This is a translation of the post from February 1st, 2016
On the first walk around Mytilini you can already see the drama. The beaches are sprinkled with life vests, rubber boat parts, wet jackets and bags full of sand, and shoes. The man who brings the food to Pikpa was telling me this morning that the arrival of refugees became already a part of the island. In days like today, where the wind blows from the south giving the sea a treacherous calm aspect, his thought and the thoughts of his neighbours is not only with the fishers, who will not leave harbor today, but also with the refugees, who oculd get trapped by the merciless winds during the sea crossing.
He explained me that in our way to Pikpa with his van, as he picked me up from the road. Pikpa is a small sanctuary for refugees in high vulnerability situation. This includes families with only one parent left, injured people, elderly, discapacitated, etc. When these people arrive at the registration, if they comply with a series of conditions, they are offered to rest and recover in Pikpa for a while, before continuing their journey.
In Pikpa I did rooms, cultivated the garden, sorted rubber boat parts for reuse, and entretained little kids. Masut, an afghan boy that speaks no single word which is not in Farsi, decided to accompany me in most of these tasks. For him, I even drank a super-sweet coffee that he brought to me as I arrived at the camp this morning (note: I don’t drink coffee!). Also I hope the clothes I brought suit some refugees in this camp.
Little more there is to explain, as I’ve been here only three days. If there’s enough volunteers in Pikpa to cover all jobs, I will try to visit and collaborate with other projects around the island where they might need more help, and also to get a broader picture of the situation. So far I’ll keep for myself some of the things I have seen so far, or opinions about the challenges to work with refugees and with volunteers, waiting for them to evolve further with the experiences to come.