Nov. 20 – Swept back

This is my last trip to Greece for 2016, so it is only fitting that I was swept back by a smell to what first brought me here – the port of Piraeus and the thousands stranded there as the last border closed. It’s the smell of people, of humanness. It’s the smell of unwashed bodies, sticky fingers, laughing children eagerly pressing up against you for “a selfie friend” and somber parents sharing their stories – a reminder that while it’s designed as such, a refugee camp is not transient. These families will be here for awhile. Years perhaps. It’s gut wrenching, yet incredibly inspiring. After our field trip and few stops to deliver aid to individuals at the camp, we ate dinner at the refugee-run camp falafel stand (one of three). We danced and shared hookah, laughed a lot and told stories in broken English, (my) terrible Arabic and a little Greek thrown in for fun. Our work is aid, but our why is this. Raw, human connection – the thread that unites us all and compels us to help. I fell into bed exhausted, grateful and inspired. Bring on tomorrow. — Natalie

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