>> Friday, September 11, 2015 – Greek crisis, life on Symi in September, Solidarity Symi, Syrian refugees
|Don't be fooled by this autumnal view of Pedi bay - the temperatures on Symi have been in the forties this week, an abnormal heatwave for this time of the year.|
|One morning this week, on my way to work, I spotted this black cat watching a desiccated bush with great interest.|
|A young donkey shares a joke. He has fresh vine prunings for his breakfast. The two terracotta buildings in the background are the Taxiarchis hotel in Chorio.|
|Waiting for the Blue Star on Wednesday morning.|
|There are still a few late season motor yachts around.|
|The departing Blue Star on Friday morning. These big boats really dwarf the clock tower and surrounding buildings.|
|Symi is quite full at the moment and the water taxis are very busy. September has always been a popular month with the island's regular visitors and this year is no exception.|
|A flourishing vine on the Kali Strata.|
The school year started today and when I went out to do some errands an hour or so ago local mothers were accompanying their children home from their first day at primary school. Here on Symi, the island's schooling covers all ages from kindergarten to high school so children only have to leave home when they go on to college or university - one of the advantages of having a reasonably large permanent population (about 2600 people). Many Greek islands have populations that can be counted in the hundreds rather than the thousands and young families are forced to go further afield to educate their children.
It has been a quiet week in terms of refugee arrivals. Dark nights mean fewer people risking making the crossing in inflatable boats and those who have arrived have been processed quite quickly and have already moved on to the next step of their journey. We never know from one day to the next how many people may be arriving so we have to be prepared to cope at short notice with however many may arrive. The closest thing to advance notice is when refugees are spotted on the rocks around Symi and the coastguard goes to rescue them as at that point Solidarity Symi gets a call to say that so many people will be coming in in the next hour or so. If you would like to donate to our winter collection, please click on http://www.everyclick.com/solidaritysymi/info If you are on the island and would like to make a cash donation which goes to providing basic food, water and medicines for those in need, our collection boxes are at the Symi Visitor office, the Old Markets hotel and also at the refugee relief centre in the old post office by the police station and clock tower.
Still on the subject of refugees I was talking to someone in the office today who was under the misconception that when refugees arrive here their on-going journey is paid for by the Greek state. This is not the case. The refugees must pay for their own ferry tickets on to Pireus and beyond. All they get from the Greek government is the normal 'prison rations' for the 24 hours that they are effectively in detention on arrival and travel documents that enable them to travel legally through Greece within a restricted time frame.
Have a good weekend.