It's currently 9:10 PM here in Mithymna on the Greek island of Lesbos. Our group just enjoyed a beautiful three-course meal provided to us by the wonderful staff at the Hotel Orfeas. It's been a very relaxing evening, but the last 48 hours have been a fast, furious, tiring, exciting, invigorating, and any variety of other relevant adjectives.
At 6:30 this morning (Sunday, June 19th), our ferry pulled in to the port of Mylitini, the capital city of the island of Lesbos. Over 40 hours, two airplanes, a bus, a taxi, and a big ferry later, we finally stepped foot on the island that we will be serving on for the next week. We arrived shortly after sunrise and were lucky to be greeted with an incredibly beautiful day on the island.
Once we arrived in town, we got some great lunch and received an orientation on the nature of our work on the island. We can now confirm that we will be working in a refugee camp with direct contact to refugees. It was a wonderful thing for us all to hear. We will be working in a large refugee camp just outside of Mytilini, known as the Moria Refugee Camp. This camp is currently home to thousands of displaced refugees from the Far East, Africa, the Middle East, and even the Caribbean. However, of the thousands of refugees in the camp, 55% are Syrians who have fled from the brutal civil war that has been going on for over 5 years. Many of these came in the rafts and dinghies across the sea from Turkey. In fact, our orientation started late this morning because a new raft from Turkey had just arrived on shore with over 50 refugees aboard. They are still coming, however it is now happening at a much slower rate than in previous months. I will be able to update you more in the coming days as to what exactly the refugee camp is like.
"This blog is not an official U.S. Department of State blog. The views and information presented are the grantee's own and do not represent the Teachers for Global Classrooms Program, IREX, or the U.S. Department of State."
Stephen Blan teaches US History at Fort Worth Country Day in Fort Worth, TX and is a 2015 Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow.