Saturday, 21 November 2015

A Hellenic woman for the refugees in Lesvos

Yesterday I fell asleep around 6.00 in the morning (so it was actually today). 
I was answering  messages of people that want to come and volunteer in Lesvos. 

Last night I went out for the first time since a LONG time, in Athens, with some nice women that are also volunteering...

I felt for the first time less of an alien since I came back from Lesvos. 

I felt happiness, sympathy and understanding.
I did not have to feel guilty for checking my phone every now and then and answer to refugees & volunteers' queries and update myself regarding how many NON Syrians, Afghans & Iraqis are stuck in our borders.

Why did I feel like an alien since I came back though?

Well because in Athens, life goes on (!) as if there are no people dying in our Greek seas...

People go to their jobs, youngsters are out with their friends...the neighbors keep throwing their rubbish in my bin, friends are still asking me when we will go for a coffee....bills need to be paid, sun is shining and I am the only one stuck in time, memories and hardcore experiences that I went through my 2 missions.

I hit my knee and I start crying like a baby, "what is wrong with  me", I was wondering?

I  was waking up and I realized that I was dreaming of the camps in Skala Sykamnia & OXY and of the people walking on the streets of Lesvos. THIS ENDLESS WALK. Hundreds of people walking by the side of the road, hungry, thirsty, exhausted....Some of them get even some rest without caring if someone may hit them with the car...

I don't know how many bananas, apples, water bottles and salty snacks I gave away during the first mission in Lesvos. 
I only know that the money run out so fast under these circumstances.....that you thank God for having a credit card able to pay the big supermarkets.

You FORGET about the CRISIS in GREECE.... You realize you are OK as long as you have a house to stay, freedom of speech and food to eat. As long as your country is not bombed every day...



{ And now that I am writing this down, I still avoid to go online and pay the UNFAIR TAXES that the CORRUPTED government DEMAND from me }

People, friends and relatives, keep asking me:

"Why you don't stop for a little bit?"
 Stop what? Will the war stop too as long as I am going to take my break? 

Why people do NOT understand?
Shall I force them to watch the video of the 11 years old kid who hung himself in Moria?
(Please note that Muslims do NOT suicide like westerns do, they have a very low rate)

Shall I start talking about the woman who passed out on me once she arrived from Turkey and stepped on the land?

Shall I tell them about the angry Afghans with the wooden sticks outside Moria that were attacking  whoever was not "behaving" and the policemen were..........DOING NOTHING more than keeping their shields strongly to protect themselves?
Shall I tell them about how is the detention center INSIDE ? About the unaccompanied minors?
About the humane faeces we, the volunteers, had to clean for the YNHCR in order for the electrician and the plumber to be able to work inside the rooms and toilets (where we put 150 people to change clothes, get hot showers and eat & rest like normal human beings after DAYS UNDER THE RAIN) ?

Should I repeat that my back was still in terrible pain the 30th of October from the rain that fell on me the 24rth of October in Moria?

Or maybe I shall inform them that when they ask me to go for a coffee, other people send me messages to ask help in order to take their relatives' dead bodies to Iraq or Syria and bury them (cost of 5000 euros).

Isn't it so sad that the only people who can understand you are the ones you met there and the specialists (psychologists, psychiatrists that are ready to listen to us after our missions) ?

Did anyone think that maybe all that changed me irreversibly?

The thing is that when you have lost your mother early and there is no more family left behind after her loss because her parents died too and your father is a person sentimentally retarded which happens to be your father only by DNA meanings, there is nothing left, practically, to be attached with, that much, that you would think twice if you should or should not go back there and continue helping these people, the island and its environment.

I mean, there is no grandma in need of you, there is no mum under chemo, there is not any meaningful job that will give you any insurance or any meaningful future... At the end of the day, there is no one back home that cannot live without you. Which is sad. But true.

I know I am loved but I know that everyone will go on with their lives regardless if I am here or there, dead or alive. So why shall I stop helping these people in need? Do I have a child depending on me? If this is what I can do better, at the moment, why shall I even try to go back to "normal"? Everyone knows I could not be a housewife or an employee of an international company more than 2 months. Everyone knows that I am a dedicated volunteer, an activist for whatever feels ethically right and for whoever needs help and is voiceless. 
And in that case, these people are voiceless. Because there is no one speaking their language around here.

So why the hassle to ask me why I keep being involved even from Athens?

