About a year ago I posted the following about a rainy day in the Moria Refugee Camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece:
“When the rain let up a bit, we started again distributing the thermal underwear. As I walked up a hill, to my left, I noticed a young woman peeking through the opening of her tent. She cradled a young baby in her arms, and the baby looked like he was breastfeeding. A moment later she raised the baby’s head in her arms, and you could see his round face and big eyes under a knitted cap. His eyes were his mother’s eyes. A member of our team asked if we could take a picture, and the woman smiled and shook her head “yes.”
I did not then know what to say to this young mother, or what to do. I kissed my hand, placed it on the boy’s head, and told the mother he was beautiful, not knowing whether she understood me. I smiled, and then left quickly. How could I let her see my eyes? How could I show her that her life, her baby’s life, could cause people to cry? How could I let any hope she may have be drowned by another’s tears?”
Since that day last year, the screensaver on my cellphone and a picture on my office wall have been of that beautiful young woman and her baby boy, with me since they peered out of their tent on that cold, rainy, muddy day. For a year, I have not been able to shake the feeling I had when I first saw them. Their eyes, their beauty, her pride. My barely held back tears, my leaving them, my selfish sense of their hopelessness.
When I went back to Moria this past December and January, I looked for them, walking past the spot where their tent had been, wondering if I would see them. I was grateful that I did not, giving me hope that they are closer to a place they can call home.
While I have carried the picture with me every day, and had it on my office wall, I have not otherwise shared it with others. I do now.
The situation in the Middle East is getting worse, with hundreds of thousands again fleeing bombings and other military actions. Many will try to make their way to Greece, as this young mother and her son did last year. Many will end up in tents in the Olive Grove outside Moria Camp.
The group I volunteered with is Movement on the Ground. It is doing incredible work in improving the conditions in the Olive Grove outside Moria Camp, and in recognizing the dignity of all. You can learn about them by following this link, and if you wish to help them, you may do so here.
If you are willing to watch, read, and listen some more, I am willing to share, and then perhaps together we can make a difference. Thanks!