There was no reaction there. And one by one all the kids that I grabbed and passed to my colleagues had the same expression … the same eyes. Terrify, tears, breathless . I saw nothing but fear .
Those faces I will never forget and will always allowe me to keep fighting for that future where everyone is equal, no matter where they came from, what they speak or who they pray for
Gus Viera :: Marketing Manager :: Spain :: Age 34
Why did I come here ?
I suffered from a medical problem and was depending on help from another person for a while. That’s when I realized how important that “someone” – that helping person is. I decided then that I will be more active in social work and I started to volunteer in a variety of fields.
What did you know about the place before you arrived?
I did a lot of research. I knew some people, so I came here well informed. Of course there are many “surprises.”
When did you arrive and for how long (alone or with friends) have you been here?
I arrived on February 21st and I have been here by myself for 3 weeks.
What reactions did you get from family and friends before you came?
It pissed me off that a lot of people didn´t know about Lesvos. I started explaining and this is what I have been doing since. After people understood where I am going, a lot of them said nice things to me. I realized that to the people it’s something really big, because no one in Spain thinks about going somewhere to volunteer. It is sad.
An influential moment that you had.
When the boats arrive, seeing the panic in the children’s faces. One particular moment was when I met Yasir. It was a normal day at the Camp and Jenny decide to make a BBQ. We had music, food, and everybody was there. Then we got the message of an imminent boat arrival at 3pm (something completely unusual). This particular boat was hard for me because I was the first at the boat and it was full of kids and babies. When I saw Yasir, the first time, he was like paralyzed. I looked into his face and he didn’t look like a child. There was no reaction. All the children that I lifted up and handed to my colleagues had the same expression … the same eyes: terrified, in tears, breathless. I saw nothing but fear.
I will never forget their faces and this will allow me to always keep fighting for a future in which everyone is equal, Where it will not matter where someone is from, what language he speaks or to whom he prays. Another amazing moment was when Nidal, a Kurdish refugee from Syria, understood what my tattoo means – it is a symbol for refugees, a refugee family next to the word “welcome” written in both Arabic and Farsi – and Nidal asked me to write “OBRIGADO” – Portuguese for THANK YOU – on his arm.
What did you learn about life and people that you didn’t know before?
The terms humanity, family and welcome now have a new meaning for me. I learned that we can make the world a better place and that there are amazing people fighting for it.
Do you remember anyone in particular among the refugees or volunteers?
Amir from Afghanistan is a great guy. He got stuck in Idomeni with his family. I met him in the Moria camp. He is a Parkour instructor.
What are you taking home with you?
The feeling that I know what real life is. What I experienced was far more important than everything I have back home. I am taking home the will and strength to fight for a better world. And I’m taking real friends that I met. Thank you so much for showing me how amazing humans been can be. I leave happier than I ever was and I feel honored to have been there with people like this. Efharisto!!!