If you were wondering if I’m alive, I am. I was very scared to leave London, I really did feel like it was the end of my life, hence the dramatic email. Then I arrived in Chios, and life continued on.
If you’re wondering, is it dangerous? It’s not. I’m more afraid of the Greek police than the Refugees. The refugees, or I’d rather call them our students, are kind, funny, and wonderful.
On Chios I’m known as Teacher Sammy. I live with 8 other teachers in a house in central Chios. Most of us are from the UK. :P. Our students at the Action for Education Youth Center better known as Yugi are people who have escaped atrocities and tragedy in their home countries, “mushkila” – ‘problem’ in Arabic.
Every day before our meal, we say thank you in all the languages that have passed through Yugi – Arabic, French, English, Somalia, Dutch, Farsi, Swahili. It’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced.
There have already been a number of highs and lows. On my first day, one of our students found out some devastating news from home and went into paralytic shock on the bus to Vial Refugee Camp. We had to call an ambulance. I ran around making jokes to make sure that the others had not been triggered, as many of them most likely suffer from PTSD. Making jokes is an exaggeration. As most of them don’t speak English, I just made weird noises and spoke in a very pleasant but sing-songy voice.
“Everyone, let’s be callmmmmm. Let’s all breaaatheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Heheh!”
As for a high, well – every day there is something magical. Yesterday, we went for a beautiful hike, made a swing out of rope, played jump rope, and threw rocks and the whole world felt like a beautiful dream. I learned Turkish for dangerous – telati –as the students kept running into the street. “Hey, that’s dangerousssssssss!’
And as for Janis – she is loving Greece! We have three students that we’ve been teaching ukulele to! They also are learning Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, after that Shania Twain – and then that’s all I’ve got. That 10 week course was totally worth it.
I’m currently researching each of the countries, and what political and environmental events have forced them to leave their countries. Man, as an American and a Brit – I’ve fucked up a lot of people’s lives.
I’m trying to figure out what can be done to help and support these people. According to the UNHCR there are 25.4 million refugees and 3.1 asylum seekers worldwide, and just over 100,000 have been processed. They are all just waiting, waiting in camps, waiting in hostels, waiting on the streets to start building a life again.
When I say waiting on the streets, I fucking mean it. The UNCHR just kicked out all the refugees they were housing Athens, and so now they are literally living on the streets. They cannot get jobs, and because of racism, prejudice, and policy – very few people will hire them, and thus they are struggling to become self-reliant. Every person I talk to says, “I want to work”; they also say, “I love America. I love Britain. Can I have one of your passports?”
I have two fucking passports, and because of that I am safe, I am educated, I am free.
I’m trying to figure out why we should help, what is already being done, and how can we help make their lives better. If you have any book suggestions, articles, or podcasts about Afghanistan, Egypt, Eritrea, Palestine, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Cameroon, I’d greatly appreciate it, as well as if you’ve volunteered at any organizations, as I’m trying to create an index.
PS. I really do wish you were here!
PSS. I’ve decided to title this ‘Bad Bitch Blovel’ (LOLS)- The Bad Bitch of History. I’ve written the introduction, “The World is Fucked”. hehehehehe