Hit the ground running on Monday. I had a one day overlap with the previous REAL volunteer and she wanted to show me everything that I need to know. I saw a few people that I knew last year, and met a lot of new people. One of my teaching positions will be at a women’s safe place in town. Young women and mothers are referred to this house if they are experiencing trauma or have greater need for a supportive environment during the day. Babies and toddlers up to age 2 are welcome. This house is a true refuge. Women may take showers, fix themselves a snack and make tea and coffee, relax, and learn English. I will provide lessons every day from 11:00 to 2:00. The seven week course starts next Monday. This house is only open during the day. Women must return to the camp nine kilometers out of town at night. Because of the crush of new arrivals, buses are overcrowded to the point that 500 people try to get on one bus. One incident had the driver beating people off the bus with a stick. This makes it very difficult for the women to reach town to come to the house at this time.
The other danger of leaving camp during the day is that one may miss an important appointment or even a transfer to the mainland. The authorities are trying to move people as fast as possible due to the overcrowded camp. To date there are 13,000 in a space made for 3,000.
Tomorrow another new REAL volunteer will arrive who will share my apartment. My sister Sally and I will pick her up at the airport and get her settled. I will find her a placement at an organization on the island, and help acclimate her to the life here.
In other news, the weather is balmy, the sea is calm. The people and volunteers of Lesvos are amazing. And I feel very much at home.