I just finished my volunteer-ship for CHEERing in Greece where I spent time in several refugee camps and a women’s shelter in Athens. What a privilege it was for me to work with the wonderful staff and volunteers- all who had a lot of passion and heart. And I learned so much from the refugees who demonstrated such courage, patience, resilience, and determination.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for me. During my second week in Athens I was walking to Jumbo, a discount store, when my foot caught on a rope that seemed to grow out of the sidewalk in a loop. I fell hard, breaking my wrist in the process, and had to spent several hours in the KAT hospital emergency room. No money exchanged hands, and interestingly, the only questions they ever asked me were my name and my father’s name. About a week later, I went to a different hospital (Evanelismos) to get a second x-ray and was told that I would be charged for this visit. As I am from the U.S., I prepared myself for the worst only to be shocked when I was presented with a bill for only €4.20 (about $5.00)! Thank goodness for national healthcare in Greece.
In spite of my broken wrist, cast, and sling, I did my best and was so grateful I could stay and work in the camps as this was an experience I will never forget.