This is not the first draft of the first sentence. Trying to find the words to describe a situation only relatable to most peoples idea of hell and knowing those words will never give justice to what is going on in Lesbos, that pretty little Greek island chosen by so many as a landing point in Europe. I am inclined to talk about how hard today has been for myself, my first day helping refugees fleeing the Middle East, but whenever I start to feel sorry for myself I remember how I can’t even comprehend what those poor people are going through.

We arrived in what is a near constant storm, soaked by rain and lit up by lightening, not the warm sunburnt island I was expecting. When we finally found the camp we were thrown into insanity, a ‘boat’ landing on the beach beside the camp, IN THIS WEATHER?!! I couldn’t imagine anyone would dare, brave naïve or desperate, to cross a body of water which in calm weather sinks boats. And of course it wasn’t going to be the only one.

I actually don’t know if I can finish this coherently, expressing how I felt being around such desperate people and not being able to give them everything they possibly needed. How to explain to people when you don’t have the language that they can only take one meal and that no you haven’t got any more dry clothes with you. A woman miscarried upon arrival. Malnourished babies too exhausted to cry. Is this the world we have created; people fleeing war waged in our name and drought brought on by our destructive overconsumption.

There are more camps, we are yet to see them but this I think is the biggest as it’s nearest the port, which itself is turmoil. Only vulnerable families and those who really need help, a man with a gunshot wound and another with gangrene for example, can stay here. The rest get dry clothes and sent on with the food to Moria, where they have to register and apparently sleep outside in the rain, or in a river as it was described, while the police let in the odd small group at a time when they feel like it to register and deny everybody access to the six hundred dry beds inside.

I planned on taking photos to accompany this but there wasn’t a moment to even think about it; yet I don’t expect every day to be quite as manic so I may be able to put a few up at some point. We walked home in the rain, soaked by the time we returned. Our night ended the same way everyone else’s started. But then we had a shower and got dry while they just got wet again and this time stayed wet. It’s going to be a cold night. These people need help. They have a long journey ahead and it isn’t going to get any easier.

Advertisements