Volunteer Experiences on Lesvos – “Touch me, I am human”

MARIA, a medical volunteer from Budapest, has been in Lesvos, these are her EXPERIENCES AND INFOS !

 UNHCR DOES A MEETING IN MOLIVOS TOWNHALL  takes place at SKALA SYKAMINEA EVERY TUESDAY 10am, UNHCR INVITES ANY NGO AND ANY VOLUNTEER TO COME ! After to much wind and just a few incoming boats on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, came yesterday (4.11.2015) up to 8000 people until ca 10pm.

FRONTEX AND THE GREEK COAST GUARDA ARE FLYING WITH HELICOPTERS ALL DAY OVER THE SEA.THE ACUTAL PRICE FOR THE 8km TRIP
between the turkish coast and the coast of Lesvos is
FOR SYRIANS BETWEEN 1300 and 1500 – FOR AFGHANIS BETWEEN 500 and 800 Euro.
WHEN THE WEATHER GETS WORSE, THE PRICE GETS LOWER
Transport by vans goes all day from the seaside up the hill to two UNHCR Camps:
Sykaminea (2 km distance from the village Sykaminea, Leader: Hein) and Oxy (15 km, Leader: Omar). Oxy was well structured and STARFISH FOUNDATION was respected as a volunteer organisation. Sykaminea we didn’t visit from inside.
In the case, that one camp is full, like yesterday night no bus transport existed between the camps.

ABOUT 800 PEOPLE NEEDED TO SLEEP OUTSIDE WITHOUT BLANKETS.
A local helping group Lighthouse Relief  had two tents directly at the sea side and could take about 300 in there. The others made fire by trash, wood, whatever they could find next to the Sykaminea Camp and tried to dry the still wet clothes from the seawater. We counted more than 20 fire places and the people were eating, talking, listening to music, telling each other stories. This calm atmosphere between more than 6 nations is nearly not possible to describe. An amazing strength… and they didn’t let US go without food and something to drink.

Many people CAN AND WANT TO PAY A HOTEL and couldn’t understand why THE GREEK GOVERNMENT FORBID IN THIS DANGEROUS SITUATION TO RENT TO GUEST WITHOUT PAPERS.  One men said to us:

I’m not Syrian, I’m not Afghani, I’m human. You can touch me. Touch me! Touch me! You will feel – I’m human.”

From the seaside camps the people are transported by big busses to other camps like MORIA, WHERE ALWAYS TWO DAYS AFTER SO MANY ARRIVALS THE SITUATION GETS CATASTROPHICAL. It was said, that 3 big camps exist on Lesvos.

WE DID A TRANSPORT OF A PARALYZED 50 YEARS OLD MEN, HIT BY A BOMB IN KOBANE ONE YEAR AGO.His four children were in my car and we talked on the way to aNON GOVERNMENTAL DISABILITY CAMP FOR HUMANS WITH ANY HANDICAPnext to the airport in Mythilini. The oldest son just passed 3 weeks in jail, tortured, left his girlfriend in Syria without beeing able to say Goodbye. The camp was really nice, but as the first plane passed over the roofs, the whole familiy was afraid of the sound.FROM MYTHILINI GOES THE SHIP TO ATHEN. The ones who can not pay, get the ticket money from the camp.

FOR DAYS AND UP TO 6.11. NO SHIP STARTED AND WILL START BECAUSE THE CREW IS PROTESTING FOR MORE MONEY ON THE STREET BETWEEN SYKAMINEA AND MYTHILINI – 1 HOUR CAR DRIVE – is still visible, that the people needed TO WALK THAT WAY IN THE PAST – now busses are driving, but still, THE LAST 10KM THEY NEED TO WALK. I took a family with me by car – we drove 10 minutes to Mythilini. On Sykaminea Beach are working the ADVENTIST GROUP. One of the great doctors is Michael. ADVENTIST WORK ONE BUS WITH MEDICAL CARE FOR ABOUT 8 KILOMETER COAST DISTANCE. Any doctor or medical staff can work with them.
At Sykaminea exist a little point to welcome the people coming from the boat in any possible condition – without feet /paralyzd/ hysteric/ sad/ happy/ with babies/ with disabled children in any age – But WITHOUT CONTAINER TO COOK / SORT AND GIVE OUT DRY CLOTHES.

Many people with a big heart are working! But in chaotic conditions, because of no experienced leading. EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS AND NGOs (LIKE EARLIER WORKER OF UNHCR IN SUDAN PROGRAMS OR GREEN HELMETS DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS CHAOS IN THE MIDDLE OF EUROPE, says Maria.

Thank you Maria for sharing your experience with us!

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About birgitstoeckl

gender & communication expert, researcher, networker, activist.
This entry was posted in asylum, childrens_rights, current, equal rights & social change, human rights, migration and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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