Packed

What a special few days I have had! The week was chockful of stress, but from Friday afternoon onwards, when the group from Veen arrived, things became a lot more pleasant and easy for me. I am so grateful to Monique van Hulst of “Let’s meet in Athens” for her logistic contribution to the mega project. Let me just advertise www.meetinathens.eu. The entire week was filled with planning the distribution of 28 pallets/ more than 16.000 kgs of emergency goods. These had to go to 5 different locations in and around Athens. We received: clothing, beans, buggies, baby formula, food packages, backpacks filled with school necessities, backpacks filled with underwear, jogging suits, socks and toiletries for the homeless, children’s jeans and sleeping bags. I can tell you: it was a huge endeavor. We started on Wednesday. Everything had to be done with trucks of various sizes, because large trucks cannot park in the narrow streets in the center of Athens. A lot of lugging was involved. And the Greek transport company was not the easiest one to collaborate with… That was, shall we say, an extra challenge. Finally, on Thursday afternoon the last pallets were loaded onto the truck and most goods had been delivered to the right place. What a relief! On Friday afternoon the group from Veen landed at the airport. Fortunately we were able to lend a large car from Sahar and Arno, so that we could transport more easily both stuff and ourselves. Frank thinks it is great to drive in the city. He tears through the streets in an ancient Opel Zafira like a real Greek. He is from Veen, those people are allowed to drive anywhere, as we all well know. 😊 A great convenience. Quite a few things had to be moved to another place in order to be able to execute all missions at the right moment and the right location. Everything went well. I thank God, really for everything and especially for the outcome; from Friday afternoon onwards I had it much easier. The young people are great! Yesterday in Connect where they installed all the stuff they brought with them. It looked really nice. We had over 40 guests. It was a truly gilded day. The group was split in two. Half of them went cycling (with Monique) and the other half was with me. Halfway through the day they changed places. The youngsters met people from: Iraq, Syria, the Gaza strip, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo, Morocco and Greece. Many thanks too to Minna (Finland) and Madeline (Sweden), who came to help me. After we finished, auxiliary troops helped me to make sandwiches for our breakfast service on Sunday morning. In the evening we went for dinner in a very lovely little restaurant in the center of Athens, invited by Frank, as a thank you (a very big one…, thank you Frank, we had a really nice dinner) for all the work.

This morning the boys from the group were at my place at 7 o’ clock. In order to serve as pack mules for the sandwiches and the tea. From there we went to Connect, where they picked up the backpacks and sleeping bags. Packed up and ready we went to Syntagma square, the starting point of our walk. We distributed stuff to more than 30 people, a few of them we had to wake up. Usually I just let them sleep, but since we had such nice presents with us, I thought they might open their eyes a little earlier. They had to recover from the sight of so many blue shirts all around them. Although the young people kept at a distance, it was still a little overwhelming. When they saw what we brought them, they soon felt better. As always my Ukrainian friend Orestia was present to have a nice little talk with.

Then we went to church. A warm welcome there for us all. We sang, a really beautiful choir. The pianist accompanied us, for the hymns were chosen from the psalm book of our church. Anne Timmermans (Frank’s daughter) talked about how the project was realized. She did that very well, bravo! The pastor held a glowing sermon concerning our mission and of course after church there was coffee with cake and cheese pies, offered by our unsurpassed Vicky. Tonight we are going to distribute goods in Piraeus harbor.

Have a lovely week!

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