Greece: inefficient but relaxed, broke yet friendly


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So far we have had a good but challenging time in hot and slow Greece. Not only are we trying to work in a refugee camp, we Dutchies are also trying to be efficient in a country where that’s not always possible.

Of course, we are not used to the heat. More importantly, things just work differently here. Appointments can be approximate, addresses non-existing, siestas irregular.

Finding a shop to get your scissors sharpened is an adventure into a labyrinth of Thessaloniki’s narrow streets and unreadable signs. A trip to the donation’s warehouse is a day journey full of insane road situations. To get our sewing machines fixed, we sit through a session of cold cappuccinos in the Singer store, because the sympathetic repairman systematically underestimates the time he needs to finish the job.

Even though everything goes twice as slow here, time moves twice as fast. And at the end of the day, we crash down on our beds exhausted, wondering to ourselves where the day went.

We learn to focus our efforts as we get to know the city and its people. And its people are absolutely as welcoming as they are kind. We hear stories about how bad the authorities are treating the refugees here. But so far we’ve only met the most hospitable people, dropping their tasks to help us with ours.

Right now we are living in Stavros’ sculpture garden and antiques shop. He’s fantastic, helping us out with all sorts of things. And he’s also said he’s keen to collaborate with us on a statue. Zeus only knows if it’s gonna happen…