Final Story Is Live!

VIDEO: The state of healthcare for refugee women and children

Video by Ellie Williams ·

ATHENS, Greece – Tucked between cafes at the edge of Platia Viktoria in Athens, the Amurtel Center for Refugee Women and Babies has been providing free prenatal and postnatal care for refugee and migrant women in its specialized center since October 2016. Its staff and patrons call it the calmest place in the entire city. But now, a lack of funding threatens the safe haven.

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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.  Continue reading “The Police Don’t Come Here”

Sic(k) Transit Gloria Mundi

Today marks the end of week two here in Thessaloniki, and it’s a full week that I’ve been in the country. It’s been a whirlwind and it won’t be slowing down any time soon. Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve done:

  • Walked to the Old City for some amazing views and cool street art on Saturday
  • Went to a Winery for a tour and a tasting; hit the beach afterwards. Had a bit of an existential crisis swimming in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday
  • Covered the anti-austerity rally and general strike on Wednesday
  • Finally am not jet-lagged on Friday

In transit news, the bus drivers are on strike. They haven’t been paid in quite some time so are off until further notice. It’s quite a hassle–less for me, since the cabs aren’t as expensive as the Boston, but more for the people we’re reporting on. Suma and I are working on a piece focused on a refugee center and the work they’re doing, but unfortunately because the buses aren’t running, the people who normally go to the center for language classes and psychological services can’t get there. The center’s coordinator told me today that normally they have over 100 people on a daily basis; with the strike, they’re seeing about half that number.

If the MBTA was on strike; Boston would be crippled. Life goes on in Thessaloniki though. Apparently the last major strike went on for two weeks. For the sake of those who use the center, and for our story, I’m hoping the strike ends soon.

Since we’ve been taking cabs everywhere, I have learned about Greek tragedy: the parking situation. The double-parking alone is horrific, but today I saw something even worse. These cars were just parked in the middle of the intersection. Color me incredulous.

 

On The Eve Of The Strike

Just got out of a meeting with tomorrow’s strike team. For those of you back home who may not realize how bad things are in Greece, let’s break it down in some quick numbers.

  • 23% of the country is still unemployed
  • 52% of young people can’t get a job
  • Greece’s poverty rate jumped 40% between 2008 and 2015

And that’s not even including the refugee crisis. Continue reading “On The Eve Of The Strike”

My Introduction to the Alexandrias Street Gang

Having lived in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood for two years, I came to be somewhat familiar with a small band of miscreants who loitered under a particular street lamp on Hillside Street, always outside the same little clapboard house with an overgrown iron gate. Walking by the house, one could watch them coming and going all day, but in the hours of about 2-4 a.m., once most of the drunk college kids had cleared off the street, these guys would start to congregate. On an average night, it would be a few familiar figures sitting directly under the light post or in the street, just hanging around. There was always one smaller outsider, progressively trying to get closer to the center until he was chased off by a more prominent fixture in the gang. Continue reading “My Introduction to the Alexandrias Street Gang”

Markets, Tiny Doors, & More

It’s only day 2 in Thessaloniki and somehow I feel like I’ve been here for longer. I popped out for breakfast with Brandon, Bridget, and Cody where we came across an open-air market, which I later returned to with Olivia and Paxtyn. More or less divided by blocks, the market began with clothing and quickly turned into fruits and fish. Personally, I love fish markets–it’s not every day in the U.S. that you can find whole uncleaned fish!

This afternoon, we went for a walking tour of the Old City and wound up traversing what I think was the same hill repeatedly in the search of ice cream. While we didn’t find any ice cream, we did see an incredible amount of street art and architecture that I fell in love with. Meanwhile, Cody was larger than a door.

Plus, I made sure to document our meal tonight: stuffed grape leaves and linguine with fresh mussels, plus Alexa’s grilled octopus. Tomorrow we’re rising early for a winery tour and a trip to the beach!

Here, you gotta try this!

Seated outside Agiola, Bridget dropped a single ice cube in my glass and poured the slightly cloudy liquid over it. This slightly cloudy liquid being an anise-flavored liquor called Ouzo (ούζο in Greek). Let me put it this way, my mother makes homemade limoncello with everclear that tastes infinitely better.  Continue reading “Here, you gotta try this!”