Yesterday we had a three hour meeting at a long long table in an otherwise empty restaurant. There were 24 of us – shift leaders, distribution coordinators, infrastructure guys – anyone who identified as being part of the ‘core team’ and showed up.
The table stretched the full length of the long room. On one extreme sat our captains, the founders of Better Days for Moria. Behind them were full length windows, through which we could see the snow and the street. Across the street was the Aegean Sea, and it looked very cold and gray and not at all pleasant to fall into.I was sitting on the other extreme. Behind me was a wall decorated with fish nets and shells, and also adorned with a flatscreen television.
The purpose of this meeting was to get on the same page. With so many volunteers spread so thin both geographically and shift-wise, there really is no substitute for face to face communication.
The restaurant manager, a tall man with a sort of off-putting smile, went around the table and took orders for Greek Coffee. After he finished, Kiki read the agenda, which she had compiled from the WhatsApp ‘Core Team’ chat. The manager came back halfway through and noisily passed out the coffees, practically talking over Kiki as he asked who had wanted medium sweet?
We introduced ourselves: Ramon, a Dutch ex-military man who’s building a new machine to dry over 500 shoes a day; Kai, a 19 year old who has been manning clothing distribution; Tarah, Canadian, also in clothing distribution and who just pushed her flight home back a couple of months; Camilla, who has years of experience working in refugee camps in South Sudan.
There was a small black dog running around, jumping on people’s laps. He kept scratching his right ear, and when I saw him up close I saw he had scratched all the hair off and he was bleeding a little bit. An hour in people started ordering appetizers – garlic bread and feta, olives. The olives were tasteless.
Elena reminds people to run new projects by her, so she can run them by the lawyer.
I give people an overview of the new volunteer coordination system, and give them my number in case of legal trouble.
This is a room full of smart people who mean business. Amy, sitting next to her husband, Colin, makes an abstract observation, saying that it would be great if there were more communication between infrastructure and shift leaders so that they know what’s coming. She follows up by asking for some concrete details, and the room at large learns that infrastructure plans to remove the hoop house housing clothing distribution and the medical clinic to replace it with a structure that complies better with zoning requirements.
Tarah is doodling on her napkin, but overall the feeling is productive. We all learned a lot today.