To express

I am more often asked to do jobs inside the houses of the residents. Minor leaks, doors and now also renewing a kitchen. Emily or Andreas check if I have the time and if I can handle the work. Given my experience as a DIY (I have build my own kitchen, bathroom, walls, toilets in the past) I dare to take it on. When completing these kinds of jobs, the satisfaction is enormous. Also the people are very grateful. Sharing food and drink is most of the time how they show being grateful. Not during this month though, due to fasting (Ramadan). But they do show it with a warm gesture that they are very grateful.

With all these kinds of jobs it remains very annoying that I regularly cannot find the tools that I need. Often enough tools are stolen. This week I let the annoyance accompanied with anger out in front of some residents and volunteers. Fortunately they still keep coming back to me during green street. Talking about the projects that need to be done, thank me intensely for what I have done so far and offer to help fixing and building things. The volunteers keep talking more to me and ask me more about how they can deliver. Even some have started to share their annoyances with me, which they have held for them selves trying cope with it. I have even been asked to go out somewhere in the city.

This is something to consider; For a long time I didn’t ‘let things get to me’. I definitely kept it for my self as I was trying not to let the emotion get the upper hand and out in the open. But now I wonder; isn’t it sad, not letting emotions out.

The group has been expanded for the next 4 weeks with a large number of volunteers from the US. At Green Street I help them with the use of tools, designing and making furniture. Once they are at work, I can go back to my own chores. I sometime come to take a look. They have now completed 8 projects. You can tell by everything that they have their focus set on doing something that contributes to the lives of the refugees. But also to grow and learn themselves. It is great to see that they also has this sense of pride when finishing something. They are getting aware that creating or building something with their own hands and with a few means is a great and beautiful achievement. So no Ikea in the future.

Where in the first days of my stay in Athens I was surprised and annoyed by all the “junk” sprayed on every pole, fence, wall, house extension, fence and roller shutter, I now got involved in a tour walk along graffiti. A colleague of mine has developed this tour and she invited me to take the tour. I don’t go out much and if I do, it will be just with me. So this was the opportunity to go out with someone! and yeah I am also curious if my image about graffiti (vandalism) will change. The tour was mainly focused on styles, political messages and resistance. I did also seen some very beautiful artworks. But these are just as often made on behalf or request of a building owner.

So did I switch sides now, can I appreciate this so called art? I mainly see the cult around graffiti, and that overshadows my view of the paintings. An agreement not to spray over each other’s work called sanctioned, is out of respect for other people’s work. Protests must also remain visible for the same reason. However, I observe that the respect does not go beyond this subculture. The respect for other people’s work, like architects, homeowners, historic buildings, nah that’s done.

The words “street art” are being used. To me it looks like these words are used just for a kind of justification for spraying of every vertical piece of stone. No my view remains too clouded to see what is beautiful or what can be appreciated. Perhaps it is not about the work, but about awareness of the existence of this subculture.

Last Tuesday I went to meet my new employer. I wanted to see the place where I will live and work as from 16 June. Costas showed me around and we talked about his vision and also what I can do to help realizing this vision. It will be a little more than just farming. Costas read my resume and there where some skills he would really like to use as well. Together we also did some work that day. Where I am hoping to do a lot of manual labor, I was able to use my muscles right away. I also spoke with all the volunteers there. What a great atmosphere I sensed and this feeling of peace! I am going to enjoy this.