Last week, Martina transited via Athens on her return to Italy for a two week break from her work on Kastellorizo. Below a touching letter she wrote to the Team about her stay in Athens where she saw again many of the families and people whom had arrived on Kastelorizo weeks earlier and whom she had assisted with first aid and firs welcome into Europe. A picture which remains very complex and heartbreaking, as as much as we can do on the small island of Kastelorizo, the bigger picture remains very confusing and blurry, with many people remaining stuck at various points of their journey through Europe:
As I already mentioned to Madhuri, during my time transiting in Athens, I visited the refugee camp of Eleonas and I went for a walk to the harbor.
I had remained in touch with several families who had come by Kastellorizo and one of these families is still in Athens, at the Eleonas camp. When I told them that I was in Athens, they immediately invited me to go see them for a tea. We spent several hours together chatting in a small room with two bunk beds for 4 adults, 2 children and a newborn baby.
Ameer is a pharmacist and his wife a physiotherapist and they both speak excellent English and are absolutely wonderful people. During our chat, I discovered that unfortunately, the wife suffers from a serious illness. They are very worried about the fact that she cannot be treated and they do not know whether her condition is stable or if it has worsened. The other woman living with them is pregnant and their six year-old-child has stopped speaking.
Together with a boy from Iraq whom I also know from Kastellorizo, I decided to go for a walk and explore the situation at Piraeus harbor. I was expecting to see a few familiar faces but I was certainly not expecting what I in fact experienced. As soon as I got off the bus, which took us to camp number 4, I heard various children’s voices shouting my name and immediately others started getting out of their tents. I met more or less 100 people who had been with me in Kastellorizo a month ago. They left the island when the borders were already closed, I saw them boarding on the big ferry leaving from Kastellorizo, not knowing what would happen to them, and thinking I would never see them again. They are still there, waiting. I have to say that for me personally, it was hugely emotional, and they were all very surprised and very happy. They all asked me to join them in their tents for tea. Languages are not at all a barrier in these cases, smiles are much more important. It was a beautiful moment that I will never forget and I cannot stop thinking how thankful I am that our paths crossed.