The Day I Didn't Volunteer with Refugees in Greece

The Day I Didn't Volunteer with Refugees in Greece

It wasn't that obvious, the collection of dark green and blue tarpaulins, almost hidden behind a stone wall along the southern ring road around the Chios castle, but it was the white ones with the UNHCR logo that gave it away. I had never seen a refugee camp before.

One of the reasons I chose to visit Chios in Greece, of all the country's 1200 habitable islands, was because of the refugees here. For the past year I have been following the news stories about refugees from the Middle East that have reached Greece's shores, and with its close proximity to Turkey, Chios has had a large flow of these migrants.

Volunteers Unleashed Film: The Controversy Behind the Scenes

BC filmmaker Brad Quenville created a documentary to highlight some of the controversies behind voluntourism, volunteering abroad. The film, Volunteers Unleashed, was inspired by his daughter's own trip to Tanzania. "The way that the voluntourism industry operates, " he told the Delta Optimist, "is that it's trying to cater to the volunteer. It isn't necessarily catering to the needs of the local people as much as it's catering to the needs of the volunteer, making sure...

WE Day Vancouver 2015

With all the flashing lights and screaming teens in the massive sports arena, I felt like I was at a pop music concert. In a way, I was. Hedley, a popular Canadian band, was there for WE Day Vancouver, along with Barenaked Ladies, Colbie Caillat, Francesco Yates, and others. But WE Day was marketed as a "celebration of youth"--a reward for students who have volunteered over the past year and inspiration for students to volunteer this year. 

In between songs, there were inspirational...

Korea's National Foundation Day

3 October 2007

South Korea commemorates its independence from Japan on two separate holidays, on both 1 March and 15 August. These two national holidays honour more recent milestones in Korea's coloured history. National Foundation Day celebrates the Big One: its creation. Korea was founded in 2333 BC by Dangun, a “legendary god-king” according to my guidebooks. Appropriately, this holiday is sometimes called “Dangun Day”. On 3 October, a big celebration is held on Mount Manisan in Ganghwado Province.

I, however, missed the ceremony to volunteer at a baby-home (orphanage) with a friend from work. We were there the week before, during the Chuseok holidays, and the little ones were just too cute to forget about. After just one visit, there were already a few I had fallen for. To celebrate the national holiday, the baby-home had plenty of other visitors and even a magician to entertain the children (and the volunteers). After a few hours, it seemed as though the volunteers outnumbered the children! Even though most Koreans aren’t interested in adoption, I know these children certainly are loved by many.