Volunteering in Moria - a refugee camp on the island of Lesvos, has been the worst, best and most significant experience of my life. Someone described it as an organized slum, I laughed at the time but that’s so accurate. If I could tell every person I met these things - I would.
I’M SORRY & I LOVE YOU.
I’m sorry - you are no longer safe in your home country, but I love the hope and risks you took for a better life.
I’m sorry I’ve heard your problem and said: “yes i understand” when really - i don’t and never will. I love your patience with my terrible Farsi speaking skills and the giggles we have when I finally get the word right.
I’m sorry this place isn’t the prettiest, barbwire, locks and tall fences aren’t the most aesthetic. I’m sorry you feel like animals, I hear you and I wish I could sit with you and chat for hours. - I love the organizations who have incorporated art into camp. They bring light to a dark place.
I’m sorry to the volunteers and new friends who show up not knowing what to expect. I love that you give it your all. That wether it’s shovelling gravel, or begging people to make room in an already small space - that you laugh, encourage each other and in some cases even want to come back.
I’m sorry to the long term volunteers who sacrifice a lot to be there - I love how you are though, yet gentle. You are patient as we try and learn the ropes of what it means to serve this community.
I’m sorry your 70 year old Dad will have a hard time walking up the stairs to your container home, but that is the only place your family of 9 will fit. I love that ever since he never fails wave and smile at me from the window.
I’m sorry that you are a single woman who came alone and had to work in a factory in Turkey on your way here, but I promise you are still valuable. I love that you feel comfortable sharing your story with me, that you let me hug and pray for you.
I’m sorry I can’t give you that extra half a meter of space. There is another single dad just like you with a young son who needs a floor to sleep. I love that 3 days later your sons have become friends.
I’m sorry the food isn’t great - I can’t imagine only eating this bland airplane food, but I love seeing different cultures change it up and make it their own. (I especially like the fresh bread & donuts)
I’m sorry to wake you while you are fasting to bother you once again about making room for new arrivals. I love how you still invite me in for chai while we talk it out.
I’m sorry the last resort is to bring the police - “Moria very small , with many people”. I love how the next day feels brand new, you forgive me and understand and I am so grateful.
I’m sorry that due to the unknown number of new boats and people arriving we can’t give out everything we have - I love seeing you be resourceful. Creating areas for laundry, sharing with your new neighbours, adding some “home decor”, making the most of your situation.
I’m sorry that you are sick, I’m even more sorry that your baby is sick - I love that you are able to get a little bit of rest and that there are volunteer doctors who speak multiple languages eager to help you.
I’m sorry I don’t have all the answers. I love that you are patient as we scramble to decipher Greek letters and find out what you need.
I’m sorry that you are the only one left in your family and are still considered a minor. I love that you still have 16 year old guy dreams - finishing school & playing football and how that is now a possibility. I am excited for you my friends!
I’m sorry that you are a single man who feels like they’ve been thrown into the jungle. I love seeing you step up and take responsibilities wether that’s becoming a translator for volunteers, representing your community or helping others find their way.
I’m sorry that the Greek economy sucks - that this crisis doesn’t help it at all. I love seeing Moria open up some work opportunities for locals, I loved ease dropping on some Greek police practice some Arabic with their new friends.
I’m sorry your husband got sent to the detention centre, I love our memory of crying together hoping they would release him and the smile you had when you were reunited.
I’m sorry I got to go home and come back while you stayed here. I love our surprising reunion, and hearing about how far you’ve come since your first day in camp.
I’m sorry that waiting for asylum takes so long. I love the celebrations and smiles on your faces when it’s finally your turn to leave to the mainland.
I’m sorry that all I can do when we say goodbye is maybe take a quick illegal selfie for my own memories and pray for the rest of your journey.
I’m sorry it has to be this way, but to everyone in Moria, know that we love you.