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Day 1 Chios refugee camp

sunny 59 °F
View Greece trip, 2018 on baixing's travel map.

[map=1152110 lat= lon= zoom=]Day 1: Jakob picked me up at the Chios airport. I had four hours of sleep at a small apartment in Athens. The Chios airport only had space for about 10 people to grab their bags on the tiny conveyor belt. My bag came to me in about 30 seconds and I waited outside with two gap year students from Norway. They would be working inside the refugee camp. They were bringing large plastic bags packed with warm winter clothes. I suddenly experienced a pang of jealousy. I wanted to bring someone warm clothes. I didn't want to sing stupid songs and play games with kids who aren't interested in what words were coming out of my mouth anyway. I wasn't sure what I could possibly contribute, but there I was, killing time before going back to China. Hoping to maybe do something good for a minute.
Jakob drove me to the apartment and I met Olive, a 50-60 ish year old American woman who warmly welcomed me to sleep on her top bunk. I also met Ben, an arrogant gap year student from Luxembourg, who would instantly get on my nerves.
A few hours later Jakob was showing me around town, giving me a tour of the various buildings that house the high school, youth centre, and my place of work, the primary school.
The basement of the school was a complete mess, with supplies and donated goods strewn around in piles and labelled boxes. There's no end in sight. Upstairs was a little more sane. My classroom is "orange" and the theme is "jungle". Other themes of the rooms are "snow", "ocean", "desert" etc.
Soon our students arrive from the refugee camp. The three boys are instantly out of control, throwing cups and toppling chairs when anything doesn't go their way. They do an art project, that they quickly rip up when they make small mistakes while decorating. The violence that they exhibit is shocking, although Jakob says it's a good thing, because it shows they are comfortable enough at the school to show their emotions at all. I am skeptical about this theory. The girls are little angels. Does that mean they're not comfortable at the school? I don't think so. Something is wrong with the culture they come from. Boys are given free reign to smash and destroy anything, but girls are confined and controlled every second of their lives. It's an unspoken truth. We all know it but no one ever mentions it.
We fed them two small meals and they went home on the bus to my relief. After that nightmare of an afternoon, I was exhausted and ready for bed.
But oh no, there was a meeting that I simply had to attend. They brought snacks of panettone and salmon/cream cheese with beer. OK fine.
The one time I did pipe up in what I thought was a brainstorming session, Ben belted out a belly laugh and humiliated me in front of the whole group. I didn't react, just decided that he was a piece of human garbage and quickly found an excuse to go home early to bed. I decided I wouldn't be participating in any other meetings this month. If that's how you treat someone who has the beginning of a tentative idea, forget it. You're on your own Ben.
I flopped into bed but there was a light shining right into my eyes from the next room. No one was in there so I turned it off myself, but it only stayed off for about two minutes... eventually I fell asleep, nothing would keep me up at that point anymore.

Posted by baixing 10:53 Archived in Greece

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