Greece Day 8: This was a day of a joy. That’s not to say there weren’t quiet moments of sadness or tears, but I think everyone on Team 19 would agree that overall, we feel grateful for having had the opportunity to spend time together at the small, informal camp that we visited today.
More like a squat, this abandoned apartment complex, tucked in a seaside village of southern Greece, is currently home to 17 Afghan families who escaped Taliban-inflicted violence and oppression.
We talked, took photos, played ball, sipped coffee together, and sometimes we just listened. We felt sadness for the suffering they have endured thus far, and also admiration for their fortitude. The children we met were gracious, funny and dedicated to their language studies; the parents we met looked tired.
Those videos you see on CNN depicting dozens of terrified human beings packed into an inflatable raft become much more real when shown by a weary father of six as he points to his tiny son crouched in the center of the raft, and his teenaged daughters choke back tears describing the way their military rescuers tossed their belongings into the sea.
One family in particular shared their tidy but tiny space and insisted we stay for lunch. We’ve enjoyed some terrific food here in Greece during our late-night dinners, but this simple meal, shared while seated on the floor of a room where all eight of them sleep every night, was one of the best.
–Trip Journal from Aline Lindeman