A group of foreign volunteers from SEEDS, a voluntary organisation, assisted in cleaning ashes from the fields under Eyjafjöll. The volunteers say that it is a good feeling to be able to help people.
„It surprised me how much of ash there was, and how muddy it felt after the rain. After we finished the work we walked to the top of a small hill close to the farm. We saw how the grass was trying to get out of the ashes, it reminded me of birds that get stuck in oil and are about to choke.“
This is the way Matic Kraševec, a volunteer from Slovenia, described his experience of shovelling ashes from the fields of the farm Moldnúpur, under Eyjafjöll.
A group of eight volunteers from seven countries participated in the cleaning, and more volunteers are expected to clean after the ash fall. The people, which are most in the age range of 20 to 30 year old, came especially to Iceland to do voluntary work, but did not expect that a part of that work would be to clean up after a volcanic eruption.
“I visited the area where the ash fall has been the most before Eyjafjallajökull eruption started, so it was a big shock to see how the ash has covered this beautiful landscape. It has all changed,” says Anais Kerroc ?h, a volunteer from France.
“Everyone greeted us warmly in the east and explained to us what needed to be done and why. There was a thick layer of ashes on the fields next to the farm, and we needed to shovel it up and take away in wheel barrels.”
Both Anais and Matic say that they are more than ready to go east again to assist in cleaning up ashes, since they are staying here for some time more. “It depends on whether the inhabitants there have projects for us, but I believe we can do much more,” says Matic.
“Originally I was going to work on a project in Þórsmörk, but because of obvious reasons it did not work out. When I heard that we had the chance to go and help in cleaning after the eruption I jumped on the opportunity,” says Anais.
“It is good to be able to help people, the ash has fallen on a big area and it is an important task to get it away. It is a good feeling to help the ones that really need it,” she says.
“For me it is something I had to do, work next to an erupting volcano, this is a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I applied for the grant to come here about six months ago and then this happens exactly when I am here. I couldn’t have been luckier,” says Matic.
They both admit that their friends and family from back home have been a little worried about them being here in Iceland when one volcano starts erupting after another. Matic says that the volunteers can help in correcting the misunderstanding that everything here is chaotic, by giving the media in their home countries interviews. He says that he has been interviewed by the Slovenian media, and some volunteers have spoken to Danish and German TV crews.