Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2015

One last big push?

So… as many of you who have been following us the last few years will  know, We rarely get to spend Christmas with family. This year , as we are based in Greece, at least for us the borders are open.  The same sadly  can not be said for hundreds more who must now face the Balkan countries in degrees below zero. They will also face racism, hatred, abuse and closed frontiers .Let us not become a world that will once again turn our backs on those in need… In the spirit of christmas, the spirit of humanity, let us offer a hand of friendship amid a wave of intolerance, ignorance  and discriminations. Let us never again see signs like this…

FB_IMG_1448318459867

England, circa 1966

Let me give you a quick update on the port. The weather here in Samos has been very very windy and showery so very few boats have been arriving. One large boat got in to trouble near some rocks 2 days ago, the smuggler who was actually on the boat , escaped via jet ski. Thankfully all 95 on board were rescued safely by a Swedish sea rescue team here on the island.

The camp on the port itself has now been totally restructured. It is much more sheltered from the sea breeze, laid out more securely. We have a power bank for charging phones etc so people can call home to family members. A large marquee means that those in tents can now pitch their tents inside the marquee. We have a lot more IKEA cabins almost completed. Food, clothes and emergency distributions are still needed and still going ahead.The drains have all been cleaned out, cabins washed, toilets cleaned and we are ready for whoever needs us next. Safe play areas are set up for the children.Its not perfect … but it offers at least some basic sense of humanity from people offering help with only good in their hearts …

As I keep reiterating, we, all of us, are doing our best… but people are still in a hard situation. The strange weather here means the mosquitoes are out in force each evening. So many people are having strong reactions to the bites, men, women and children. We all carry around creams, pens, repellent etc to try to help.The showery weather also means we are handing out hundreds of rain ponchos again… clothes , blankets etc  are getting wet…and the rainy season and winter itself is only just beginning.

 

We were honoured this week to have a visit from Archbishop Jeronimos of Greece. Despite his age, he walked the camp to offer his solidarity, blessing and prayers to all….and all were very appreciative of his gesture

We need your help…again.

We need to replenish the stocks, food, water, hygiene needs, mosquitoes creams ….everything . Your support so far has been amazing. The nights are now dark, cold and no doubt lonely and fearful for so many…

And so, our time on Samos for this year is almost up. If one border, the Rafah border to Gaza,  remains closed to us, we will return in January. But be it Palestine or Greece,  We will continue with your help and your support to fight for the rights of all, the opening of all borders and a demand for the basic human rghts of all people regardless of colour or creed.

Before we leave, We are asking for one big push … A Christmas gesture perhaps , a chance to restock, purchase whatever is needed , supply whatever is wanted to make this week and the weeks to come as bearable, as easy, as safe and as clean as possible for those asking for help.

You can donate via PayPal or email us at jennygraham7@gmail.com

PS… We also had another visitor twice this week. The legendary crazy monk seal of Samos who can regularly be found on Sunbeds or cafes around Samos island. She paid us another visit right outside our cabin this morning, much to the delight and bewilderment of all the children..

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

2015-11-23 14.23.24

Read Full Post »

The refugees on Samos port are now warmer, drier..safer. This is what can be achieved when humanity and solidarity comes together. While totally condemning the abhorrent attacks in Paris this week in which 129 innocent people lost their lives and many others were critically injured, we also continue to acknowledge the many refugees that are also fleeing the same terror in their own country.

Samos port has been restructured. More cabins added, a large marquee for those without cabins, a more sheltered layout. Doctors, nurses, NGO and volunteers all came together… and not forgetting the help of the refugees themselves. More importantly and more impressively is the constant help, support and solidarity from the local community of Samos which has never once waivered … they truly know and display true humanity and solidarity to their fellow man. If you would like to continue to help, please donate via PayPal or email us at : jennygraham7@gmail.com for bank details or more information..

As always, Thank you,

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

A dark day for volunteers in Samos island, Greece. This is why we are here. These are the reasons we ask for your help. We spoke of this tragedy in our previous post.click on link below for video.  Please continue to donate via paypal, continue to share our posts for awareness. Thank you .

http://news.sky.com/video/1585396/dark-day-for-samos-volunteers

Read Full Post »

Exceptionally hard week in Samos island. On Tuesday morning the souls of the three young children from one of the sunken boats were finally laid to rest. Although honoured to be asked to attend, the despair and grief as the little bodies were laid respectfully in a shared grave in a corner of the cemetary should remind us all of the human side of a crisis so often portrayed as just a news story focused on statistics and political games. The families, still suffering,  must now leave behind the graves of their children and continue on for the sake of their surviving children … a journey forced upon them by war!

I was asked to go to the port police station also since our last post to deal with families from a second boat tragedy. 11 people lost heir lives only 25 metres off the shore. All women and children. One man spoke of how he was fleeing war in Syria with his family, only for tragedy to follow. That morning he had a wife, 2 daughters and a son …. now he has to find a life for just him and his baby boy as his wife and two young daughters bodies were taken from the boat. I cradled a young girl until she finally fell into a fitful sleep. ” N” is eleven years old and was travelling with her mama, her brother and her sister … all except “N” perished on the boat. I stayed with her in the police station and later in the pediatric wing of the hospital until finally the next day we could reunite her with her father…. The bodies of her family were taken on the ship last night to Athens where they will be buried. Sadly these are just a small percentage of the lives being lost and destroyed .

We have also had to deal with various vulnerable cases this week. Cases needing help with counselling, families travelling with handicapped children, elderly parents, women travelling alone or with children and a lack of information before arriving in Greece.

All of this has been compounded this week by a ferry strike. The ferries stopped running on Monday and did not resume untill last night ( Friday). The smugglers did not stop which resulted in there being approximately 6000 on Samos port. We try our best, we all do , but we did not, do not  have the capability or materials to help these numbers. Because of this, many people suffered even more this week. We did not have enough blankets or shelter to go around. Hundreds were forced to sleep on the cold concrete of the quayside with perhaps only a jacket as cover. As I write we still do not have enough blankets for tonight and we are about to run out of nappies for the children.

20151107_203534

Unsurprisingly, this has all resulted in tension on the port….but thankfully we all still manage to cooperate and try to do our best… NGO, volunteers , civil society and refugee… we all take up a broom or a pair of rubber gloves at the end of a day  ( usually well after midnight) and do our best to clean the port… we get offered so much help as volunteer translators from many people arriving here … Arabic,Afghani, Pakistani or Iranian… all wanting to help.

So, as I said , no week is easy but this one was harder than ever. Tiredness, sometimes a total sense of despair and a huge sense of loss … and then a young girl, in the midst of grief hugs you, kisses you and hands you a small gift of a beautiful pendant that I will keep forever and it is a stark reminder to appreciate what we have, remember how blessed we are and continue to fight for justice, for a more equal society and a chance for children, mama’s, papa’s to never have to flee war, bury their families because of War…a chance to just live.

2015-11-07 18.54.31

Last night we said goodbye to some of these families.. we exchange whatsapp contacts and wait and pray in the hope that someday they will contact us to say they are safe, happy and finally living….

And now, yet again, I make no apologies in asking for help. We desperately, desperately need funding for more blankets, tents, nappies and baby milk as well as so much more. Any amount, every amount will and does help . So many of you have helped already, so many people have at least been warm and dry in Samos because of you. Thank you.

You can donate via PayPal or contact us for more information on how to help or for bank details for transfer. Jennygraham7@gmail.com

As always, please share to reach as many as possible, we appreciate any and all support,

Derek and Jenny.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »