On the island, I experienced a lot of defining moments and very strong emotions, goosebumps, shivering, wanting to cry because of this unbearable injustice. But instead you smile because you want to make the people feel good. Looking back, most of the emotions were positive and I was happy because I could relieve the suffering a little just by me helping this marvelous people.
Ines Johne :: Spain / Germany :: Age: 48
When did you Arrive and for how long ( alone or with friends ) ?
On February 7, 2016 I arrived on the island of Lesvos. On March 12, I headed together with a good friend, whom I met in Skala Sikaminias, to Idomeni, where I stayed until March 26. I came to Lesvos my own, however I contacted an NGO several weeks before to find out where I could help best. Finally I came to the Lighthouse camp.
What reactions did you get from family and friends before coming ?
Before my trip, I got very good feedback from my family & friends, who let me know that they were very proud of me. (Although other acquaintances made stupid comments like “Be careful that they (the refugees) don’t rape you”). There were also people who didn’t know where Lesvos was, although this international crisis is being broadcasted in the news on a daily basis.
What did you know about the place before arriving ?
Before I arrived I knew nothing about Lesvos. It is a beautiful island and the Greek people are very friendly. Of course, I knew about the refugee crisis and how Europe is violating Human Rights there.
Why did I come to Lesvos?
My only answer is that my inner feelings told me to go.
An influential / defining moment you had on the Island ?
On the island, I experienced a lot of defining moments and very strong emotions… Goosebumps, shivering, wanting to cry because of this unbearable injustice. But instead you smile because you want to make the people feel good. Looking back, most of the emotions were positive and I was happy because I could relieve the suffering a little just by me helping this marvelous people.
What did you learn new about life and people?
Also I learnt that I was right and that there are still many good people in this world and that everybody who lives in a first-world country should not miss to say “Thank you” every day for the wonderful life he has.
Have you experienced moments of crisis or trauma?
Especially in Idomeni I learnt that I am quite strong because I didn´t experience moments of crisis or trauma.
Do you remember anyone in particular among refugees or volunteers?
I will never forget the deep gratitude and smiles of the refugees for every simple and small help that I offered.
What are you taking with you back home?
A strong feeling of injustice and deception about the politicians of this world.
As result of this journey I am going to start working as a volunteer at Caritas (a confederation of Catholic relief, development and social service organizations operating in over 200 countries and territories worldwide) as they are doing a lot of very good social projects on the island of Mallorca where I live.