This article has been written by our volunteer Ander Busto.

When I applied to the project, I didn’t know what I was going to find in Greece. It was my first project focused on refugee integration and empowerment in a small town. At the beginning, I thought I could get bored in that place. Very far from reality. After two days being there, I learned it is not about the place, it is about the people. I had the amazing opportunity to meet people from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds, working and living with volunteers from France, Germany, Italy, etc. 

Having the opportunity to talk with people living in the Nea Kavala camp and coming from countries like Somalia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, and Iran, among others. Not only I made good friends, but I learned more about the realities of refugee people. I learned some new languages I didn’t even know existed such as Farsi or Pastún, and I tried some amazing Greek food such as Buyurdi or Kefalotyri, or Afghan food such as Boulani. I learned what Nowruz is and the celebration of breaking the fast. I learned that your religion, your culture, or your background are secondary in the OCC community. 

There are some moments I will not forget, such as running a half marathon with people from North Macedonia in Katerini, playing in the park with the children, or going and returning back by bike to Nea Kavala camp on Sundays while talking with the people outside the camp. All the volunteers use to return back on the bikes on Sunday evenings, with the dog Longie and the big mountains with the sunset in the back. That was a magic moment for me. 

Thank you, Open Cultural Center, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the project as a volunteer during these two months. 

This project is funded by the European Union through Eramsus+.


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