“This could never happen to me, this is something that happens to the others…” How many times haven’t we heard, said or thought something similar? But, who are these “others” that we refer to? How different was the course of their life compared to someone’s from your close social circle?
CK… is a Greek national and until a few years ago, she worked in a number of private schools in Thessaloniki, as a Literature teacher. After a number of challenges she encountered with the governing body of teacher accreditation and employment, X, a (city of) Kavala native, ended up unemployed and “lives” In Athens. “Lives”, is a slight exaggeration … Although it took her a while to admit it, her “home” is the summer pavilion at a central park of Athens.
CK … is single and has no children. She has a sister though, who lives in a provincial town and whom she contacts frequently. CK… is friendly, very talkative and has strong political views. She often talks about various social issues. Her constant attempts to maintain a sense of dignity and normality in her life are truly admirable. Until recently, she wasn’t even admitting nor revealing the fact that she was homeless, to the point of reassuring us that she has a home and sharing with us her address details. She is always very well presented, although it is evident that she is very tired and somehow exhausted.
Few weeks ago, and without any discussion or pressure from our side, CK… started making requests for assistance asking mainly for clothes and books.
Along with CK… we meet AP..., her “roommate” in the summer gazebo. AP…, was a cook for many years in ships and hotels. As soon as the crisis hit and due to the fact that he didn’t have a degree, he was one of the first ones affected and ended up unemployed and homeless. AP… is always polite and positive towards us, despite being introvert nature and very shy. For quite some time, he also did not open up, but lately he seems to feel more comfortable revealing his thoughts and agonies to us. Although he was originally reluctant to make any requests, he is asking, from time to time, clothes and stationery, as he enjoys writing.
It is a true blessing for us to be able, through our weekly visits in the area, to offer support and compassion to these people, always handed out with respect and dignity.