The activity of the fifth day of our training was to observe the situation of refugees in Athens. We agreed to find possible places where refugees might be. We faced some challenges as hot weather, Ramadan time, as Muslims usually stay at home till afternoon, and of course our own perceptions and expectations.
We tried to pass small streets to find somebody and maybe to start a conversation. In the central park Sara met a Syrian women with two children and talked to her about her day plans and status. Sara spoke with her Arabic, so she even got an invitation to join them for dinner at the Syrian women place. The mother of children was really happy and she enjoyed her time with children in a safe environment. Also her kids were wet because they played with water before, like Greek children that we saw previously on a playground. We met the family on their way back to the shelter, so after 15 minutes they left.
After we decided to continue on our Athens exploring mission and to visit the Red Cross organization to ask some questions about their refugee work. It could help us to clarify the picture of modern Athens situation. Unfortunately, we couldn’t talk to the Red cross workers, because they were busy with Lesvos-Athens project preparation. But they were ready to collaborate with System&G organisation for future training courses. Also it’s a good opportunity to connect our experience on Lesvos with Athens. We hope for this cooperation for our future projects.
Moreover, we were lucky to have in our team a local person to tell us more about the city and its history in the context of the refugee crisis. He told us about a new Mosque built by Athens’ municipality for refugees and a new café across the street, where migrants and refugees are welcome. We couldn’t visit them, but we saved the address for our future work.
At the end of the day we could say, It was a great chance for all of us to make a walk through Athens and to sensibilise our observing skills, to see the city with new colours and new perspective, to explore the city and know more about it and people, who live in it. Maybe we couldn’t get the full picture of the city, but you can’t do it in one day. It was great to discuss and share our experiences with other participants the next day and to reflect our personal feelings and impressions of the day.
By Marjan Tasos Kate and Sara