For one month I lived in this abandoned shack, surrounded by counterfeit life-vests, cast off clothes, wrecked boats, and the Aegean sea.

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Landing on Lesvos

The Syrian family had strikingly clear eyes. A refracting blue like crystal – hard and bright and the color of the shallow waters off Korakas or the eastern sky before dawn. But I didn’t notice. I didn’t notice when I met the family of four on the beach, surrounded by thirty Afghanis who didn’t speak […]

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Surreal Calm

Cats wander among the tables ringing the moored boats and calm waters of Skala Sikamineas harbor. The cats come in every variety of mange, scruff, scar and distemper, and a great many of them crowd around anyone eating at an outdoor table. They’re the only thing unkempt. The carefully cobbled stones of the harbor, the […]

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Held Breath and Rubber

As of this writing my first week at Korakas lighthouse draws to a close. The day before I arrived, six Afghans landed on the rocks east of Korakas in the boat pictured here. No-one has landed on the North shore since. I don’t have a count of exactly how many boats have landed here this […]

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Grey Airport Dawn

Departure in the early hours, before the sun rises, has a special smell which to me is one of the treasures of living. This morning I stepped out onto the road. No sooner had a grey dawn risen over the Eastern Iowa Airport then I had my first “oops” moment, when I realized I hadn’t […]

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A Reason to Go

Below is my original post for why I’m spending the month of April volunteering in Greece. The situation has evolved since I wrote this, but I’m moving it here for context. I go on April 1st to spend one month on the Greek island of Lesvos. This is not a vacation. In the past year […]

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