Their homes are taken, their future not!

Yes, my dear friends you guessed it right, another Erasmus+ program for me! This time I traveled to the island of Chios, Greece for a program developed by the Greek NGO ‘Horizons for Youth’.  Participating countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Lithuania,  Spain and Turkey.

“Their homes are taken, their futures not” was the title of the program and its subject matter was about the refugee crisis. The Greek islands in the eastern Aegean Sea are a station for refugees and migrants wanting to reach the rest of the continental Europe. Chios was a perfect place to observe and discuss the situation.

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Καλώς Ήρθατε στη Χίο! = Welcome to Chios island!

We discussed the conditions in each of our respective countries and the history of refugees in our countries. The legalities of obtaining a refugee status. How the laws restrict these people from wanting to reach one country and flee the other. The combination of the economic crisis and the refugee crisis and how that affects the local economies and tourism. The European agreements about refugees. The Christian vs Muslim issue. And so many more subjects as they arose as days went by…

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On the island we met both sites. Refugees traveling through the war zones of Syria, rough terrain, and wild seas to get to safety. Refugees or rather migrants (from Algeria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) travelling through terrible conditions and giving all their life’s savings to smugglers in order to get to Europe and to a better life. Last but not least we met the islanders, Chios’ original residents. All living together on an island filled with conflicted feelings!

Understanding, fear, resentment, empathy, anger, compassion, sympathy, bitterness, consideration, annoyance, appreciation, irritation, displeasure, relief, love and hate…

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Souda Camp: Refugees in waiting for their asylum petitions to be investigated by authorities and the Court are in a status of stasis from 1 month to 1 year… Not being allowed to work (the conditions after Greece’s economic crisis don’t support that either for residents nor refugees), they stay all day in the camp or wonder around the city streets, sitting in the parks… Some don’t like to stay idle and they volunteer for the NGOs in the camps, they go fishing, they do sports…  Life in waiting is very hard!

We had the chance to visit the refugee camp at Souda, the smallest of the two on the island and also the unaccompanied children’s house. Moreover, we talked to the residents of the camp about their journeys and hardships, about their lives then and now and their future hopes.We also had the chance to meet with the managing NGO and the vice Mayor of Chios and discuss with them. Additionally, according to the project’s activities we had to talk to locals and interview them about the situation on the island, the problems they face, their fears and hopes and also the ways they face the future.

But in these youth exchange projects we also need to get to know each other. So we organized cultural nights with food and drinks from our respective countries. We chatted with each other during lunches and coffee brakes and partied together all through the nights… And lastly we had some free time to visit the beauties of the Island of Mastiha, the incredible Chios!!

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Now, back at home my thoughts and feelings are in a chaotic status… Glad to be back with my own people, sad to have left behind all the new and wonderful friends, hopeful that the refugee crisis will resolve, sad about the condition of the human spirit…

As humans we find it difficult to accept the unknown, the strange, the different… even if we have been in the same condition in the past… even if at heart we really want to help, after some time has passed it is easy to get used to the bad things around us, adapt and start complaining! This is the human condition and it has been such since the beginning and it will continue to be exactly the same in the future. Let us just hope that the examples that confirm this condition will be more and more over time… that people who don’t look each other as colour, as religion, as place of birth, as economic status will become in time the majority…

I hope that HUMANITY will prevail the Human Condition!

Untill the next time

Be good to one another

M.

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Ανάρρωση!! / Recovering from virus!!

English text follows

Μετά από δύο βδομάδες περιορισμού και ανάρρωσης από ένα ιό γαστρεντερίτιδας αποφάσισα να επιστρέψω με ότι μου κρατούσε συντροφιά και μου έφτιαχνε τι διάθεση τις τελευταίες μέρες.

Όλοι γνωρίζουμε για τις εκλογές που έρχονται στις ΗΠΑ και τη μάχη μεταξύ Χίλαρι Κλίντον και Ντόναλντ Τραμπ.  Πέραν από τη διασκέδαση του αναμεταξύ τους αγώνα και των παρατρεχάμενων τους έχουν δώσει και τροφή στην καλλιτεχνική κοινότητα. Αυτή που μου τράβηξε λοιπόν την προσοχή αυτές τις μέρες ήταν η Donna Greenberg.  Αποφάσισε από τη σελίδα της στο facebook να προτείνει για 18 μέρες μέχρι τη μέρα των εκλογών στιλιστικές προτάσεις με τίτλο ‘Styling Hillary in Polymer’ και να συνδυάζει με τα συνήθως μονόχρωμα κοστούμια της υποψήφιας, με δικές της δημιουργίες από πολυμερή πηλό.

Μια υπέροχη ιδέα να συνδυάσει ένα θέμα που βρίσκεται στην επικαιρότητα, με τις πολιτικές τις επιλογές αλλά κυρίως με την παρουσίαση των δικών της δημιουργιών. Αυτό επανέφερε στην μνήμη μας παλιά της κομμάτια και δημιούργησε κίνηση στη σελίδα της αφού μάζεψε σωρεία από likes και σχόλια.  Απολαύστε πιο κάτω κάποιες από τις προτάσεις της Donna σε φωτογραφίες παρμένες από τη σελίδα της στο facebook μαζί με  τα σχόλια της.

Μέχρι νεωτέρας λοιπόν, να ‘στε καλοί με τον κόσμο!

Μ.

 

Well after consideration I decided that if I am going to write this blog I am going to have to write in English as well.

My latest post was about sharing what kept me company during two weeks of recovery from a gastroenteritis virus that manager to send me to the ER, twice!

I never used to follow the US elections, but this year has provided the world with very interesting campaigns. Both hilarious and frightening I might add.

So all this days I spend at home Donna Greenberg‘s “Styling of Hillary in Polymer” has been the highlight of my days. She came up with the idea of styling her favorite candidate with her own creations. Hillary is known for her monochrome power suits and a little oomph is just what she needs!

I found this to be a great marketing idea! Both in promoting her favorite candidate in a way her campaign managers never thought of and also in reminding us of her own beautiful work!

She started 18 days before the elections and today at day 9 she has already cooked up 10 different styles. Here are some snapshots from her page on facebook along with her own comments!

Till the next time, and in the words of my favorite Ellen, be good to one another!

M.
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