Liz and Maddie Edwards Spoke About a Family Visit to a Refugee Camp in Greece
  • Liz Davis-Edwards, speaker
  • Liz and Maddie Edwards, her daughters
  • Don McPherson’s birthday bonfire bash is Sunday at 4. Bring your own food, and he’ll provide the fire.
  • Stop Hunger Now is Saturday, March 18 from 9 to 12. Plan is to package 15,000 meals, but if we receive more donations (we’ve currently met our goal), we’ll do more.
  • Acton-Boxborough invites us to a performance by the Justin Meyer Jazz Trio at Indian Hill Music in Littleton, with lunch included. The date is March 30, noon to 2; the cost is $20 per person. Reservations need to be made by March 23.
  • April 2 is Red Sox opening day. We celebrate with the Stow Council on Aging. More details as we get closer to the date.
  • Reality Fair at the high school is April 28.
  • April 27 is the wine tasting event by the Acton-Boxborough club. Carol has tickets for sale. Half the revenue from the tickets we sell is generously shared with our club.
  • The Paul Haris Lunch on April 28 begins the Multi-District Conference in Providence.
  • Repair café is coming up on May 20.
  • Wings & Wheels begins in June and continues for 13 weeks.
  • RYLA is also coming in June.
  • Birthdays: Deb Kotlarz March 2, Don is March 5, and Leigh.
Happy/sad fines:
  • Bob: Bolton’s Winterfest is this Saturday, despite no snow.
  • Carol: enjoyed her trip to Evanston, Illinois, on Rotary zone business, along with Laura, a second representative to the zone from our club.
  • Laura: is going to Florida Sat, to visit visit family; and being from the Midwest where they had little snow, glad of the weather.
  • Leigh: is glad to be here.
  • Jacky: is sad to have  missed the club birthday; but enjoyed her ski trip to Steamboat Springs.
  • Carolyn: reports that Habitat has selected a family for the house in Fitchburg;
  • Carl: it’s 18 days until spring
  • Ray: is going to Argentina to see his son; and is now cancer free!
  • Howard: has attended the Concord sunrise club and the Acton-Boxborough club, where the Nashoba club was recognized as “the club that does things.”
  • Chris: presided over a wonderful club birthday party last week.
Our speakers were Liz Davis-Edwards and her daughters Liz and Maddie. The Edwards family, a family of 5 including 3 girls ages 15, 14 and 9, does adventure/service trips every two years that they call EDventures. These trips last about one month and include some kind of service project (which usually involves fundraising beforehand) and adventure travel.  In 2016, they connected with a woman who was running a refugee camp in Greece, identified a need for a computer lab, did some fundraising, then spent 10 days at the camp as one portion of their EDventure Greece. This was a defining experience for the whole family.
“The people we met are so different from what we expected.” These were Afghans; another Syrian camp was 15 minutes away. People are separated by culture, since they don’t always get along. The journey is expensive—several thousand US dollars, so these are successful people with skills, advanced degrees, etc. A refugee is someone who leaves his country for reasons of safety; a displaced person faces the same dangers but doesn’t cross a border; and an asylum seeker seeks safety in another country and then applies for asylum. In 2004 there was a 16% increase; in 2015 another 10%. There are now 65 million people on the move—a population the size of France. Afghans are fleeing the Taliban, who post a warning on your door to stop doing whatever they don’t’ like; then the post a second warning; and then they kill you.
The camp consisted of tents at the time. Since then winter set in, so the authorities opened up an abandoned factory, so families could move indoors. “We didn’t know what to expect.” Were these people friendly, hostile, opinionated…. These are educated people; they don’t buy into the “extremist mentality” (their own term). But in their culture, the husband has all the power. Especially in areas under extremist control, he can decide when you can eat, when or if you can see your family, if you can go outside the house.
Farishta is a single mother in the camp. She’s actually married, but her husband left before she did and is in Germany. She’s in the camp with six children. She owned a beauty salon in Afghanistan. The Taliban bombed her house; her seven month-old died in the bombing, and she got shrapnel in her leg. She walked the whole way with the other six.
Liz: “I loved being at the refugee camp … knowing it was going to be one of the best days of my life.” She told of her friendship with a young Afghan girl, Zora, who sounds like any American girl. But the Taliban resented her because she was educated. So the family left. But Zora maintained a positive attitude. She was an amazing role model for Liz.
Maddie: They played with the kids in the camp, who from the first moments welcomed them as sisters. She also got to play volleyball with two men’s teams, not an experience she wants to repeat, but fun. One experience made a deep impression on her. She was taking pictures, when a man asked her to take a picture of himself with his family. His family consisted not of people, but of photographs of them. “I realized how important it is to love each other. Even though it may sound simple, it can make a difference.”
“May God grant us the desire to search for His direction, the wisdom to discern the jobs He has for eachof us, the courage to do them to the best of our abilities, and the faith to trust that God will take care of the rest.”