A Greek Odyssey — Any given Sunday

After glorious sunshine and calm conditions yesterday, today is wet and mucky. A dirt road skirts the beaches of Eftalou and the cliffs above them. That is the road we patrol — keeping watch for boats. Usually the home turf of sheep, the track has rock slides, hairpin bends and sheer drops. I have already had to trade my hire car for a 4x4 and today was one of those days that I was glad I learned how to drive in a tractor!

Sunday was not to be a day of rest. 7 boats arrived before 11am. The scramble to get everybody safe, warm and dry is frenetic. All arrived wet, all were cold. There was one woman who had had a broken arm (in two places) for a week! The Spanish lifeguards escort a distressed boat to safety. The British, American and Israeli doctors check them over. The international group of volunteers get them warm.

Today I was the “lollipop lady”, with a stash of yummy Greek sweeties in my pocket (courtesy of a departing volunteer). I think the international language of lollipop worked a treat and brought lovely smiles to little faces — I am going to make sure I have them at all times.

There tends to be a rush of boats early in the morning and later in the evening. There are many theories why but there seems to be little rhyme or reason. In the “downtime” between boats, we clean the beaches. The one we attacked today was a beach that we had cleaned 2 days ago — but the mountain of lifejackets (mostly fake) just keeps growing.

I am now getting accustomed to seeing the lifejackets, but I don’t think I can ever get used to seeing deeply personal possessions washed up on a beach - wedding pictures, notes, baby soothers, prayer books. It breaks my heart to think of all the refugees have left behind, and what they’ve been forced to abandon on their journey.

Those images stay with me.

More anon


P.s I really appreciate all the lovely messages of support. If you would like to help further, I have put together a funding site to purchase practical items while here on Lesvos. More information here. https://chuffed.org/project/a-greek-odyssey-help-where-its-most-needed

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