Camp Croatia

Emilie Vinson meets the volunteers taking hope to refugees in transit

To the refugees, she was just another volunteer in a flourescent orange vest, another face they passed in their search for a home where bombs weren’t exploding. To the police, she was “ The Banana Lady.”

To everyone else, she was Christine, a 48-year- old mother of two from Switzerland. When she heard about the refugees’ slow trek through Europe, she left her home in Zurich and drove 12 hours through two countries to be with people who no longer had one.


Christine volunteered at Croatia’s transit camp for refugees for seven days. Each morning, she bought 200-300kgs of bananas and delivered them to the refugee compound, where thousands waited to continue north by bus. If there was time to sleep, which wasn’t often, she slept in the backseat of the black truck she arrived in. There were no showers in the camp, so she didn’t shower until returning to Switzerland. “ They don’t know me,” she said, “but they are my refugees.”


Read the full version in The Northern Correspondent #6