After what seemed like days of travel – KC to Minneapolis to Paris to Athens then an hour drive to Chalkita I have arrived to my home for the next two weeks. It was a shot in the arm to see Mohammed at the airport (Mohammed was the director of the program in Rabat, Morocco, where I volunteered a few years ago). The woman who was seated next to me on the flight from Minneapolis to Paris asked me about my travel plans while we were exiting the plane. I told her and her eyes geared up. She was American but from Israel and was headed there to see her family. She praised my efforts, we said brief goodbyes, then were on our separate ways (we didn’t talk at all during the flight, so it was a rather quick “introduction”). She later caught up with me in the airport as I was finding my way to my next flight, and gave me a hug and wished me a safe journey. That was an encounter that will stay with me. Her gesture meant so much, especially as I’m entering a huge unknown here….
I’m staying in a small hotel a short block from the water. Chalkida is on an island just an hour away from Athens so is a popular vacation spot for the locals. I’ve not yet been to the camp where I’ll be working, but can already say that this spot will feel much like an oasis at the end of every work day.
Our room (I’m sharing with a woman from England), is small, but adequate, and “air conditioned”, although I do have to put that word in quotes. It’s hot, exceptionally hot for this area, I’m told, and after today’s projected high of 109, we are supposed to be in for some cooling tomorrow. 90 will never feel better. The camps are totally exposed, no trees, so it will be much worse.
There are 25 or so of us, all staying in the same hotel, most from the USA and a few from England. Today will be an orientation day – learning more about the camps as well as our job assignments.
I’ll have much more to day tomorrow, no doubt, but so far, I’m feeling content, happy and filled with anticipation….