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Raquel Florido Cortés_October

My first month of volunteering in ARSIS,

I arrived in Thessaloniki on Wednesday, 16 October 2019. I arrived with a suitcase loaded with many things but above all with fears and illusions, sharing weight.

I arrived at night, I was greeted at the airport with a big hug and a big smile, which made me understand many things about the philosophy of ARSIS from the first moment. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again.

chircea october 3

After a few days strolling through Tessaloniki, I was able to discover the tireless life of this city and settle in a huge, stately flat in the city centre.

On October 21, I joined the work, without much information about it but accompanied by the association at all times and to meet with those responsible for work in center. I got to know the House of Unaccompanied Minors of Wraiokastron and the kids and co-workers. It is a residence on the outskirts of the city in a quiet and comfortable mountain environment, which houses approximately thirty unaccompanied boys between the ages of eleven and eighteen. As I had been described, but it was so new to me that I could never imagine it as I saw it.

On that first day, I had doubts about whether I would be prepared to take on such a challenge and to be able to meet the needs of these children, mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result of that day the comings and goings to the center began to be my routine, my main thought and also my personal challenge.

I don’t know if I have interpreted well what I see and what comes to me, but the most important thing is to be with them, to talk to them, to show affection and to create “home”. There are no calendars or fixed hours, no one has to be participating in any of the proposed activities if you don’t feel like it. The activities are intended to be varied, housing sports, language classes, crafts, cooking and integration into the city. The latter is my favourite part of the project and one in which I also empathise most with them. Getting to know a new city, with a completely new language, surrounded by new people. Thus, for example, we were able to enjoy the Tessaloniki Film Festival.

cortes october 1

cortes october 2

In this first month, the illusion of knowing and knowing them, marries with the frustration of not being able to communicate as you would like, of not knowing the method of work and expectations that contrast with reality.

The most listened words in this first month are patience and determination.

My first one ends with the beginning of On arrival training in Volos…