Day One, two, three
Everything here in northern Greece has been slowed down incredibly because of the snow. Of course, being from Montreal, I can laugh at the 6-8 inches we have here, but the fact is that many of the roads were closed on Tuesday, and my car has been sitting at the bottom of the hill so that we could be sure of having transportation, even if we have to trudge through the snow and ice to get there.
Monday I arrived:
Tuesday I got settled. Bought some groceries for myself, and a hot water bottle! I froze in my bed on Monday night and thought about the people living in tents or on the street. I had to park my car at the bottom of the hill and walk up with the groceries ... then later I walked back down with another Canadian volunteer to get chains for my tires. No snow tires here!
Wednesday we went to visit a family with a newborn. Lovely family, we spoke at length with the neighbours, listening to their heart-wrenching stories.
There was a field, dogs running, birds swooping down onto the snow, kids running and playing.
A child rolled around on the floor playing a noisy game on the phone. Her parents kept reminding her to turn down the volume. Sound familiar?
A man was building a snow sculpture on the wall of the building. Maybe he taught art at the university before he was pushed into this life, or maybe he was a graphic designer in an advertising company.
You have to realize that the people - "refugees" or whatever labels you use - they are people like you: they have lives, families, kids, phones, tablets, worries, ... did YOU ever imagine you would be living in a tent? Neither did they.
Today we will be distributing food and necessities to other families, and visiting prenatal and postpartum mothers. It's a beautiful day.
"What can I do?" We are all asking ourselves. You can volunteer: check out this link if you have free time and energy: http://www.greecevol.info/index.php
You can donate money: have a look, see what you want to support. There are organizations that work with every different sector of the population: children, mothers and babies, housing, employment...health ...
You can get political. The borders are closed. People are stuck in the southern European countries with no work and no status. Their families have been torn apart. The political realities seem unchangeable and too complicated for normal people like us to change. Perhaps this is true. Then do your part to change the small things. Support the refugees in your country and make them feel at home.
We are not made of snow and ice. Together, we can change the world.