Each day we go to the market to buy vegetables to cook with. We try and see what is cheapest in order to stretch our minimal budget as far as possible. We also buy bread from one of the many bakeries in town. 20-30 loaves of bread fit in this massive bag we have, a bit of a challenge to carry home!
Our big kitchen is in the garden. We have a big table for chopping vegetables and some big gas burners for huge cooking pots. We’ll put some water on to heat for lentils, beans, rice or pasta, then peel tonnes of onions and chop thousands of potatoes. We’ve got pretty creative with the spices and flavours. Balsamic cabbage was a hit, and hummus was awesome. It’s a challenge to estimate how much food to make for 60-100 people each day on a tight budget.
Each of us has a specific role within the organisation which requires time. Logistics involves obtaining clothes and supplies for us to use, as well as the management of volunteers arriving and plenty of other details. Finance is a complicated task of maintaining our financial records, applying for an appropriate budget and monitoring our spending. Violence reporting requires conducting interviews with people who have been victims of illegal pushback from another country to Serbia. The often violent crime that is committed by Croatian, Romanian or Hungarian border guards are reported by the Border Violence Monitoring Network. Communication involves creating content for social media as well as a weekly podcast that goes out in Spanish. Health involves first aid as well as directing people towards services that they can access, or facilitating payment for things they can’t afford. This is my role, and so far I have got someone a new frame for his glasses, and facilitated medications for people where the camp doctor doesn’t cover it. All these tasks have to fit into the day. This means meeting with people, writing reports, filling in forms and liaising with other organisations.
In the afternoon we pack up the food, as well as powerbanks that we have charged overnight, and laundry that we have collected and washed the previous day. We also include hygiene items like toothbrushes, tissues and any medical supplies that have been requested. We load it all into our adventure van or my little British car and drive to the meeting point. We have to find meeting places away from where the police might see us, as the guys could get taken back to the camps if they are discovered. Being taken to the camp means they can’t try to cross the border and the camp conditions range from ‘not too bad’ to ‘utterly awful’. One place that we meet is teeming with mosquitoes, so we’re trying to provide bug spray and bite treatment to as many people as we can.
To help us with our work here you can donate to No Name Kitchen here.
I'm always happy to answer questions about the work here and the migrant crisis in general. Let me know in the comments or contact form if you want to know more about it here.