We have been back in Switzerland for a couple of days now. It is surreal being here and looking back. We had the chance to make some beautiful experiences we are never going to forget. We met people that became very good friends of ours. We have learnt a lot during these couple of days, and it is hard to explain it to someone who has not experienced something similar.
We have learnt something that seems so small but is so profound, still.
Borders are not something naturally existing. They are made by humans, by us, by our mistrust and our ignorance.
The refugees did not understand us, but whenever we smiled, they smiled back and the other way around. With a single smile we were able to tell each other more than words ever could and it was worth so much.
The refugees of Elliniko II still had hope. The children were laughing and playing and it seemed as if they had almost nothing to worry about. It was beautiful to see that the children still were children after all.
Another thing we have learnt is that helping others helps you. Konstantinos lost his job a few years ago but he built up a network of social kitchens and solidarity. We have not seen many people as happy and selfless as him. The Greek people are vigorous and helpful. It was amazing to see how much solidarity they had towards the refugees and people not doing well despite the problems the Greek people face themselves.
Next to the wonderful meetings with the refugee kids in Elliniko II we also experienced a more hopeless situation. The camp in Piraeus was quiet and desolated. The children were still laughing and the adults always greeted us friendly. But behind their smile there was more sorrow and it seemed like they knew. The tourist season is coming and Athens needs to clean up the refugee camps. It is understandable that Greece needs the money since they are not doing well either. But what is supposed to happen with the refugees? We felt like nobody really knew what was going to happen next and nobody wanted to talk about it either. It seems like the refugees are just pushed around from one camp to the other, from one despairing situation into another.
We are thankful for these couple of days, it opened up our eyes and we see some things differently now. We realized how valuable a smile is to somebody feeling rejected from everybody and we now know that borders do not exist if you do not create them. It is difficult to explain how we feel. We have seen thins that we are not able to describe to anybody or things that are too valuable to put into words. But we are going to find a way to help those people, a way we can contribute something. We might not be able to tell you all how we have changed but we hope we can Show it to you through our persistence and our actions in this world.
The most important thing we took home from this journey is:
The people we met come from another country and speak a different language; they believe in a different god and face the East while praying; they have a different sense of humor and their women do not show their hair publicly. Still they are not so different than us. They want to live in a safe haven; they want to live happily and in peace and they like to be with their loved ones and laugh, just as we do.
It is not us or them because in the end we are all humans.
We hope we are not going to create any borders in the future but will overcome them.