It was both difficult and eye opening for me to have met such incredibly brave people fleeing unspeakable horror in places like Syria, Palestine and Afghanistan while I was volunteering in Athens this summer. Mohammed is one such brave individual who told me about some of his experiences and, in time, graciously agreed to let me write about them.
3 weeks have never flown by so fast. I feel like I just arrived in Athens, but somehow today is my last day. If I had the money to survive here longer, I would love to stay and keep working at the refugee residence.
We survive the night without any demonic activity from the creepy candle lit church.
It’s out by morning.
We get an extremely early start for our hike. We don’t have time to summit so we’re just doing a 2 hour climb instead, before getting on our way back to Athens.
Bells are sounding off in the distance. It’s still dark outside, but I suppose this is to wake the residents of the monasteries. We hear them first from our neighbouring cliff, and then faintly from somewhere much further away. The sound bounces between the mountains and rocks to reach us in our little fort beneath the trees. The moon has risen and I catch a glimpse of more falling meteors before drifting off to sleep again.
We’ve been working hard, and since arriving, the school has gained 20+ volunteers, so we’re taking the weekend off. I’ve been dreaming of Meteora ever since I saw some fantastic photos a couple years ago. Probably on Instagram, if we’re being honest, but I don’t remember for sure.
I love Greek food, but I do not like these little cactus fruits someone in our house has picked up from the grocery store. I’m not actually sure they’re Greek, but I’ve never seen them before.
I had my first “real” English lesson the other day. Different from the day where I offered activities in English, this is a TRUE lesson with a white board and everything.
The kids sit down silently and wait for me to begin. We sing the alphabet in beautiful unison. I invite the children up one at a time to write the letters of the alphabet on the board. We introduce ourselves and spell our names. Later, we go through and think of a word that begins with each letter. They are creative and clever. They give me a standing ovation when the hour is up, and leave the room in single file.
Just kidding. It’s fucking chaos.
I’m not an organized person, and I don’t really expect a squatter’s residence to be organized…but it’s a little strange here.
I quietly sneak around the room in the morning, packing up the last of my belongings and trying not to wake anyone. I feel a bit bad that I won’t say a proper goodbye, but I really hate goodbyes anyway so this is better.
I found arranging transport from Zakynthos to Kefalonia SO enraaaaging that I’ve decided to lay out the options as clearly as possible for you. Hopefully this saves you some time and keeps you semi-zen. We’re on the Greek islands! We should be chilllllin’ at all times!