And another week has passed. I have now settled in my hotel in Piraeus. A nice place where I booked for another week. The last week of my stay I will go to Minna. She lives around the corner. We enjoy each other’s company a lot. Went to Athens this week with a form from her organization. And I hadn’t been checked by the way. There was an incident last weekend where the police took too much action against a man who was not wearing his mask. That has caused a lot of controversy. Now the police are keeping a little aloof, I think. We have again distributed baby milk and other things to about 20 families. Those who live in a camp far away had also dared to come. I am glad it worked out again. Zaynab, my Lebanese translator and Hadi for the Farsi speakers prepared everything very well. When I’m gone and I manage to send even more milk, they can do very well without me. That’s a nice idea.

This morning we went back to the harbour. With sandwiches, cakes baked by Geertje, and tea. We were with a whole team. Besides Minna, Geertje and I, we had Willeke, a Dutch volunteer who works on Lesvos. She is here for a week to take a vacation. So, she can just travel here. Strange with those rules. She came by bicycle, if that is not Dutch. We also had Facundo, an Argentinian boy, whom I knew from my hostel week. We started talking there and he was eager to come along. Always nice when young people are interested in this work, so I thought it was fine. He is a traveller, who has already been everywhere, also in NL. A nice guy. Convinced yoga practitioner with all the trimmings. Loves what we do. You always meet special people. We had an extensive tour this morning with about 45 people. We saw all kinds of ‘old’ acquaintances. We also found Christine again. A woman from an African country. She’s been there for weeks. She wants to take a ship to Italy. There she has a daughter. But I don’t think she has any papers. She got sick and it went really bad this morning. Fortunately, the ‘neighbours’ in the harbour did look after her. They had called the ambulance and her “neighbour” would come along. He later called that the ambulance had taken her and that they were examining her. We don’t know yet if she was actually hospitalized or if they sent her back out into the street. What a drama that is.

This week I also said goodbye to several people. That produced some tears here and there. Those I’ve known for so long feel a little bit abandoned. Aseb and her son, for example. She sees me a bit like her mother. Her real mother passed away not so long ago. I am a bit of her beacon in the sea. That is really difficult. And Solomon, my Eritrean friend… . He sent me another series of pictures of his son, which he has never seen. His next interview at the asylum service will be in 2023!!!!!

Tomorrow is “Clean Monday” here, the day on which a special unfermented bread is eaten; lagana. The clean house is reminiscent of the Jewish practice of removing all leaven before Easter. The Greeks will still eat fish tomorrow, but no more meat. Lent begins. Everyone wishes each other a good Lent ‘kali Sarakosti’, but not so many people do a real 40 days of fasting anymore. Easter here is full of customs and symbols. Although everything will be different this year from previous years, because of the pandemic. Today there were already kites. That’s one of the things being done on this special Monday: flying a kite. I hope to be back in NL on Easter. Today we already have the fifth Sunday of Passion. It is good to always reflect on the deep meaning of the suffering of Christ. That appealed to me in tonight’s sermon in Werkendam. In this time when we may live a little slower due to corona, we can focus more on that. Sometimes you have to make an effort. Do you also want to pray for all those people here who are suffering? Injustice, neglect, arbitrariness and so much more….

Have a good week!