The Police Don’t Come Here

This week has been packed, to say the least. After an intense 24 hours in Chios, I’ve been transcribing interviews and writing scripts for what feels like forever. But in reality, we’ve been on a few excursions for the two days we’ve been back. On Tuesday, we went to a number of markets in Thessaloniki, which are really, really old. Like Byzantine old. 

My favorite was the indoor fabric market, which was constructed under a series of six brick domes. The bricks keep the heat in and provide a space to sit above the bustle of the market. I fell in love with it instantly and wished I could stay there to just watch the world go by.

Above the fray; 10:17 AM//Ellie Williams

But alas, I needed to go back to logging interviews. Suma, Olivia and I spent the rest of the day transcribing away, with a quick break for some leftovers and ice cream.

Today we woke up to a surprise: no running water. Apparently a pipe burst and our entire neighborhood was out of water. Bridget and I resorted to using makeup wipes to wash clean ourselves and some leftover bottled water to brush our teeth. But on the bright side, the bus strike is over! Although it seems the sanitation workers are still on strike, so the trash will continue piling up outside our building.

We hopped on the bus to head to Dendropotamos, an impoverished section of Thessaloniki, which it seems is the Romani quarter. Our guide, a priest named Father Athinagoras, showed us around the neighborhood and brought us by a local school. From listening to him, there is a fair amount of gang violence in Dendropotamos, which prompted the Father to say gravely, “The police don’t come here.”

The wall at the back of the playground serves to protect the children from seeing the violence while they’re at school. But of course, violence isn’t contained to a 9-5.//Ellie Williams 

I have a number of mixed feelings to sort out about this excursion, but I’m looking forward to seeing Luke and Hsiang Yu’s piece on the priest and his adopted son. Until then, I’ll just post these photos from around the neighborhood.

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