Our to-do list was long today. Thankfully we’d done most of the shopping for Hope Cafe from their “Wish List” in Serres but on our drive down yesterday we got a message that a camp on an island near here was in desperate need of diapers size 2,3 and 4. So we had to add a stop at Jumbo. Silly us, we thought we were done with Jumbo!
After breakfast we headed to a nearby Jumbo to purchase the diapers that a local CTF
volunteer (Rita) will pick up from the warehouse Elliniko when she gets back in town tomorrow. We filled 4 carts of aid- 3 carts of diapers and wipes and 1 carts of strollers. We drove straight to Elliniko to drop off the diapers for Rita to pick up later this week and grab a Dimpa of baby carriers to give to Amurtel. We also grabbed some baby pram baskets. We’d been shown them when we were there last week- the bottom or stroller portions are missing but they should work great for baby beds. So Sarah and Aline we grabbed 6!
Loaded up we headed into central Athens about a 40 minute drive in traffic. The weather is absolutely perfect- cool, the sky are blue and clear from yesterdays rain and huge white billowy clouds in every direction.
Our first stop was Amurtel- the founder Didi met with Cristal (the founder of CTF) back when people we still arriving and being
housed at the port area in Athens. Amurtel is located on the 2nd floor, on a sunny street facing a park with sitting areas and large trees. It is always fun to see the strollers lined
up – knowing that there will be babies in the center to see! In addition to midwife services (pre-natal, postnatal, breast feeding, supplies for mom and baby) they also offer parenting classes. Last night we’d stopped at Ikea on our way to the hotel. Amurtel has a play area for kids whose moms are visiting – last time I was here in November there were hardly any toys left so I did a big Ikea run for toys for this area. Knowing that they would need more toys we stopped last night and filled a big blue Ikea bag with toys and stuffies for the kids.
It has been so much fun to see this organization grow from a camper in the port area that offered moms a place to bath their babies and get midwifery services to a a full service-one stop-all things baby office.
Next we made our mandatory stop at Just Falafel around the corner and ate what has to be, the best.falafel.ever. It lived up to everyones ideas! Next we went to Victoria Hotel that is a newly set up agency that houses, feeds and distributes aid. I’d worked with their Spanish founder in the past and got to see in person the great work they are doing! Patricia was not there but we got to look around to their lunch distribution – today they will feed 600 people lunch. Amazing!
So much good is happening. Afia was able to connect with one of the volunteers handing out food. I love how CTF teams can just hit the road running and see how much good can happen in a relative short period of time. We meet for the most part as strangers and quickly form a hard working team.
Our next stop was back to Hope Cafe to deliver the items we had purchased from their wish list and then some- for instance we knew they needed new can openers because when we were opening cans of beans last week the 2 old tired and broken can openers were impossible to use so we got 2 more. Gloves for workers were not on the list but we knew they were needed because our team used the last ones. Paper towels are always needed so we got a couple big rolls of them.
It was like meeting old friends when we pulled up- we’d only met last week for a couple of hours but soon a dozen people streamed out of the cafe to help me parallel park in a very tiny spot on the street steps from the cafe. Once parked soon a stream of helpers came to help us unload the industrial size cans of tomatoes, the coffee, Nescafe, diapers, wipes……I love when the young boys 7 or 8 come to help and grab the big pallets of sugar like the older boys. You can see the purpose and willingness to work- boredom is a big problem and to help gives purpose. We all need to have a place in this world.
Everyone was overjoyed at the items we’d brought. The coffee house was out of coffee AND sugar. We brought enough for at least a couple of weeks.
It was almost 4:00pm when we’d said our goodbyes, I won’t lie, tears were shed and Facebook friends were added. As we were in Central Athens we decided to go to the
Acropolis – we’d seen it dozens of times driving around and we had an hour after we’d parked to explore. It was only my 2nd time in 7 trips to Greece going up there- it was such a beautiful day!
My alarm is set for 3:30am to get up to drive us to the airport for our 6:00am departures. Once again feeling blessed to have had such a great trip and an amazing team. We drove over 1250 miles and were able to see a variety of camps and organizations supporting this crisis. It is now our job to go out and remind our circle of friends and family that the world is full of people who have to leave their home, against their will. These are our sisters and brothers – we will not forget them.