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Kate wrote this from Leros in December 2015
When I came on holiday to a beautiful Greek island in June this year I must admit that I didn’t expect to find myself working and traipsing daily through a rubbish tip.
At times it feels quite surreal, as if we are on the set of Mad Max 7, a determined and sometimes fierce nucleus of holocaust survivors inhabiting the shells of once grand buildings, wheelbarrowing our survival supplies along dark, mouldy corridors, from one vast store to the next in an attempt to create a system out of the chaos. We have created a camp, erected dwelling units, located a food source and latterly there is enough so groups are not driven to fight when it is shared out. The rubbish tip has gone, we are striving to maintain hygiene and keep sickness out of the camp. We have taken over a network of buildings, survivors with relevant skills have come forward, set up a medical unit, wired the ruins of an old psychiatric institution for light, refrigeration, a phone charging station (one of our few means of trying to contact the outside world), a hospital villa with a washing, drying and clothes recycling system.
We have allocated work tasks, have job titles, a shift system, meetings about distribution, health, food, storage, newcomers, management of the camp.
Life is serious, tough, we send out boats to outlying islands in search of more survivors, we have developed a complex system for greeting these new arrivals who are often malnourished, dehydrated and suffering from trauma and exhaustion; we greet them with care and usher them in to our community.
Some of us leave to seek out other surviving communities, we say farewell as a group, drink lethal fire water at the harbour as we wish them bon voyage then wave the ship goodbye, a community sending out positivity, solidarity and hope.
We are constantly evolving, facing new challenges, tensions sometimes surface between individuals /groups, challenges for power, groups splinter threatening the community’s core stability, there aren’t enough workers to share tasks, divisions emerge and there maybe a period of unrest. But then the group acts to restore cohesion, democracy, because survival of the fittest is not our way.
The drive for power, control and dominion over the earth’s resources, cruelty, greed, selfishness and disregard for all forms of life, led to our former world’s destruction. We will not replicate those mistakes.
We are the pioneers of a new world of community and compassion.
And this is not the film set of Mad Max 7, this is reality, and some of us have just come from the front line…