Stepping Into Refugees’ Shoes

I had a vision.  A vision of a little girl coming from Syria to live a new life here in Greece. She had hope.  She saw the island, she was only about ten metres from the shore.  She could do it.  Couldn’t she?  The little girl jumped off the rubber boat into the water, excited to see her destiny.  But panic took over her body, she was floating, but it didn’t feel like it. She felt like she was sinking, she couldn’t swim.

Luckily her life vest wasn’t like the ones that I’ve heard about, the ones that are filled with paper and grass.  The little girl looked questioningly at people screaming on the beach.  “Kick your legs!  Kick your legs!” She didn’t know much english but she understood what they meant.  The little girl began kicking her legs.  She was moving!  It felt like magic. She was doing this. She got to the shore exhausted.  The little girl didn’t want anything to do with her life jacket any more.  She threw it on the ground.

Now here it is.  Sitting right in front of me, in the dump.  It astounds me that we are about to make a dress out of it.  That was when I realized that each and every vest represents a refugee, represents a story.


I am currently in Lesbos, where almost half of the refugees in Greece have come.  We went for a hike to a dump were all of the refugees life vests have ended up.  But they were not only refugees, they were migrants too.  Many had left their passports on the beach so that they could pretend to be Syrian refugees, because refugees have more rights to be in a different country than migrants, migrants can be sent back but refugees can’t.

Being here in Lesbos, I come to find out how desperate these refugees and migrants really are.  They are letting these volunteers organise and set up their life.  And I also find out how lucky I really am.  I feel spoiled.  I feel like I have the world, I have everything and these people have nothing.

One thought on “Stepping Into Refugees’ Shoes

  1. Pat mc Donald says:

    I was “too” old to go rafting when I was in Bali so you are so lucky to have had the chance to see the incredible rain forest up close. We are so lucky. I also learned the difference between a migrant and a refugee. It has to be life changing for all of you to be a part of all this and to have seen all this and to try to absorb it all. It is wonderful for you all to be helping those in need.


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