The following is another of the stories I collected while working in refugee camps in Greece. These are true stories of real people, people who are now my friends. I share their stories in an effort to shed light on the situation...
I notice that with each day, Tiago* is looking more and more down-trodden. Each day I give him a hug and try to have cheery conversation during his infrequent breaks from the work. But each day it is more and more difficult to see happiness in him.
“How are you today, Friend?”, I ask.
“Fine. Well, actually not. Do you really want to know?”, he says, looking at me with eyes that are about to burst with sadness today.
“Yes, really. I really want to know. Tell me. How are you?”
“I am bad. Very bad. My health is not good. This work is very hard. Psychologically, I’m a mess.” He takes a couple of deep breaths to try to keep himself composed.
“I’ve been here for 3 months. It’s too long. Too much. Everything I see and hear and know – it’s all too much.” He can no longer look at me to speak. To look at me would surely start his tears, so he looks away, he looks down, he looks past me. But he can’t look into my eyes.
When he finally regains his breathing and his voice, he says, “But I can’t stop. I can’t stop as long as they are here (gesturing to the refugees behind me). Someone has to care for them. Someone has to cook.”
And with that, he stands up and goes back to the kitchen. Back to prepare another 1000 meals for the next round of feeding.
(*Tiago's name has been changed for security reasons)
Who am I? In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a Southern Living / Martha Stewart wannabe, a soccer mom, and a short term mission team coordinator / intern director for missions in Mexico... you name it, I probably tried it!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! We have three incredible children... two adult boys who live in Texas, and the Sarah (14) lives with us in whatever country we are serving. I'm still teaching, still taking photos, still leading teams and mentoring, I just do it all in full-time service now! And I'm working hard at giving Southern Living and Martha Stewart a run for their money! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers and immigrant peoples, writing, and trying to figure out what life looks like for a Texas girl serving Christ in Southern Europe. Life in His service is AWESOME! I'm happy to share it with you here... Enjoy!