January- the journey of discovery
I entered in a new year abroad, for the second time in my life and I felt loved and lucky, thankful for what I was given and feeling a lot of love from and for my dears’ ones.
Everything started full of hope and good energy. I felt for the first time in all these months that my work matters. This time I did not try to force myself to do something special, I was just spending time with the children and speaking a little bit in Greek and in English. We were playing, doing paper boats together for them to learn the colors, going to cinema and having a good time all together.
I felt very useful helping two of the children to do their math homework. I felt so nice to be responsible for this task and to feel trusted. And after we were going to play football. I realized how a sport can motivate them to do something. It is very interesting to see that the children are reacting in different ways, but even so they are influencing one another.
Since I was spending a lot of time until now surrounded by the children and the social workers, I reached to the conclusion that the social workers deserve a lot of admiration for what they are doing. One of the social works was alone in the shift one day and… surprise… we had a party. Just imagine, if one child in a party can be sometimes hard to control, ten children means ten times more effort. I felt it also, at the end of the day, I felt extremely tired, but in the same time I felt very good because I knew that in that particular day she really needed my help and what I did was at a real importance for someone.
The third Monday from January started with a lot of emotions mixed. A new challenge was rise upon towards me, I became a teacher and not only a teacher, but a teacher for adults. I started being very nervous before my first lesson, I was having a lot a questions. I entered in my first class without preparing anything, I didn’t know what to prepare, nobody helped me, I had to discover everything by myself, but in the end maybe it is better like that because I can value more what I gain at the end of the experience.
I started being very nervous and it could be observed from my speaking way and the rapidity with which I was teaching. It was a new environment for me, but I loved the first class and so I did for the next and the next one. I realized in that moment that it is something that makes me very happy. I love to give back something that I learnt in years and to make it easier for the others to understand the information even better than me. I am totally aware of the fact that I have so many things to improve in this field. I have to be more organized, to transmit more energy, to involve more the people from the class, to make the information clear and easy to be understood and so many others, but the fact that I have to work for becoming better is challenging and interesting for me. I finally love what I do.
The positive attitude towards what I am doing reflects in more projects that I am doing also with the children from the center. I found out that they are very interested in painting because through this they can put their creativity into play. The best part is the exposition of their work, seeing their work displayed somewhere, even on the fridge, makes them feel important and rewarded.
I am aware now more than ever that time is essential in building relationships and that people have so diverse ways of showing how interested they are in something. Just by listening you become aware of the surroundings. If you pay close attention, you can find out what they need and like to do. In the case of the children it was a real pleasure to have done some masks.
As a volunteer, like in any other profession or experience, life is not always pink. There are moments of stress and moments of testing the limits. There will always be something that you will find difficult both in the personal and professional level, but this is the moment of discovering, trying to improve the place where you are and being more solution oriented.
Last days of January just flew. I discovered a lot of stories, a lot of things about refugees’ life and about their difficulties. It is like a total new world out there from our safe houses, countries and it does not look good at all. All these innocent people are running form the war, from one war to another. And when they think they are safe enough they become refugees who are facing much more difficulties because they are jumping from having their lives to having nothing and starving, from normal lives to lives in poverty. Each of them has her/his unique story. The ones that are usually coming to the center for receiving help are the bravest ones, from my point of view, because despite all the difficulties they are facing, they are optimistic and they want to learn and to integrate themselves in another society. I have all my respect and admiration for the people that without knowing anything are fighting for a new beginning and keeping themselves dignified by accepting the difficulties and searching for solutions. Of course that out there are also people that are reluctant to integration, that are conservative and cause problem in the society. Just walking in the street I could observe several cases of these people. But it is very sad to consider them as the representative of all the refugees, because it is a threat for those that are good people and try hard to have normal lives.
I understand that this world is about perceptions, but I would like that our perception to be broader to see all the picture of a problem, to see the cause and the future implications of our actions. It would be wonderful if those several people that are in the leading position to stop placing the power higher than the humanity and feelings, because in the end there is not power without people. To have a devastated territory it is useless, the people means the power and losing them means losing the power too. But here my duty is to make myself useful at least a bit for these people and to give them at least some help for adaptation namely teaching them a language, as good as I can.
I can’t say that teaching is easy, not at all, but it is rewarding to see the progress of the people around. It is very rewarding. There are still many things to be improved, but this is the part when I feel useful and in the right place. Proactive mood on!
ESC volunteer in Arsis (October 2019 – April 2020)