A moment to reflect...
Charles & Maggie Bevis
Wed 26 Jul 2017 19:28
And so today, I've had my first REAL experience of Syrian refugees and it breaks my heart.
There are two German patrol boats that are stationed here in Vathi, on the island of Samos, and have been here for the past twelve months. They are in port during the daytime but go out on patrol at night, once everywhere becomes "quiet, but the mission is to help save lives.
Ultimately, (and funded by the German government), they're here to pick up/save refugees crossing the Aegean sea during the night/small hours, (it doesn't happen in daylight), passing from Turkey into Greece, and to save them from those vile traffickers who set them out to sea in inappropriate boats/dinghies, regardless of the weather and conditions, but having extracted goodness knows how much money from them.
Today we have been well and truly stranded in Vathi, due to very strong winds and have been unable to even leave the boat as we just couldn't predict if the boat was safe in port!
Today, I saw and then met a man and a young boy, of approximately 8 or 9 years old.
Although I can't explain how or why, there were quite a few dead fish in the sea around us, and this man and boy, where trying to scoop them up; they were very excited! I passed our boat hook to them so they could try to grab them, or at least get them closer to the shore so they could pick them up. With waves breaking on the quay and regardless of how wet they became, they succeeded in capturing the dead fish and put them into a bucket, which we gave to them. They were very 'grateful!'
Feeling totally humbled, I asked them if they were from Syria and they confirmed that they were recently 'escaped' from there, but the man explained that he had his wife and son, but had lost his daughter. A lovely man and delightful child. I was beside myself and felt I need to do a little bit more. I asked them to wait and dashed below into the boat to get some items together. I was able to give some food and a large bag of clothing, towels etc to them and again, was totally humbled by their response. As I write this I am very close to crying ...
Please don't ever think you have a hard life.
Here today in Samos, I met a dignified and professional man, who speaks at least two languages and is now trying to learn some English, along with a young son, who is also trying to learn and speak Greek and English, who have lost absolute EVERYTHING and are grateful for anything. They are in a different country, with different cultures and not knowing where they will go to next, but are grateful for a bag of clothes, some food and a few other items that we could give to them.
I could cry a river. There are hundreds of thousands I will never meet and heaven forbid, I will never have to endure a fraction of what they have gone through, nor will I have to escape the brutalism or endure any kind of suffering. I will never have to cope with what these dignified people have had to cope with, nor, I hope, ever to have to wonder where my future lies.
Aren't we lucky?
And if you should be feeling a little bit sorry for yourself, think again...