Facing a harsh world, hatred, bigotry , xenophobia is an exhausting challenge that some must face more regularly, more fiercely than the rest of us. It is a challenge both physically and mentally as well as emotionally and can break even the strongest of characters. Add to this, the lack of a safe place to call home, the relief you could feel to go home, face your fears within the solace of your family , be rested and warm and have a chance to build up your strength from within yourself.
Imagine looking day and night into the eyes of your wife, your mother , your child. Their eyes dark and vacant, searching to you for an end to hurt and pain, the cold and all you can offer them is another blanket or a chance to stand in a queue for a hot drink. This is the life, and much worse besides, for those who have come to seek refuge in the camps of Europe. And what have we offered as solace? barbed wire, tents, cold cabins, paperwork, delays, muddy fields, jungles, queues and months and months of detention.
In Samos this week, we have had rain…lots of rain, thunder, lightening and cold. We have hundreds in tents with water seeping up through the ground sheets. Their “homes”are held in place with rocks and stones. Each break in the weather, the blankets and clothing are thrown across the fences to drip dry, the shoes are piled high outside and the chance is taken to once again open the zipped doorways of the tents or open the shutters on the iISO-cabins to allow some air in to dry them out. There is no reprieve from the hard life, no chance to recuperate, to feel safe yet. And all this is while waiting…and waiting…and waiting , for months, for an answer as to when someone , somewhere makes a decision on your future.
We try to do what we can, but we are not so arrogant to believe it makes much of a difference. We give what we can, we offer offer what assistance we can, sometimes all we have is time… time to sit, talk, listen. We continue to run the night time cafe ( which we run with the “Friendly humans group, Samos) although depending on weather, it is sometimes a delivery of tea and coffee tent to tent, cabin to cabin. We have a small studio room , very basic, very cheap but its dry, its warm and we are safe there….that’s the difference… We can go home if we are cold or wet afterwards. On better nights, we still put out chairs, socialize, play music, sit and talk . These nights are enjoyable, to see all nationalities, all ages, all religions and none sitting together, drinking tea together, sharing a shisha and sometimes even smiling. We try to each week hand out fruit, apples, pears, bananas etc at least one night to everyone in the camp. Now that the weather seems to be improving , we will also resume juice for the children as well as their playtime activities. Whenever possible and finances allow, we supply cookers, kettles, pots and pans, strollers, baby food and smoothies to all who need, again with Friendly Humans group, Samos.
We make regular trips to the port/airport to drop people off and stay with them while their paperwork is processed .. all small things but important.
It is thanks to good people we can do this, our regular friends and donaters that never let us down, our new friends that we meet all the time on line or in person. Those of you with brilliant ideas to help, those of you just giving us the mental support to keep going, to pass on their love to those more in need. People like Claire and Jeremy who this week are the reason many people, mainly the elderly, the children and females in the camp all now have personal torches , dynamo operated so no batteries needed, to stay safe on toilet trips or medical trips at night time. Thank you both and to all your friends, family and colleagues who contributed.
So please, if at all possible, continue in your support. We cover our own expenses, we do not take a salary, there are no administration charges coming out of your donations, what you give is towards those whose circumstances right now warrant our help… ALL of what you give.
For options to donate please visit:
http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by ( PAYPAL)
or email or pm for bank details.
More pictures and video below…. As always thank you so much.