Friday, August 22, 2008
On Tuesday Brett took us to visit where he spends a good portion of his days, at Helping Hands’ Athens Refugee Center (The ARC). It was Tea Day at the ARC, which meant that about 40 gallons of hot tea was handed out to hundreds of refugees, to enjoy while watching videos, having fellowship, and taking language lessons. There are many refugees that stop and/or stay here in Athens. Right now, most are coming in from Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, but many other countries as well (we also had conversations with men from Pakistan, Morocco, Somalia, and Rwanda, to name a few). At any given time, there are several conversations through the room, in Arabic, Farsi, Greek, English, and other languages. Most have come across the Mediterranean to flee their countries due to war, the perils of poverty, or their governments exiling them. Many wish to make this just an entry point in their journey to another European city, but often find it hard to get or stay anywhere else. At The ARC they can find meals, clothes, showers, language training, and other general assistance for starting a life in Athens. Furthermore, Helping Hands offers several other facets to its ministry. For more on this, probably explained more sufficiently, we’ll direct you to Brett and Kristin’s website for an overview and links to related stuff. We were greatly encouraged to see this ministry in action, even if only for a day.