This week has flown by- I have been so blessed with amazing teams every time I travel to Greece and work. This week was great in so many ways. It was not a “usual” trip as in delivering aid everyday, but a combo of delivering aid and exploratory. In this week
alone we have seen such movement. Camps opening, closing, people being moved, we’ve seen the busses dropping off new arrivals. It’s like a big card game right now.
We did what we were sent to do, not always the “fun” part of this work (getting to love on babies) but we made some excellent contacts for future CTF teams. The 1st camp we went to was located along the sea in 2 buildings. We made contact with the NGO’s working there and delivered beds to the 3 pregnant women- we wait until the mother is 6 months or more pregnant to give them the beds.
We were invited into one couples room. These were 2 bedroom/1 bath apartments with a shared kitchen. A larger family would have both rooms, but most shared the apartment with another family. As we sat on the ground on covered mattress (this is where the family sleeps,eats and hangs out-1 room) as the 9 month old girl was passed between us- SOOOOO cute! Her father was a barber and her mother an esthetician. We were served sweet tea.
One of our contacts was in the area and needed to deliver some art refugees had done to our leader Sara who was bringing the artwork back to Lincoln for an art show in May.
This woman is a flight attendant who has rented an apartment here in Thessaloniki and is 2 weeks here, 2 weeks flying. She focuses on families and pregnant moms. Identifying them and making sure they are supported to the best of her ability. She is a powerhouse of love and action.
When Amanda and I were here in Jan we met a nice family from Aleppo who were living at Veria camp. The family saw that we were in the area on social media and reached out to Amanda to come to their apartment in Thessaloniki. This is the 1st step out of the camps. People are put into apartments from the camps, they wait for a phone call (this can take up to 11 months) they are then transferred to Athens for a couple months then they are resettled.
We know they are on the path to resettlement but they do not know where they will be sent. Imagine, not knowing where you will spend the rest of your days. This sweet
Syrian family has 6 kids, the oldest 21 and the youngest 15, 3 boys and 3 girls. When we arrived at their apartment we were met outside by the 15 year old. We all followed him up to the 2nd floor to his families apartment. We were greeted like long lost relatives. We sat for 2 hours around a big table, the older children translating for us and mom and the sisters floating in and out refilling tea cups and bringing us biscuits and the most amazing huge bowls of rice pudding.
The father who was 48 had the weary look of a man much older. He showed me photo’s of his house in Aleppo before they left for Turkey and eventually Greece. And then a photo someone sent him while the family was in Turkey of the house blown up. Gone. Forever. The father is a mechanic and machinist and the mother an OBGYN. The closeness of the family was palatable, we knew that America was out of the question so we hoped that they would get settled in Germany as this was their 1st choice. Good people, fine people. People I am proud to call friend.