I’m taking a moment on my blog to mention two people who have impacted my time in Greece in a way that few others have.
Since my arrival on the ground in Leros in the middle of November, volunteers have come and gone, but two have stuck it out and been around for the entirety of my time on the ground. This past weekend, they left. Their departure was unexpected and fast, but I did get the chance to say goodbye, which I’m really grateful for.
In the last seven months, this amazing couple has revolutionized the way that we do things at the Hub. Under their leadership, we made so many strides in making the building and operations that we undergo each day better. In January, when we were hit with a record number of people interested in attending the school, their leadership helped keep the school running and, in time, made it possible for things to run so smoothly that we were able to operate normally, unaffected by the growing number of refugees on the island.
As the months wore on this winter and spring, the number of refugees attending classes and activities only continued to rise, but with a strong team of people and strong leadership, I never even noticed how busy we were, because I was rarely overwhelmed.
On Saturday, I received word that these two people would be leaving the project and moving on to something else. I was saddened by this, a bit shocked, and very worried, as I couldn’t comprehend what the Hub would look like without them. I went out to dinner with them on Saturday evening and then drove them to the port Sunday morning where they boarded the ferry to take them east. And that was that. Within less than 24 hours, my two consistent pillars throughout this whole experience were gone.
I truly loved working with them. They were imaginative, strong-willed, capable, tenacious, and so kind hearted. They came into this project and they whole-heartedly gave it their all. And, at the same time, they became my friends, and I really loved spending time with them outside of the work environment as well as while on the front lines of this refugee crisis.
“Friends come and go, like waves in the ocean. But a select few are like an octopus, stuck to your face.”
This post is to bid farewell to a great pair of people. Like everything else in life, things change, people go, but that’s no reason not to enjoy them while you have them around.
Having been gone for a week now, I realize that the Hub can operate without them. It isn’t the same, but things are still working. It’s a sobering reminder about how all of us are replaceable. This is not a bad thing though. I would much rather be replaceable in this environment than irreplaceable, being the only person capable of filling a role is just terrifying to think about.
Life really is a series of “hellos” and “goodbyes”.
And so it is.