I think we finally have housing settled for the rest of our time in Athens! That feels like no small feat after the craziness of last week. We’ve even managed to make a few of our own meals, mostly breakfast, but also a bit of a twist on chicken tacos (with feta!) for lunch today. Something about returning to rhythms of exercise and not always eating out feels stabilizing even if overall we really do like Greek food. It’s been particularly fun to discover thanks to a new friend here an app called ClickDelivery that lets you order from hundreds of restaurants across the city and then it magically appears 20-40 minutes later by motorbike. So far we have a favorite souvlaki place where you can get grilled halloumi cheese (yum!!), great grilled chicken, etc. for crazy cheap and one fail with a Chinese restaurant. Tonight we’re meeting up with another couple that’s on their 4th week of volunteering at the refugee center. We’re going to find out what well rated Thai food is like in Athens and are excited to learn a bit more about them. They’re in their mid-60s, from Kentucky and spent 3 years living in Kabul recently working with street children and setting up a women’s sewing project.
In other reasons why today has been a good day, I just had a little chaotic video chat with my sister and all 5 of her littles. Complete with lots of enthusiasm, a little tour of our apartment including the weird dolphin/seashell toilet seat and energetic attempts by the 2 year old to kiss the husband through the monitor.
Love those kids and my sister is a rock star for her ability to not just keep the 5 of them alive and fed, but also schooled!
Yesterday, the EU apparently made moves to begin deporting Afghani refugees back to Afghanistan, as discussed in this article from the Guardian. Most of the refugees I’ve been working with so far in Greece are Afghani. I’m only a few days in and can’t speak to their stories, nor are they mine to tell. Of this though, I’m sure: these are strong, resilient people who chose to leave the homes and lives they’ve built over generations for a reason. They’ve traveled thousands of miles and are currently living in horrific situations while trapped in limbo. And they are humans, a few with faces I recognize including little girls that made a good effort to knot my hair irrevocably yesterday.
The refugee crisis is a hugely complicated issue, one I can’t even pretend to understand more than small bits of, but sending people back, hardly seems like a wise solution. I am so thankful for the privilege to be able in some small way participate in restoring little bits of dignity to just a few of the thousands currently displaced. Clean clothes, bits of mimed conversation and games with little ones hardly seems like a means to change the world. Today though, I’m thinking of how great it feels to shower somewhere clean and have clean clothes and bedding after a long flight or dirty night camping and how that must be a tiny taste of what it would feel like for someone living in a refugee camp. Of how somewhere inside, cool and safe to spend several hours while letting your kids run and play knowing their safe may actually be a small way to recognize another’s humanity and dignity. And a way for me to learn a bit along the while as well.
I’m thankful for the privilege of serving in small ways these individuals that are just as deserving of clean, warm, safe homes as I am and just as loved by God as I am.