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Aida Nicolás Pérez_October

First steps in Thessaloniki

It was 26th October. After what it seemed a very long trip, I arrived to Thessaloniki. And there were they, Ander and Corina, two of my new flatmates, waiting in the airport to bring me to my new home. Soon they became a real family for me.

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The first days I didn’t feel nervous at all, I really wanted to be here, I really wanted to become a volunteer. Despite this, the reasons why weren’t that clear. I suppose I wanted to help, to contribute to the society, maybe I felt in debt.

Slowly I started discovering Greece. It was crazy, it was great. I just fell in love with Thessaloniki. The food, the people, the culture, the diversity, the atmosphere around all this was incredible attractive.

And then it came, the first day on the Social Support Youth Centre of Spartis in which I was going to be volunteering for the next six months. The centre was lovely, it was like a big family, and they all made me feel really welcomed. Anyway, first days were a bit strange for me and I had to make a little effort to get adapted.

I started teaching English and guitar. Not exactly teaching, as I’m not a teacher, but sharing all the knowledge I could. And then it started, all the doubts, the fears, the lack of confidence. Will I be able to do this? Am I enough good? Nothing bad happened, I just suddenly felt a big loan of responsibility in my shoulders. As I see it, I was there to help, to give as much as I could, but find the way to do it turned difficult for me.

At the same time, the excitement of the first days had gone and I was able to look more in deep and to analyse the situation. A refugee avalanche on a country still not recuperated from an economic crisis. Then I understood my journey from Spain to Greece hadn’t been long at all.

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That moment was hard. Seeing homeless people started to affected me quite a lot and a big sense of impotence appeared. And the homeless people are just the tip of the iceberg, so try to imagine.

I think then I realized what volunteering was about. Keep helping, and keep thinking that our little actions are not useless but necessary. Try to spread this spirit of giving back what you have received from the others.