Make your tent a home from home

Anne Browse is the President of Methodist Women in Britain. She was part of CTBI’s delegation of women that visited refugee women and children in Greece at the end of May.

I came home from our visit to the refugee camps in Greece and reassured my concerned friends that I was fine. Because of the clearing of Idomeni we had not seen the extreme conditions which I had feared we might witness there, and the stories I personally had heard were desperately sad, but contained faint traces of hope. Others in our group may have witnessed more traumatic issues than I did, and heard more heart-rending stories. I could only come home with the snapshots and soundbites which I had gathered.

Father holding young son with wife - Anne BrowseYet this week the two Syrian families in whose tents I sat and shared time and company and conversation and coffee simply will not leave me. I seem to be carrying them with me throughout my daily life, and all sorts of triggers bring them to my mind at odd moments.

I received an email advertisement this morning from an outdoor leisure company. It was encouraging campers to

Make your tent a home from home‘.

I was struck by the irony of this invitation and the fact that I can choose to downsize into a canvas dwelling for a set period of time, complete with all camping mod cons, before returning home to my solid house, with its electricity and running water and all the ‘stuff’ which I have accumulated over years.

In Greece I sat with families who had left all of this – and more – behind them, and who are now making their home from home in a tent, not knowing when they, too, might be moved on …

Photo: Anne Browse