On this first Sunday of January, I wish you all a very happy, healthy and blessed 2018.
I think it is okay to wish everyone a happy new year the whole month long.
The past week was a sort of vacation. Monday night I came back in Athens, after a few nice days in Agria. The rest of the week was quite calm. On Thursday we had only 2 customers for the clothes that we portion out. That was a disappointment, since we had enough. It will be quite a job to get rid of it. On the other hand, lots of people came to give back their completed form. A group of 30 mothers, including two with twins, gets for two months Formula Milk to feed their babies. They will be screened by another organization. The Salvation Army cooperates with this organization.
Amurtel is specialized in maternal and childcare. It is a whole process with many formalities, but we still have a lot of requests. More than we can handle.
For these mothers, a program will start soon, in which workshops will be given about good baby care and other relevant subjects. It was a bit strange that on Thursday, the day that everyone had to report themselves, lots of mothers did not show up. I am wondering what the apologies will be when they show up on Monday. If they do… Forgotten? Sick? We shall see. It is very important for them, because the milk powder is very expensive. Sometimes there are reasons you do not expect. A mother told me once that she cannot read. Therefore, it was very difficult for her to fulfill here appointments.
Our thinking is often so different, here in the west. The balance between taking responsibility and giving is sometimes hard to find.

The foodprojects of the churches did not start yet. Luckely, there is always some food available somewhere in the city.
With the best will of the world, you cannot die of starvation.
This week, I have visited one of the greatest dispensing places of the city: a building of the Municipality of Athens. Homeless people can go to this building for a sleeping place. Meals are served every day, twice a day, throughout the year and even in the weekends. In the afternoon, 500 meals are served. In the evening, 300 meals are served. Does that mean that everyone has enough? No, certainly not! There is a group of people that cannot claim anything. They have no papers so no place to sleep, they are no longer able to solve their own problems. Sometimes they have psychiatric problems. They still need help.
When you walk down the street in the evening, you will find this people. They wander the squares of the inner city. Attention is paid to this people, but still too less.

Furthermore, it was Foton this week. Festival of Light or Epiphany. This was on the 6th of January. In Piraeus, where the harbor is, a large cross was thrown into the sea. Then people jump into the sea and whoever catches that cross and lands first has a year of happiness. Well, at least that is the idea.
This well-known event is called ‘the blessing of the sea’. The Orthodox Church leads the ceremony.

This week I had some extra time to implement (one of) my good intentions for 2018: walk more and often. Not just from A to B for work, but just for myself. I heard today that there is a pedometer on the I-phone, which is a nice tool.

I wish you all a good week!