Souda has always been somewhat of an enigma.
Both impossible to accurately describe and impossible to forget.
Since opening almost two years ago it has been ‘home’ to thousands upon thousands of people looking to start a new life, a safe life, in Europe.
Just over a year ago, Souda was a bustling place full of both hope and frustration and yet also, somehow, happiness. The kids who lived there were largely responsible for this, they brought out the best in the adults, who all tried to make it a better place for them.
The guys living there would gravitate towards the childrens’ activities looking for any type of entertainment and, for some, interaction. They joined in singing, dancing, colouring, reading, playing… and often giving in and allowing their nails to be painted a rainbow of colours.
When the decommissioning of Souda began at the start of August, we tried to focus on the positive side - that there was finally some movement happening, hundreds of people were being processed, they were getting their papers and being transferred to the mainland. This is what everyone had been waiting for.
Unfortunately over the past month the number of new arrivals has once again increased, and the situation in Vial has become progressively worse. With limited transport from Vial, people are left stranded without a way to access the Hero Centre, and other services in town. This is the main reason that we will now focus housing support in apartments in place of daily activities.
As the tents began to be dismantled, the messages and memories plastered on the walls of the now empty tents became visible. We spent time reading, remembering, and decided that they should be documented so that the people of Souda, and their messages to the world would not be forgotten.
So as the last residents of Souda are moved to Vial today, we remember the people, their stories, the good times and the bad.
While the time has come to say goodbye to Souda, the bonds of friendship made in the shadows of that castle will remain forever.
To everyone who has lived in Souda (and Vial), your grace and kindness are a true testament to your character and strength, and something that will never be forgotten.
If you agree with our vision, and would like to contribute to the rent of apartments and other ongoing support, please donate here https://www.generosity.com/volunteer-fundra…/the-hero-centre
As they say, not all superheroes wear capes.