In Greece, we are involved in many ways, mostly teaching and doing different uplifting activities with all age groups. This is very fulfilling, but not always something you can leave seeing the immediate difference made each day. However, we are reassured in our service because of the joy we see and the small improvements in language or skills from the residents of the camps. Recently we have had the opportunity to get involved in another location (Kara Tepe) doing something more physically measurable--laundry for the women!
Kara Tepe is a special place. It is referred to as a village and definitely is a community of lovely people. All of the residents first lived in Moria Camp before being transfered to the family camp, Kara Tepe. Refugees do not choose where or when they get tranfered, and Kara Tepe is a mixed nationality camp a few miles away from Moria of aproximately 1,300 people. Kara Tepe management emphasizes serving humanity and restoring dignity. They provide normalcy to residents' lives and treat everyone equally, no matter where they're from.
The laundry room is one of the resources to help meet their mission. "We aren't there to do laundry, we are there to give people back their dignity" is often said by managment. Although what we do may be measurable by loads of laundry washed and number of women served, there is still so much that we give that we won't see the immediate results of. The goal of the laundry project is to empower women, give families the chance for cleaner clothing, better health, dignity, and freeing up time. In between washes we do unofficial children's activities and little English lessons.
Just like any service leads to love for others, I have developed a greater love for the women of all ages who are currently refugees in Greece. I have been able to get to know them and see the strength and courage each of them has. It's also a blessing because some of the families from Moria Camp that we knew are now living at Kara Tepe. This allows our friendships to continue. Serving as a part of the Kara Tepe community has been a privilege.
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