As usual, it's been a while since my last update. I've been waiting for the right moment to talk about some exciting news but who knows when that right moment will ever be.
I am writing from inside the gates of Moria. Pictures are forbidden so I implore your imagination to design a small town made of aid-tents and container-sized buildings with metal bars clinging to every window. The hedges in this town have been replaced by three meter tall barbed fences. A spotlight, a loudspeaker and a security camera are fixed on the corner-post of a small basketball court surrounded by razor-wire and sweltering unused in 40-degree heat. Camping tents line the sun-stroked entrance to a mound of utter desolation where the camp's inhabitants have now been waiting nearly 5 months for a chance to plead their cases before tribunals which have been recently re-staffed according to a new Greek law which all but precludes the possibility of acceptance.
I am here to present a project to a group of community leaders from each nationality in the camp who meet every week to discuss collaborative approaches to camp problems. I tell them about Mosaik support centre in 20-second intervals followed by slightly longer pauses where the room fills with murmurs as my speech is translated into a dozen languages. Mosaik stands as an affront to the retrograde hostility which has been meted out so ruthlessly over the course of my 5-month stint on the island. It is the collaborative brainchild of a handful of volunteers who embody the welcoming spirit this island represented before the mass detentions made it incredibly difficult to deliver this type of blind hospitality in good conscience. We serve migrants and locals alike in the centre of Mytilini, offering language training, legal support, art workshops, and music lessons in a beautifully restored manor whose 25 square meter stone mosaic sits under the shade of orange trees flanked by cafe tables and flowers. In the first 2 1/2 weeks of operation over 250 people signed up for courses which offer respite from the banality of camp life and an opportunity to take part in activities tailored to integration in Greek society.