My name is Huxley Schnur and I`ve spent 2 months in the welcommon hostel volunteering with the social cooperative Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal. These two months as a participant in the European Solidarity Corps project “Social Green Innovation for Young Persons” have been a very enriching and educational time.
What I liked most about my time in the Welcommon Hostel was the teaching and the exchange with the students and really connecting with my co-workers and making a lot of friends in the process.
My go to memory of that time are the long talks we had with some of our students about how they fled from their home afraid of being killed, if they don´t leave everything they know behind.
One night my girlfriend and I had an hour long talk with one of the refugees in the hostel, telling us about his journey from Afghanistan to Greece. He told us how he had to leave his home, being threatened by the Taliban because he was a liberate muslim. A young boy, not more than 13-14 years old, threatened his life and told him he ‘d kill him if he wouldn’t convert to his beliefs. So the man packed his stuff and took his wife and newborn and left for safety elsewhere and for a brighter future. When we talked to him, his wife and son were in Germany applying for asylum.
It still moves me until this day to think of all the things they have told me and all the things I’ ve learned from them whilst volunteering in the Welcommon Hostel.
When I first arrived I knew no one and didn`t really know what to do when I entered the classroom and tried to educate my students on the german language. Luckily there were my co-volunteers, who soon turned into friends, that helped me get through this adapting period with useful tips and advice on how to be at ease and still be a good teacher.
Sadly after the first month the lockdown came and we had to cancel all outside classes. But we figured out a solution and had classes exclusively for the refugees – residents in the hostel, so we could keep up teaching during the lockdown. We designed a new schedule, with new classes to execute during lockdown. Unfortunately our planned classes didn`t match the sleeping schedules of the residents so we had to adapt to that. But little by little we created a kind of normality during the strangest of times.
Right from the beginning I loved the concept behind the Welcommon Hostel. That being the unification and combination of sustainable tourism and the accommodation, empowerment and non formal education of refugees. Even though tourism collapsed after Covid, just by the volunteers and refugees living in the same building kept the spark that is the Welcommon Hostel alive.
I absolutely enjoyed my time in the Welcommon Hostel, which taught me so much about myself, real suffering and true happiness. Here goes a big thank you to all those people that made the two months I ‘ve spent so lovely.