Backpacks for the Refugees-The Day After

I think it’s useless to repeat methods from the past. We have to think out of the box and create new ways of reaction. We can use all this survival kit lists just for wring/sift and/or update them. The point is not an endless list that nobody wants to read it but to find ways to train the people through their daily routines. And only a few things should be prepared especially for emergencies.

Resilience routines then?

I agree that long lists and texts aren’t very helpful most of the time (although there may be exceptions, like cities under siege, certain diseases, etc.).

If you want to integrate activities that help prepare yourself for an acute or creeping emergency I think in many ways going camping, hiking, or something like the boy scouts are helpful to get people started. Basically you get used to the idea of getting by with less infrastructure. This of course does not address the myriad of other issues you may be facing, which can require quite different preparations.

That is in part why I looked at ways of short term organization and info dissemination. The other thing that would be helpful and perhaps realistic for some poeple at least is to try to be able to provide a useful service during such emergencies.

I would not want to dismiss methods from the past completely. Certainly many of them don’t work very well, may be blindsided, or out of touch with realities. So I agree one should not accept them as last word on the issues (and note I may sound more drastic on this if I had seen official approach fail on the Greek Islands for months) - there sure is a necessity for trying out new things. Still official policies often have some useful elements to them (also depends on how far into the past one wants to look).


Strongly scented soap, rosewater, essential oil (careful with skin contact) on a scarf dipped maybe mixed with vasiline could could produce a pleasent or at least effectively masking smell.

Vicks VapoRub supposedly also works as mosquito repellent, as well as medical uses.

If you have small things that small you could fix them with a safety pin.

Especially for women I could imagine the opposite could also be helpful in some situations: Stink bomb - Wikipedia

Is there any kind of system in the world that could cope?

To your first question, I am not too optimistic. What we’re seeing over and over again is that large scale responses needed in these crises situations mostly come about ad hoc and like in Greece, it’s citizens who end up training themselves for preparedness. Matthis and co. for example set up this manual for disaster relief management. Is that what you have in mind, but more detailed?

But I am still amazed at how you, as an elected municipal councillor in Thessaloniki, prefered to take a step with community as main asset rather than with instruments you had available in your office. Did I get it wrong?

No, you didn’t!

@Noemi, thank you for mention @Matthias! I found his post very usefull. More pieces for my puzzle!

About the …hot stuff as an elected person I’ll be back tomorrow. I think I have to explain a few things about the reality here in Greece.

I want to know about this too!

Huh… @Aravella_Salonikidou , I managed to miss that you are a councillor. So yes, I am very much looking forward to the whole story.

In passing: I think we are looking at diversity trumps ability. When an activist-designer-manufacturer like you, a material scientist like @trythis and an open source hacker like @Matthias get on a task, it acquires incredible depth. I am reading your lists and thinking not only “how generous!” but “how clever!” and even “wow, this is cool”. :slight_smile:

Heads up: new challenge “Policies of Care”

@Aravella_Salonikidou know that I haven’t forgotten about this pending conversation about how the public administration and your more official hat helped or not your project. I would think you were ideally positioned to lead such a campaign with greater speed than other self-organised initiatives.

Because the role of administrations keeps popping up in many conversations in opencare, with the city of Milano we are now launching a campaign to understand how well meaning public servants and their office can collaborate, support or even set up better regulations endorsing community projects like yours and the others we know. Would you be interested in participating with a story? We could do it like this - organising a chat where you meet @Franca who’s part of the Milan team, and other edgeryders who are interested in this. And then we put together in writing the most interesting ideas from that chat. I’m happy to join you.

The challenge is here, have a look and let me know what you think? (we’re still polishing the wording, but it should give you an idea…)

I was thinking about that…

@Noemi @Alberto (and everybody else…) all this time I was thinking how I should answer this question. I hate it when I have to complain about something. So, I’ve done a sketch to help me explain what happens here. I’ll post it soon. And of course I want to participate! These days I have a personal problem but I hope next week I’ll be ready to involve.

It’s ok, we can wait a few more days of course!

Take the time you need, @Aravella. I look forward to supporting the writing in any way I can. Thank you for keeping this in mind, I think it will be important, especially one year into this opencare thing and given our plans with the PopUp village as a potential bridge between cities and citizens.

I am very moved by your story and I like the idea of including ‘a wish’ in every backpack so much. It reminds me of this project: of a fiend or me in Brussel: Dorothy Oger wrote the poem We shall stand for love in the aftermath of the Brussels terror attacks, and then the poem went viral and was translated in many many languages and now it is distributed for free on postcards with enough space to add a personal message;

I allways have the poem with me to pass it on to friends, refugees,…

@ybe the wish was one of the

@Ybe the wish was one of the most important things in the backpack. We didn’t send them without the wishes. And it was so powerfull and emotional. You can’t imagine what kind of wishes little kids can send! Most of the time my eyes were filled with tears…

Thank you for telling us about the poem. Amazing idea!

Notes to self

  • Thermosflask improvements (big & glass)

  • Hot air pump for sleeping bag

I just saw the images of people waiting in line in the snow

@Aravella_Salonikidou I just saw the images of people waiting in line in the snow and thought that this is horribly inefficient and I think degrading.

You’d only need an improvised ticket system and people could stay out of the bad weather unless it was their turn.

There are many ways and materials to improvise these from (Salt dough - Wikipedia ASIN B00O0PRFHM paper or clay (perhaps “non-firing”) and number punches ( B01M1VBFNS )).

The only thing you really need are the number punches. With them you can quickly improvise a (reusable) ticket system.

The details of implementing it can be all kinds of ways - not necessarily a first come, first serve. What I could imagine works fairly well is having a clock-like indicator which groups of tickets are called for when, and if available a loudspeaker that can also call things out.

One nice thing about the fimo stuff is that it is pretty easy to mix in a unique way, so making fakes is very difficult. And you have to look closely to see the number on it, which reduces fighting for the “best numbers” (you also do count downs vs count ups).

A pack of 570g can easily be made into 570 tickets. Cost per 1000 such long lasting tickets would be around 30 EUR.


We don’t have contact with the refugees anymore, the camps ate far from the town and nobody listens to any ideas. So, the only thing I can do it’s to keep it for my list. It’s difficult to explain the situation here…