And yes, once you go out on a mission, you may get "addicted" to the feelings that you experience. 

To be honest, I was never a humanitarian activist until now. I was only taking care of animals under extinction, abused ones and the stray ones that I was finding on my path. 
But this has a reason: PEOPLE were always UNGRATEFUL until now
I will never forget the homeless guy in Montpellier that asked me for cigarettes when I went to give him sheets and a sleeping bag....

Of course Khiwangangana in Rwanda (ActionAid virtual adoption) is the exception that shows that people can still be grateful and there are still pure souls on this Earth. His drawings and his letters were warming my heart twice a year. But is this enough to keep my hope for humanity?

Well, Syrians entered my life and a BIG lightening shined humanity.

I don't think there are words to explain the feeling that some of them made me experience.
I would never expect my self talking for hours to people that I don't know and need help but do not ask for it
I would never expect that people can be THAT grateful, THAT polite and THAT P U R E.
                                        And when  I say pure, I mean tabula rasa.

So the reason I decided to go for it is because only my mum made me feel THAT loved. And I miss her since she left not only because she was my mum but mostly because she was the only real friend with who I could talk about everything. Together we laughed, we traveled, we cried and the love between us was altruistic. No give and take. And every intelligent being that is reading this text now knows very well that no one except mothers can love, give and care without waiting someone for exchange, in the everyday life.


The day I managed to cook for 1500 exhausted and hungry refugees, without electricity, water or supplies, with Nikos from the village of Sykamnia, will always be on of the days that I will never forget. 

The sound of 400 people snoring in the camp, stage B at Skala, will always come back to my ears.

The smell of the camps will always be in my memory. And it's not a smell of faeces but a smell of human flesh. A smell of sadness, a smell of the war that these people bring with them and try to leave behind...

The STRONG goodbye hug of this volunteer from Norway will always be in my mind.

Giada's love will always remind me that some people can really love me even after living with me 24/7 under extremely hard circumstances. 

Aida's generosity and Toni's smile will follow me in Lesvos even when I'll go back and they will not be there.

The man from Syria who wanted to give us his ring in exchange of the ride we gave him to the camp will always make my stomach hurt. 

This girl from Afghanistan that told us "I love you" & " You are beautiful" will also warm my heart some days like today....

And all these, totally wet, men in Moria that were shaking from cold and were thanking me with only a glance for hugging them with emergency blankets, will always be in my mind when it's raining cats and dogs....

The hardest part is yet to come. 

I hope I will be able to continue helping on site but also sharing the REAL NEWS to create public awareness and wake up more people, as long as my mental and physical health leaves me to do so.
I also hope that my closest people will support me rather than underestimating the level of urgency of this refugees crisis. 

Mostly though, I hope that everyone around me will understand that all this matters all of us. Not only the brave ones.


This blog post is dedicated to Diesel who died in the name of human's war for this human center world we live in.



  1. You are an angel...the only different is that you are a little bit...relax...every now and then...ang keep acting, girl!!! ♡ u for what you are!!!♡♡♡

  2. You are just an great person. We talk alot and we nevey meet but even with that i could feel how grat you are.

  3. I echo the words of Anastasia, you are such a open book which is giving the real meaning of life with your open pages of experiences, inviting people to reflect upon what hypocrisy is being played in this world against the life of innocent people.

    You are a very hard working lady, I can also add that you are a true friend and humanitarian volunteer. Helping me to drive back to Skala as I could not drive back alone after 22 hours of volunteering that day, as also being myself heart patient but your work gave me more energy yo volunteer more.

    Remember dear, you are not alone and we will always be there for you as a friend and as we appreciate your helping humans and creating awareness.

    Be blessed !!!! Hero of Lesbos, many refugees and us praying for you.

    Your well wisher and fellow volunteer from Switzerland.

    Shakir Ibrahim

  4. Thank you for being the wonderful Human you are. And yes, you can never go back to your old normal. But please become comfortable with the new you. You have grown and connected with a bigger world. If you ever need to talk about it I'm here for you.

  5. i have not many words. Only confirming the angel you are in the body of a human. I hope u also find the strength to take care of urself. SO then u have again enough power to do all the amazing work.. I know the feeling of loneliness/disconnection. I know it. And you find the connection & the love within the amazing work u do..xxxx

  6. Keep going Elisabeth. You are made to help the voiceless, even in extreme cases. This is your purpose. I wish you always to be strong with a big warm heart.