Outreach Stories - Greece 2014

A testimony by Viktoria Elke. A story of Greece, 2014. 

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The second half of my outreach we served in Athens.

Tired from traveling and the heat of summer, I tried to get some rest in a room with ten other girls on the third floor of a building that was surrounded by brothels. It was nagging on my heart, and I felt sick to my stomach thinking of all the injustice right around me. But something beautiful was in the making amidst all the hopelessness we found there. Our schedule was packed with teaching German, English, and Swedish to the refugees who were stuck in Greece. They lived so broken yet strong, coming from burnt down, bombed out places they once called home.

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One of them was Norieh. Her dream was to live and study in Germany, and together with her brother, be reunited with other relatives that had already escaped the violence and war of their home countries. As she shared her story, I felt compassion for refugees. A determination grew inside of me to teach her as much as I could, so that her new life would eventually become reality. For a few weeks we laughed, ate and talked about culture differences and religion. One night she made us traditional Afghani dinner, the next day we spent the day out playing soccer together. At the end of outreach, it was hard to leave the people we spent a lot of time with. A life so unjust and a future so uncertain. Refugees that once were numbers to me turned into people I knew, cried and laughed with. If that was all those weeks taught me, it was more than worth it.

Only a few months later, I got a message from Norieh that she and her brother indeed made it to Germany. They were now living just about an hour away from where my family is from. And stronger than ever, they had started to rebuild their lives in a foreign country, with the help of a little bit of German I got to teach them. And who knows? That experience in Greece might have taught me more than what they learned from me.