Flying to The Nest

Update posted by Elliot Ray On Oct 16, 2018

"...I would like to wish everyone a happy Monday (as I write this on Sunday evening). My flights were smooth and I had no layovers in either Doha or Athens. I arrived at my hotel Saturday night with no delays or difficulties. I am thankful for a restful journey and a clean room with a beautiful view!

This morning I met with OHF (One Happy Family) members at a restaurant just a few minutes' walk away from my hotel (for clarification, The Nest is a part of One Happy Family, located at its facilities along with the rest of the community centre). I was invited to join in with a brunch that they had arranged with the owner. I was made to feel welcome by everyone as they arrived. I soon learned that this restaurant is only a few months old, and it was started by a Syrian man who came as a refugee to Greece a few years ago. His family is in Damascus and he has been in several refugee camps before being able to settle on Lesbos. He is also a part of OHF, running the kitchen there. My time with everyone gave me a first impression of the way people relate together in OHF...

...Tomorrow morning (Monday) I will go to The Nest. I expect to learn a lot from everyone around me. I am certain that I will learn from the children, the adult refugees, and OHF members working alongside me. I hope also that I can leave something good behind me, whether it is in the bond of a friendship, a new idea, a hope strengthened, or the sharing and lightening of a burden"...

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Update posted by Elliot Ray On Oct 16, 2018

October 4, 2018:

Dear families and friends of Blue House,

As you may have already heard, the target $7000 has finally been reached and even bypassed by $119! With the great sense of anticipation I feel for the upcoming journey, I also feel gratitude mingled in with it as I know that so many of you stand behind me and Blue House in this initiative. And of course, it is also to say that you, with me, are standing behind the children and families I will meet in Lesvos.

There are some of you who I have been able to thank in person, but many more who I have not. I am grateful to everyone who has given, and just as heartwarming is to hear from you in person that you believe in what we're doing.

Of course, this was initiated by Shona and her friends in Lesvos, and is part of The Bridge Initiative, and is hopefully something that Blue House can continue to do in the future. I feel so honored that I can be a part of it and make the first trip.

It came to my mind as I thought about the upcoming journey that it is something like the age-old method of building a bridge across a gorge. A string was first shot on an arrow over the gorge and secured on the other side. After the string was secured, a stronger string was tied from the opposite side and drawn back across by the first string. Soon a rope could be drawn over--something too heavy to initially be carried by an arrow--and from there larger and larger ropes until timber could finally be supported. But in order to do this, there have to be people working from both sides of the gorge.

I feel a bit like the first bit of twine--weak in many ways, but able at least to be carried across and form the first thread of connection between two points. Those who follow may be stronger, or more able to strengthen the bond first formed between the two points. But the more trips across, the stronger the connection becomes until it becomes a completed bridge.

Nobody knows how long The Nest, and its larger community of One Happy Family, will be there. That is because nobody knows how long the current refugee camps will be on Lesvos in their present form. The fact of the matter is, we all must hope that the refugees' current situation is not prolonged. But as long as conditions remain in their present state, One Happy Family has more than enough reasons to be there. Who knows if they may need to change location, start new ones, or change in some other way to adapt to the uncertain circumstances? I think there are more possibilities than we can see now.

Thinking about this, it occurs to me that the bridge we are building is not a physical one that depends on geographic location. It is something that we don't exactly see the outcome of yet. We don't know what future form it may take.

This is an exciting thought to me. I'll leave you with these thoughts for now, and as the journey unfolds I will stay in communication with everyone.

With warmest regards,

Elliot Ray

Music Specialist

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Anonymous

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Wishing you the best for this great endeavor!

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bravo et bon courage Elliot! x margot, raphaëlle, neelesh

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