Barbed wire. Fences and barbed wire. A cement court surrounded by high fences and barbed wire. A policed metal gate opens up to gravel, concrete, metal containers and barbed wire. A military truck dumps crates of bread on the slab of concrete surrounded by barbed wire – breakfast. Children run around on the gravel, playing on rocks in the confined, fenced in camp. All I see is barbed wire. Surely this is a prison. No? A refugee camp you call it. Hotspot, a prison to some – Syrians, Kurds, Palestinians, Iranians, Pakistanis a refugee camp to others. Continue reading “Hotspot”
Sunday morning I wake up with a busy mind and a desire to get lost. I grab a cappuccino freddo and set out on foot towards a distant castle, somewhere on the island. Dodging motorbikes, I ascend a road along the edge of a cliff, looking down at the maze of houses below, stretching out to the ocean. Indeed I get lost, looking for a path that will lead me to the castle. After making countless wrong turns, I realize the path I’m looking for isn’t a road, but a narrow staircase pathway. What seemingly is an entrance to a house is really a secret stairway leading to a quaint village on a beach. Continue reading “Queen of the Castle”
Seemingly, everyone I’ve met since landing in Athens has an opinion about the refugee crisis in Greece – locals, Uber drivers, NGO’s, police, and refugees themselves. Opinions are freely shared with me once I disclose what I’m doing here (teaching yoga in a refugee camp) and I listen, hesitating to form an opinion until I’ve had my own experience on the island of Leros, my home for the next month or so. Continue reading “POC, Refugee, Resident”
Tsis, misoatra. No, thank you. I don’t want to buy, just look. To feel another culture, to wonder around the market as if I belonged there, as if I lived there and needed something. Hands reach out to me as I navigate the market aisles in an old cement warehouse, offering me spices, perfume, fruits. Tsis misoatra. I smell the perfume in homemade plastic bottles, the spices – vanilla, fresh from Madagascar. A room full of bright colors, life, smells of spices, sweat, fish, incense captivates me. A women sits on the floor staring into her daydream, a pile of greenish oranges splayed out next to her on a cloth. What are her dreams? Continue reading “Malagasy Market”
I hesitate at the waters edge. Warm salty water sneaks up on my feet and threatens to soak my pants as I contemplate my next step onto the boat waiting for me. Trying to stay dry is challenging on this island, and I clearly picked the wrong outfit (pants jumpsuit) to go out in high tide tonight. Strong arms scoop me up, resolving my dilemma and effortlessly carry me onto the boat, setting me down among the locals en route to Ampang. High tide carries us quickly to the island village and I jump off the boat as the tides pulls back, running to shore, heading to meet my friends for some music – the only thing to do on weekend night in Nosy Komba. Continue reading “Nosy Nights”
Something is wrong. I wake up in the night with sharp, shooting pains in my stomach and spend the next 2 days on a mattress surrounded by onlookers to my public illness. I don’t care – I’m deliriously sick. I can’t keep anything down, even water makes me violently ill. God, Universe, Something (Italian doctor in Nosy Be) – please make me well again. A remote island isn’t an ideal place to be ill, and the only way to get treated is a nauseous, choppy boat ride to the next biggest island – Nosy Be. Take off your shoes, lay on the cool tile floor in what appears to be a hospital, and enter when you are called in for a blood test. My sickness has a name: Typhoid. Continue reading “Tides”
A rust colored dirt path leads me to the rock formations I’ve been so determined to see- Tsingy. Tsingy means to walk on tiptoes and it’s been said that Malagasy people crossed these jagged pointed rocks on their tiptoes (no idea if that’s true). I’ve spent a few sleepless nights googling these limestone pillars that point up to the sky and now I’m just a few kilometers from them.