Volunteers have been keen on assisting farmers in south Iceland with ash removal since the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull began. However, as ash fall in the area has resumed, there is not much they can do at the moment.
Volunteers from SEEDS helping out with the ash cleaning. Photo by Meir Kfir.
Among those who were helping out with the ash cleaning were volunteers from the organization SEEDS. Here is their account of the situation:
“It surprised me how much 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 how Matic Krasevec, a volunteer from Slovenia, described to Fréttabladid his experience of shoveling ash from the fields of the farm Moldnúpur, below the Eyjafjöll mountain range, two weeks ago.
A group of eight volunteers from seven countries participated in the cleaning through SEEDS, and more volunteers are expected to help clean the area after the latest ash fall.
The volunteers, mostly 20 to 30-years-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 the Eyjafjallajökull eruption started, so it was a big shock to see how the ash has covered this beautiful landscape. It has all changed,” said Anais Kerroch, a volunteer from France.
“Everyone greeted us warmly […] 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 it away in wheelbarrows.”
Another SEEDS volunteer. Photo by Meir Kfir.
Both Kerroch and Krasevec said that they are more than ready to go east again to assist in cleaning up ash, 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,” commented Krasevec.
“Originally I was going to work on a project in Thórsmörk, 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,” said Kerroch.
“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 adds.
“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,” Krasevec stated.
They both admit that their friends and family from back home have been a little worried about them being here in Iceland when Eyjafjallajökull began erupting straight after the eruption on Fimmvörduháls.
Krasevec said that the volunteers can help in correcting the misunderstanding that everything here is chaotic by giving the media in their home countries interviews.
He has been interviewed by the Slovenian media and some other volunteers have spoken to Danish and German television crews.
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