This will be the longest blog post so far, this is because I ended up running out of time yesterday so I will post it today. I shall try and keep today and yesterday separate in the post.
Yesterday morning, after catching the busy morning metro, we went and helped at a new refugee centre. We polished the marbled floors and walls. Clean railings and Windows. Put up blinds, tables, chairs and cabinets. It was a morning of hard work surrounded by some really interesting people. The refugee centre was owned by the ‘Humanitarian Initiative Bridges’ which is an amazing charity. They have many different opportunities for the refugees, and an incredible team who work really hard to support the refugees.
In the afternoon we went to another centre but this one was established and there was jobs for us to be doing. Some girls went ahead playing with the children in a wonderful room that had beautiful paintings on the wall and was full of toys. What was amazing about this was that the toys had all been donated to the centre. The rest of the girls and I went ahead folding and sorting towels, bed sheets (single and double), pillow cases, duvet covers and bath robes. These were all donated from a hotel and were being used to give to families who need these items. The bath robes were put into the showers at the centre. The showers were so well presented, there was a washing machine and a tumble dryer. Baby changing units, as well as all of the stuff you would need to change a baby. Female sanitary products and all. [ For obvious reasons I don’t know what was in the men’s wash room however I can imagine that it was a similar kind of thing but for men!] Then in the main hall of the centre, there was a place to get tea and coffee and there were snacks. There was an oppitunity for the families to talk to people, play games, do puzzles and just enjoy time as a family in a safe place. In the centre there were English classes for both adults and children. It was an amazing place. Truly full of love and compassion. This is the place we’ll be spending most the week so I’ll have better updates on the incredible experiences we have there.
We spent the morning as a team, we ate a cooked breakfast and the worshipped God with music and prayer. This was so important for us as a team because we were heading to a refugee camp along side the port in Athens. This was going to be a tough experience so it was important that we had spent that time in the morning asking God who we should talk to and what he would like us to do today.
And wow! The camp was surprising nice. When I say nice, don’t mistake me these people have nothing compared to what they used to have back in their home countries. But the people themselves are so welcoming. I spent most of my time talking to one man and his family. He was from Pakistan and was with his wife and his brothers children. The children is what caught my attention. They were beautiful. So happy and excited as we gave them bubbles and colouring books. The man was really friendly, we wanted to feed me and make me tea. I had to refuse, I couldn’t accept the little food they had but they were so generous. We spoke for so long about his journey and why he left his country, we even spoke about my culture and heritage and just had such a lovely chat. It made me forget that I was talking to someone that left there home to seek safety in another country. Then I had to snap back to reality! Over the course of the day I spoke to a lot of people and everyone was very welcoming, there were few lanaguge barriers but they were easily overcome with the help of the Internet!
Our group split, half of the group went to a bible study group (we didn’t all go as we didn’t want to overcrowd the refugees there) and the other half went to the beach. I was in the beach group and I was lucky enough to catch up with the boys from the first story. They were well, and we spoke to there dad as well. We spoke more about God and it was a really interesting conversation. It’s amazing that God has given us this oppitunity to build a relationship with these boys. Our group has a contact for them so hopefully we will see them again. I’ll try and keep this story updated too!
For now, thank you for reading, Jasmine x