Hey there Everyone!
Yep…it is that time again. Twice in one year!!! I feel absolutely lucky to be able to go overseas not once, but twice this year. As most of you well know traveling is one of my biggest passions, so to be able to do this twice in 2019 is truly super exciting for me.
This trip is not like most of my others. It is a volunteer trip where I will be working in a refugee camp. The plight of refugees really tugs at my heart and over the last few years I have been researching and reading more about it. I know that being amidst heartbreak and struggle will be extremely challenging but I also feel like it will be rewarding in ways I won’t even know until I am there. The human spirit is incredibly resilient and I feel like those of us in the west need to take a few notes on how to be grateful for what we have and realize that the little things we seem to think are stressful are truly only bumps in the road that can make us stronger. (So that means I need to take my own advise and stop complaining that I missed the last half hour of Bachelor in Paradise, right?)
Tomorrow I will be heading to Chalkida, Greece and working with an organization called Cross Cultural Solutions. I volunteered with them in Tanzania about 10 years ago and my experience with them was amazing. When I saw that they had a placement in a refugee camp I knew that this was meant to be. I will be there for only two weeks and although it is not a lot of time I hope that I can help in some small way.
Originally I had planned on going alone but as luck would have it, my friend from the UK that I met in Brazil this year decided that she would join me too. Her name is Sally but I call her Lucy. Why? Ummmmm, no particular reason except that she looks more like a Lucy to me than a Sally. I am so excited that I get to see her again. She is an amazing person and I know it will make my time in Greece so much more memorable with her by my side!
I have to admit that this week I have had somewhat mixed emotions about this trip. Until yesterday I really had no idea where we would be staying. Originally when I signed up I was told that we would be staying in a local hotel in town and be driven to the camp each day. About a month ago however we were notified that instead of the hotel we would be staying in a house a little out of the town centre. I was a bit disappointed because a big bonus was that the hotel was near the ocean. On Sunday the Facebook page for this particular placement blew up as one of the past volunteers complained that the Home Base was unfit to live in. She posted photos of a staircase without a railing, broken electrical outlets and doors without locks. She said she left after 5 days and was taking this organization to court. Obviously this was a little unnerving as I was leaving in less than a week. For the last few days I have been trying to negotiate where I will be staying and figuring out if this company is even reputable anymore. In the end it looks like we will be staying in an apartment in town (but not as close to the ocean as before) with 5 people. It may not sound as comfortable as a hotel as we will be sleeping on bunk beds and sharing a washroom but I am pretty confident that it will be ok. I mean if worst came to worst at least I would have a good story to tell you about right?!!!!!
Anyway, I really don’t know what to expect but I can’t wait to experience this trip and share it all with you. If you get a chance you should watch the Netflix documentary Born in Syria.This is a documentary that is told from the perspective of children as they flee the violence in Syria and try to find a safe place to live.