“In my first visit, I was overwhelmed by what I saw. Imagine a military compound that was built to house around 1,200 people. It only has the sewage and water infrastructure for that many, and yet almost 6,000 people were living there. They are not all Syrian Families, they represent 40 different Nations: Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Mali, the Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, even Haiti. Families, single men and women, unaccompanied minors (many who have lost entire families). All living in a very small space many of them in tents.
It was a lot to take in at once and as we got to know people it changed so many things about how I saw the Refugee Crisis. Going in I had a “Headline View”, when I came back I had gained the “Human View.” I realised that the Refugee label had kept me from seeing those seeking refuge as people. I recognized that a Refugee is not a kind of nationality or citizenship, but a season of life and a journey. I wanted to change everything for them, I still do, but I saw how even in a week of serving we were able to accomplish a lot that couldn’t be done without the help of volunteers.
The Spring visit to Moria was in many respects much harder than the Autumn, which is ironic considering things have improved in camp, at least in terms of housing. When we walked into the camp for our orientation, I was shocked to see most of the tents were gone and now almost everyone is housed in an ISO box (like a container). Even the number of people had gone down to about 4500. The camp seemed cleaner. And yet almost 400 new people arrived in the time we were there and so more tents were having to be put back up for them again.
There was a NY Times article about Moria that came out the week we were there. The article ends with an Ethiopian Refugee saying, yes there is still hope, because there is still a tomorrow. And that is what I see there. It is not an easy place, but it still is a good place and there is still hope. I made new friends this time and ran into three of the guys I met in the Autumn. They are doing well, despite the fact they are still on Lesbos, but they haven’t given up hope. We still smiled and shook hands and I will keep them in my thoughts and prayers, that they would have Hope and a Future.
GAiN UK have teams going regularly to serve alongside local partners and enable them to respond to the ongoing crisis. Would you like to be part of helping with heart and hand and join their next team? You can find out more about future teams here: globalaidnetwork.org.uk/getinvolved.