When in Greece do as the Grecians do.
This does not include: running full force, gelato in hand, to what seems to be a parade.
Note: funeral processions in Greece have peppy music.
Another rainy day in Lesvos. So, we decided to take refuge at our local fav, Damas. Two coffees to wait the rain out turned into five hours of unforgettable conversation.
Also note: Greek coffee tastes like soot. aw. sad.
Post drinking & snapchatting, we turned around, saying “Marhaba” (hello in Arabic) to the people sitting behind us. Gesturing us over, we sat down with a man and a woman that had become friends in Moria Camp. Through wisps of Arabic, French, and English, we gathered who was who, explaining each of our origins and family life. A translator overheard us and sat down with the four of us, translating our English into Arabic so that we could learn their stories.
One Christian man from Syria. One Muslim woman from Iraq.
They opened their souls for us to see. And through tears, laughs, and hugs, our new friends taught us that family comes first but family can be found at a coffee shop.
It’s crazy how much you can love someone after just meeting them.
Grace & humility. Kind but strong.
Creativity & Sensitivity. Strong but openhearted.
After being introduced by our new favorite translator, we met 4 guys around our age, refugees from Iraqi Kurdistan. Their drive for better lives not only for themselves but for future generations was inspiring & encouraging. Having left their homes together as friends, they’ve become brothers as they’ve journeyed to Greece.
18 years old.
Dream? To go back to see his mother.
18 years old.
Dream? Kurdistan to be free and to learn new languages to help people all over the world.
23 years old.
Dream? To be welcomed in Britain.
19 years old.
Dream? To be a famous photographer.
Note: if you can speak Arabic, Kurdish, Somali, Farsi, Turkish, or any other language spoken by refugees: get certified. Be a translator. They need you.
The translators we met today were not only the coolest people but the most selfless people. Without them, cases are impossible to process: therapy sessions can’t be held, interviews are inadequate, people cannot be heard.
Without translators, today would not have been possible. These stories would not have been shared.
Check out our instagram @refugeeswelcomeinsta to hear more quotes & learn more about our new friends!
Later that afternoon, we ran into a new friend Chris who recognized us from our visit outside of Kara Tepe. Small world. just kidding. Small island. We spent the evening exploring the castle in Mytilini & meeting other volunteers. One in particular spent two weeks teaching art to teenage refugee boys, showing us pictures of the progress some of the boys had made. Today was his last day, but before his departure tomorrow, he’ll be giving his sketch kit to one of the boys.
“He’s really good […] I hope it’ll be cathartic.”
So much to take in today.
The value of translators, art, and listening.