Contributed by a grade 11 student
On June 06, 2017, at 5:45 on a cold, rainy morning, I met up with Mr.Ambrozy, the supervisor of this experience along with 3 other volunteers out of the total 8 that signed up.
This shows that only 50% of us were able to make the small personal sacrifice in order to provide such a valuable and beneficial service to the refugees as I had learned, providing them not only with a simple caloric intake but with a smile and the acknowledgement that they have supporters and are not alone in their life and goal of simply finding a safe place to live.
The drive to the World Trade Center in Brussels was about 20-30 mins and when we got there there was only a small line in front of the building. I learned that this is the first step once they reach Belgium, as proven by some of these families lining up with all their suitcases. Once they get inside the office they are interviewed before being sent to a refugee center such as the one in Alsemberg. Therefore, this is essentially the step before reaching an asylum center, which created a connection between my two refugee service experiences. This has developed my knowledge on the refugees conditions throughout, ranging from waiting in line to somehow finding their way from this world trade center all the way to the Alsemberg refugee center, where as I learned they are idle and in a stressful environment for a relatively long time.
The refugees, even though they were in a stressful situation, were very polite and always had a smile. However, others denied food due to the cold weather and actually requested blankets.
As the morning progressed the line had grown vastly and as the temperature dropped many refugees that had denied coffee or tea had come to get some, we then found out there were typically around 300 people that show up on these days, which just shows me the vastness of this refugee crisis.
This experience has given me not only more sympathy for those at the Alsemberg refugee center, but also a larger empathy for refugees as a whole a global issue of great magnitude. Relative to the situation that they are in and the things they have had to experience, it was but a small sacrifice to wake up at an early hour and serve them breakfast.