Hello again my friends,
Jet lag is hitting me hard as I write this. Bare with me as you enter my narrative train of thought.
I got a little self conscious about posting a second update because these are usually stories I jot down on iphone notes while lying in bed and I’m just so ESL haha.
Let’s pick up where we left off. We had 2 days where instead of doing shifts in camps we went to the Lifejacket graveyard & spent time in a community centre.
Going to the lifejacket graveyard was another reminder that “every life jacket has a story”. I found it helpful to have done a few days in camp before going to see the jackets because I could picture a lot of my current “friends” from camp who had just arrived during our first week.
We helped them hang multiple wet clothing items and jackets. Rain in general makes me uncomfortable, I can’t imagine what it’s like to cross those dangerous waters.
Shoutout to the Village Men’s team - The entire camp & surrounding organizations really appreciated the hard work they put in to all these “special projects”.
We spent a few hours before “tea time”, doing a deep clean of the space.
By the way - Squeegeeing a floor is a real arm workout.
The centre is used to host tea time twice a week, where tea is served and anyone is welcome to come hang out, colour, play soccer, and enjoy each others company.
On Saturday’s they host Women’s Day - Where only women are allowed and apparently it is a much looked forward to morning for the women in camp. Small things like not having to look after kids and getting their nails painted goes a long way.
I think if I were to go back I would love to teach english in the community centre.
Since we are outside of camp - it is also a space where you can share the gospel or about your personal relationship with God. Those who wish to receive Bible’s in their language can pick one up there as well.
My oh my did I miss that boat. (I mean I got sea sick in April while it was docked..but still, it’s special)
Our team had a blast sanding wood, polishing the bell & prepping for a community night hosted by the YWAM family every week. We lead a time of worship, a message & prayer. Church and nights like this are fun because everything get’s translated as they are being said. (also takes double the time it would if it was just in one language) .
This was one of the moments where I realized “who cares about language barrier”!!!!
God is so good, and gave us plenty of opportunities, resources and moments to create relationships with people from different nations through laughter, high fives, hugs, sports, music, a card game etc. Honestly, at first I thought I would laugh a lot to cope with the brokenness on the island, and then I realized a smile or laughing together it was the best form of friendly communication.
Back in camp:
Our team had the opportunity to try a variety of the jobs, yet most of us chose to go back to tasks we felt familiar with. Being there for only a short period of time, it seemed like a wise choice. Returning to a task you feel confident in allows for opportunities to teach new volunteers and giving them tips on what has worked for us. (in Moria - you got from a newbie to a veteran expert real fast)
I.D cards - ONE OF MY TOP 5 FAV MOMENTS IN CAMP
I find it special to be on shift long enough to run through a whole process with a family or individual.
They get off the boat, the Greeks interview them, they take a mugshot style image and receive papers, then we hand out blankets, chai or water and various items from organizations (hygiene kit / dry clothes)
Then they can get settles in the gated “new arrivals area” or around there. In the past people stayed there 1-3 nights but from their food stamps it seems like it’s been taking longer due to the lack of space available.
In order to speed up the process when people finally get moved out of new arrivals, they decided to start creating their I.D card sooner rather than later. Going from a vital non-replaceable piece of paper to a plastic waterproof card is a big deal. My friends eagerly lined up, we set up the camera and had a machine print out their cards.
I am tearing up - I miss them. I am thinking about how funny it was to have them be excited just for a picture. They fixed their hair, asked me if it looked good, tried to make each other laugh and one by one we celebrated each person receiving what seemed like a lottery win.
Another top 5 moment: seeing the different cultures interact, encourage and assist each other despite their language barrier and religious differences. We come from a pretty multicultural area, but this is a whole other level. They all have different practices, views, and have gone through a lot of trauma and stress for the last - who knows how long.
Beautiful art, stories & people:
Something new to camp are these murals. An initiation taken by an organization that melts my heart. ( So I contributed a heart to a wall) Seeing children and artists make Moria a little more colourful was amazing. For a minute, it makes you forget that you are on a military base in the middle of some random island. The murals represent different stories, different nations and many different hands were involved during the creation process.
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR:
There is good news.
The other day this article came out:
Good news #2 - WE MADE A FRIEND
I know I say everyone on this trip is our friend, but Stavros - you are a special friend to our team. Thank you for being the best server in all of Greece ;). We went to his work multiple times for the best crepes & Nutella pizza.
Ralph gifted him one of our teams most recommended books: Love Does ! We can have a book club from across the world.
My Greek little brother, we can’t wait for you to let us show you around Canada!
A FEW MORE THINGS:
I am working on a proper blog post for church, but I appreciate you tuning into these "all over the place” stories.
Our team has plenty of stories and moments that we will cherish in our hearts. God kept us safe and rather healthy.
Ask me in person about our sneaky selfies & photos with our new friends that we can’t post online.
Please keep the people of Moria in your prayers.
Please keep our team in your prayers now that we are home. I think it’s hard to be in Canada, while our new friends lack basic needs. Some of us feel a tug to be part of local Refugee initiatives, to go back or to brainstorm outreach opportunities and ways to share what we experienced.
That’s a rap for this time - Saying goodbye was hard, so many of our friends managed to find us on our last shift to wish us farewell, take selfies and give us hugs!
I’ll link my previous GREECE blog posts here:
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those who helped us financially to be able to serve the people of Lesvos.