I’m sure everyone feels the same way about laundry. Watching the pile of clothing on your chair grow higher and higher throughout the week, this only adds to the feeling of resentment towards picking it all up and throwing it in the washing machine.
When you’re new, you don’t know what to expect. The thought of arriving in a new country to work with a volunteer organization for the first time can be overwhelming. Perhaps it will be difficult to get to know people, or to get started and know what to do. But somehow, at Samos Volunteers that never happens.
Dragging each foot, one by one, up the steep slope of the camp. It’s just early enough that the endless cement hasn’t fully absorbed the sun of a summer day in Greece. The straps of a well-worn Ikea bag dig into my shoulders as I drag piles of books, flashcards, and water up the hill.
Ramadan is a month of worship, tradition, love and family gatherings. I was accustomed to celebrating Ramadan with family where iftar, the meal at sunset, was a celebration, a huge feast. This year was different – I decided to spend half of Ramadan on Samos, volunteering with the refugee community here.
Two big brown eyes are staring up at me. Someone pulling my shirt from behind. I look around. Ten more pairs of big brown eyes are staring up at me. ‘My friend, my friend’ I hear. Little hands are held up in front of my nose.
My hair was shaggy to say the least. It was 3 months since my last hair cut and the growth rate was alarming. The thought was simple: reduce the need for my hat (which had developed a salty brine around the rim and had been observed to be problematically aromatic) and keep the hair out of my eyes during activities.
On Saturday afternoons, Alpha Center becomes the preserve of the women, for classes and get-togethers, so they can have their own time, more quiet and relaxed, without the main rooms being filled with checkers and chess players, and men deep in conversation.