Decided to move to the airport hotel tonight as our flight left at 6:00am. We had breakfast, got packed up and headed to the van. Organized what aid we had left and headed to the port to work once again with The School Box Project: https://www.facebook.com/theschoolboxproject/
The kids were REALLY busy. With the rain over the weekend – I am sure having to be stuck in their tents made for very active kids. Lots of fights- Zach went and played soccer with the boys and I got out the coloring books and pens. New faces today- but many of the same old faces. As the little ones would drop into my lap while I sat on the ground coloring and sharpening pencils, everyone of them had damp clothes. Thankfully the sun was shining and I am sure the mothers and sisters were busy washing clothes after the rainy weekend.
We got to see one of the HUGE ferries leaving the port area- amazing! We still had the stroller we’d brought from the US so after the School box closed for lunch we went over to the Stone ware house to find the baby caravan. It is run by Amurtel Greece, they have a camper parked on the side of the Stone warehouse where mothers can come and visit the midwife, get supplemental food, vitamins and bath their babies. The woman working was very thankful for the stroller and when asked what else she needed she said the CONDOMS! She has over 1,000 being delivered later this week and the mothers were in desperate need. She was leaving a bit early to bring 2 young mothers with possible yeast infections to a Greek Dr that does pro bono work with them.
We next headed out to the Warehouse to get another load to bring to the Stone warehouse at the port and try and get some food and items needed for the baby caravan. It was not to be- Katarina was not in, and when I spoke to her by phone she said that all requests must come directly to her by email- such a frustrating bottle neck.
Later in the day Shawn who is an American helping out with the food project and warehouse duties at the Stone House warehouse at the port called me asking where the items he requested were. I told him what was happening and gave him Katrinias’s contact info. Many of the volunteers do not rent a car, instead they rely on public transportation (which was on strike over the weekend)- remember they are 20 somethings on break from studies or lives taking time to volunteer.
I also received a call from the people making food in the Stone warehouse I wrote about earlier in the week- on our layover in Paris one of the project founders called me on my Greek phone because they had heard about me having access to food- their donations were running up and they were in need of food. I too gave them the low down on how requests must be made and told them that there was lots of food in the main Warehouse. Here I am a mom, from Phoenix, Arizona getting calls- this totally encapsulates the issues everyone faces- no real person in charge, volunteers foreign and Greek isolated on the ground working 7 days a week doing amazing work under very difficult situations.
Since we still had the van we were asked if we could bring a load over to Skaramangas the camp that has houses the refugees in the Ikea pods. We loaded up and headed over to deliver- since their main big warehouse is not done being secured they are using a small pod to store necessities. A Norwegian NGO was working on getting it secured and were to start this week and finish within 2 weeks.
We then headed to the airport to turn in the van and check into the hotel. Our flight out of Athens was delayed, which would have made us miss our connection in Amsterdam. Headed to the airport at 5AM and KLM let me go on an Air France plane connecting thru Paris. We did miss our connection in LAX to Phoenix, but I was able to purchase super cheap tickets to Phoenix from LAX. We landed at 5PM Phoenix time, had enough time to go home take a show and head to Mae’s school for their “Memory night” that started at 6:00pm.
All in all we visited 13 camps/squats, drove 1,250 miles and I would say it was a great trip- I imagine heading back in Sept or Oct when the kids are back in school. It was such a gift to spend the time with Zach- on the cusp of adulthood, and see what a great person he is.
I will keep up with our amazing Team 8 from Carry the Future and will continue to get updates on the ground from people in Greece. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read a little bit on what is happening in Greece- this crisis needs to be spoken about and the refugees advocated for. This situation is not going to resolve for many years.