The “adventure” began for me the past 20th of July. Thessaloniki received me with its warmest temperatures in the past 50 years. Lucky me! Historical event.
The first impression was exciting: I say that I find this place as a charming chaos, and I couldn’t define it better. The city is always alive, noisy and randomly organized, but you never stop discovering. Every day is something new. You may find a narrow and picturesque street with the nicest cafeteria, or you may lose yourself around the upper town, favorite place. At night, everything is romantically illuminated, and it turns to be a different city. Greeks are very kind and generous (except when they drive, fun fact), and I feel welcomed.
But I came here for more reasons than discovering Greece and its culture. ARSIS has given me the opportunity of getting involved in two of the projects they are carrying out: DIAPLOUS and SIL.
DIAPLOUS is giving support to refugee adult women that are here alone, some are even single mothers. What to say about it! I know the women for few weeks and I already feel so comfortable and enriched by spending my time surrounded by them. They are wonderful. The main activity I am participating in is the support for language learning, especially English. They are really motivated about learning and always try to be participative, I can see their progress. But English is not the only activity. We organized a very nice cooking workshop where every of them, and also the ARSIS team and myself cooked together dishes from different countries and cultures that made us travel and share. In the next months we are preparing different info seminars, cultural activities and others, like walking around the city and I can’t wait to go for it.
On the other hand, SIL is supporting minor refugees coming from different countries. I started a little later with this project but it is starting to bloom. I still don’t know all of the guys, but I already started preparing some English classes for them. Some of them are not able to communicate without an interpreter so this is something basic and important to start with. The guys coming to the classes are very motivated and kind and I am strongly willing to start preparing other activities with them such us sport tournaments or other activities outside where they can learn languages but also share quality time together and build better relationships.
Let’s see what September brings…