More notes from a Greek island


Coming to the end of another day (it’s 2 hours ahead) although there is a boat coming in an hour or so for definite and more later, who knows. One of the boats that came in this morning was full of men of different nationalities. People don’t have a great deal of choice over which boat they go in, whether with family or not. I could go on forever about the stories around this but it would be an hour long post.

Four men are currently sat on the beach since this morning waiting for their wives, children and mothers to come on a boat from Turkey. There is no guarantee that that they will arrive on that beach or, indeed, arrive at all. Their fear is palpable. With a few words they said that the Russians have bombed their homes, picking up a handful of dust to show what remains of their lives.

On the same boat this morning was an elderly Palestinian man. Born with polio he left his home due to war. A refugee in Syria he became headmaster of a university. In recent times his home was bombed and his son was shot. He came off of the boat in a wheelchair, both of his legs have been amputated, waving and smiling. He insisted on photos and had us all roaring with laughter. He’ll certainly light up whatever part of the world he ends up in. Exchanges are brief but intense and it’s hard not knowing what is going to happen to people. That man will make any situation he finds himself a good one. A truly amazing hilarious man.

Late last night in the pitch black a boat full of people with very young children arrived. I found myself holding a 3 week old baby boy. All soaked and freezing cold, it’s quick get wet clothes off, dry the little people, rummage around and try and find clothes and blankets then hot drink and food. Imagine camping in the dark but in a very big hurry trying to clothe many children and sort out over 100 traumatised people, everyone tripping over one another and also raise spirits. While parents were going to get cuts and bruises sorted I found myself holding a rather surreal and impromptu puppet show in semi darkness. You need a very intact sense of humour to go with it all.


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