In the evenings these days, when I have the time, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly curious about things that are happening in the greater world beyond Leros. More nights than not this past week, I’ve fallen asleep to youtube videos and clips about Brexit, Nancy Pelosi, or the growing field of Democratic Candidates announcing their bid for the presidency of the United States. My brain almost instantly goes numb while listening to these topics; however, I’ve been feeling the need to stay informed for some reason, despite the small life I am living on this island. Politics matter here, too.
Today was, yet again, a Greek holiday and so the Hub was closed and I had the day to my disposal. I went for a hike with two of my local friends up a long winding dirt road that ends at the edge of the island at a lighthouse that overlooks the harbor. We sat out there for an hour or so in the shade and admired the shimmering sunshine on the perfect blue water of the Mediterranean. The sea is a nice reminder of how small we all are. My cheeks are a bit sun kissed now, a nice reminder of the encroaching summer months.
One of the residents (more importantly, one of my friends) recently moved out of the Hotspot and began renting his own flat just outside of town. He sent me this picture from his veranda to show me the view he has to enjoy everyday. He overlooks the entirety of the town and has a sea view along with a panoramic view of Leros’ mountains. Ironically, his home has a view so expansive that he can see the Hotspot where he used to live on the other side of the water, especially in the night hours when the lights are on in the camp. He can literally look down upon the place he dreaded living in for months. Fortunately, he says the tranquility of being outside of town is benefitting his mental state and the clear night skies are keeping him happy when the stars are out.
While setting out for today’s hike, I passed by the rare sight of the ferry in the harbor during the daylight hours (it normally arrives and departs at night). Due to weather, the ship was delayed the previous day, so I got the opportunity to snap this picture of it as it headed out to sea. Unfortunately, I found out too late that my friend was on this ship, being transferred to a prison on a different island. This is the same friend who I’ve written about in previous posts, one who I visited in Leros’ jail two times. Last week was the last time I was able to go and see him, I thought things were looking up for him, that he would be able to reapply for asylum and be allowed to stick around, but I heard the news this morning that he was taken away in handcuffs and has been transported to a different island. One of my fellow volunteers heard speculation that too many people were in support of him and trying to help him out that he ended up getting transferred to avoid him getting any assistance. This breaks my heart to think about, but it makes sense. There is no direct ferry from Leros to the island that they sent him to. I can’t go and visit him. He’s just gone.
And that’s the end of this long weekend. School resumes tomorrow and I will officially be graduating more than 20 of my students from the lowest level English class up to the next level. I’m excited to see how things go for them as they transition to this higher level. If things go well, I think it will be one of my more proud teacher moments since arriving on this island.