Today we had the journalism experience of a lifetime. We begin the day with a tour of SKAI TV, which is a national media company in Greece, working with print, radio, and television media. They were very excited to have us and showed us everything from the newsroom to the editing room, to the radio studio, but most impactful for us all was the opportunity to see the television studio where we had the chance to meet one of Greece’s most well-known news broadcasters. At the end of the tour, we were surprised with the opportunity to be introduced on SKAI TV’s Sunday morning politics show, much like the U.S.’s Meet the Press, we were being broadcast live to the entire country. We were introduced to several former ministers of different departments in the government and political commentators.
After the tour, we set out to visit Ritsona, which is one of the smaller refugee camps in Greece, holding mostly Syrian refugees. At Ritsona we were given the opportunity to speak with some of the refugees close to our age. This gave us some insight as to what many of the refugees at the camp had gone through to arrive in Greece, which as we learned is currently holding over 62,000 refugees. After speaking with the small panel of men we were able to have a bit of fun with many of the children at the camp. This included an amazing performance of Lucky L. ’18 accompanied by Ramiro G. ’21 on the ukulele, both members of our group. We also got to witness a Syrian style dance by a couple of the younger men at the camp. After driving back to the hotel, and a little free time, we finished off the day with a question and answer with two members of the JFS (Jesuit Refugee Service), which is a refugee relations program stationed throughout many refugee hotspots in Europe like Greece and Germany. We were able to gather information about the education of refugees, and the volunteer programs in many Refugee camps. I think I can vouch for all members of our trip by saying today was one to remember.
– Orlando N. ’20
After breakfast, we headed to the Skai TV with Stavros, the journalist who we met yesterday. He briefly gave us an introduction about the work in their building, including radio, print and TV. We were very glad to have a close observation of those journalists even though it’s Sunday morning and only a few of them are working. We visited the radio room. the producer room and the live studio. There was a TV show on live at that time and the director nicely allowed us to come in and be filmed on Greece TV! We were all excited because this was a experience that most of us never had it before.
We then continued our tour to the Refugee Camp: Ritsona. It took us around 1 hour to get to the camp and Stavros gave us a brief introduction of the current situation for refugees in Greece. There are around 62,000 refugees currently in Greece and 23,000 of them stay in the organized camps like, Ritsona. Others live in the rural area or even on the street. Ritsona, according to Stavros, is one of the best refugee camps in Greece. Most of the refugees in Greece will not stay there in the future. They are looking for the chances to other European countries, such as Germany. Greece is more like a transition for them. When we arrived the camp, every one left our bags and behaved ourselves in the most respectful way as we could. The camp located in the rural area around a forest. The people from Cafe Rits led us to the meeting room. I noticed that there were a lot of drawings on the front and the back of the room. In the front, there was a hand drawing of world may and an tearing eye at the spot of middle east. On the back wall,they wrote a sentence “ the darkest part id just before the sun rises.” Even though life is not easy for them, I still feel their positive attitude and hope.
– Judy L. ’18
Today we visited the Ritsona Refugee Camp. The ride to there is about one hour of driving on the road. When I arrived, clearly the living conditions are tough for the refugees. The road around the camp are still muddy. The house they lived in are the mobile house that could be move around easily. When we arrived, three young man come greeted us and lead us to Cafe Rits to sit. We asked them few questions about their background and their experiences in the camp. We also want to ask them how they feel about their home country and the situations going on their nation. Some of them fled from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq due to the current political turmoil and the threats of warfare. Most of them are separated from their parents. One of the guy came this with his younger sister, another settled this with his family. They really enjoyed the friends that they have made in the camp, and fulfill life they have right, making friends, working, and dancing are all the thing they enjoy. There were also performances that both the Ross students and the refugees performed for entertainment including singing, regional dancing, and break dancing. I was overwhelmed by just the hospitality these people provide, gave us one each banana, drinks and chocolate. One of my school mate, Enrique, was really touched and moved by the story one of the refugee had to share with him. They exchanged clothes at the end when we about to leave.
Many of them are looking to a better future by considering going France and Germany, countries in Europe to look for better opportunities. Many European nations recently enforced their border and policy to limit the refugees entering their border due to the overwhelmed amount of them. Many of them stayed in the camp like this to look for their future and find new opportunities. Despite the current status and living conditions they are in right now and their future in the doubts of the policy makers of nation, many of refugees continue to fight for a brighter future with all the challenges ahead of them. To many of them, one step away from the warzone means that they can at least have the basis of survival to fight for a brighter life. I really think anyone can learn from their perseverance to fight for a peaceful life and appreciate all the opportunities one’s have.
We also had a conversation with Maurice Joyeaux, the director of Jesuit Refugee Services in Greece. and ask him some insight on what working with the refugees is like and what he think of the camps. He really enjoys being with people and the pure human joy that comes from their refugees. For him, he likes and admire how refugees fight against the war and their conditions and choose freedom and peace. These refugees are happy to be there and enjoy what he does for them. One of the challenges he faces is to have enough rest to maintain what he does. A lot of time he doesn’t have enough sleep because he has to constantly help out and maintain the programs. He thinks that keeping a peaceful mind and heart in any situation is the key to maintain the programs for more refugees to shelter.
I learned a lot today from the visits. I understand how nations and their politics can drastically impact one’s life and their future. What it means to be on the edges of life in some cases and how simple can joy be. This made me to be more aware and appreciated of the situation and spot I’m in right and what I can do to help other out.
– Grace F. ’18