i58 Greece

Panagiouda

Lesvos, Greece

Where we Live

The town of Panagiouda is a small town within a few miles of camp,        where we are blessed to have apartments, as well as a community house to have meals and gather together. Those who come to serve with us will have the opportunity to explore the town and interact with the locals in the community. 

Life through the Eyes of Panagiouda

Panagiouda is a quaint little town located in Mytilene on the island of Lesvos, Greece.  

It’s not at all how I imagined it when I first arrived. It was prettier! So many gorgeous hues of blues and greens in the waters that surround the island, cobblestone streets, water-side restaurants and cafes (and coffee shops). 

One of my favorite pastimes while there, was grabbing a bicycle and a friend and going for a ride through the narrow streets of Panagiouda to the palm grove or even further to an unbuilt house by the edge of the water. It looked like there was still so much potential for that building.  I can see how Panagiouda was and is a tourist attraction. But with the vast amount of refugees coming in and taking over the island, tourism has decreased quite a bit. Coming back to Panagiouda after a shift at camp was a breath of fresh air. literally. 

Camp is about 5 miles away so the ride was not that long, but the differences in the places was breathtaking. I guess this is why a fair amount of refugees walk those miles to just get away and breathe in the fresh waters and reminisce over the past months and what they’ve been through. We would often see them sitting on the rocks in groups or swimming in the water. I like to think that they’re dreaming of a new life, a safer life. A place where the children see no more violence and do not live in fear. 

Panagiouda is a town full of stories just waiting to be told….

 

Coming to Greece and working with the refugees is an experience I will never forget, and I've learned so many things. Probably one of the biggest things I have learned is to be faithful in the little things. Sometime the smallest acts of kindness can make the biggest difference in a person's life.
As Scott Adams puts it: "Remember there's no
such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.

L. Herschberger

In short, the time I spent in Greece was great. At times it was very frustrating, difficult, stressful, and just plain hard, but I think that’s a big reason why it was great and why it was so good for me to be there. Most of the time I worked on housing, which can be quite the task, but it was a great opportunity to work very closely with the refugees and learn so much about patience, sympathy, communication, negotiation, etc. I also got to work with a lot of really great volunteers from all over the world every day, which is such a cool aspect of working in camp, and is definitely one of my favorite things about being there. I am so thankful for all the people I met and the memories that were made, and I hope to make it back again someday soon.

R. Miller

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