are both in this room feeling…” or “We both feel that…”: 

So WE, my lemon tree and myself talk to each other a lot; (German, Upper Austrian, English, Greek I learn from him/her). We make the experience that he/she teaches me many things: he/she “nudges” me when I am not mindful enough and he/she teaches me deep gratitude. “We both agree that the Greek sun is good for us”. And to be honest, I think Lemon Tree is a SHE ?.

What surprising thing did you/do you stock up on in quarantine (no toilet paper)?  

With lemons. And that Austrian good fairies put something restorative in addition in front of my garden fence was a special surprise. And that the Easter bunny also stopped by and hid an Easter nest for me – filled with chocolate and Easter cookies from Austria and lots of little surprises. The Austrian Easter bunny seems to have an agreement with the Greek Easter bunny ?.

What hobbies or passions are you/can you pursue right now?

Dancing, singing, reading, meditating, knitting, sleeping, yoga, writing, learning English, being in touch with my family and friends, listening to music. And to prepare myself intensively with psychological topics (traumatized people, children, resilience).

What similarities or hobbies have you discovered?

My lemon tree and I are great fans of the sun. 

What problem would you like to solve next?

Turning my prepared Powerpoint presentations (for parent groups) into useful English work material. 

What item accompanies you through quarantine?

My notebook and a snare drum, a good luck charm on my keychain.

What song are you or are you currently listening to up and down?

“Absolute beginners” by David Bowie; we’re allowed to start over anytime, anywhere. “Gabriela’s Song,” which is about how everyone is strong and free. I want all the people who are being held here to get their dignity and your freedom back and there’s a hopeful future, in freedom. 

Or “Morning has broken” by good old Cat Stevens.

What are you most looking forward to after this time?

Getting to know all the colleagues in person and start working together.

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