It’s my turn to talk about my experience today visiting the refugee hosting centre in Diavata, Thessaloniki. It was just another day full of smiles, joy, games, fights and intense feelings.

It was the fourth time I visited the centre and it became quite clear to me that the kids have embraced us and treated us like family. As soon as we got off the bus, they welcomed us, they took us by the hand and led us to the place where we usually gather and play. The hours flew by and the bitter moment when we had to leave arrived. The “no goodbye”, the hugs and the weeping gave their place to the joy of renewing our meeting for next Tuesday.

Children recognize most of us now and the connection we have developed is magic. I don’t think that anybody can understand that, if he hasn’t experienced it. The fact that every time we go to Diavata, there are more and more children waiting for us, it’s the biggest pay-off.

YMCA volunteer