I knew everything that was going on for a long time. Heard it from friends, watching it on the news, reading it on the newspaper…I’ve a grade in International Cooperation and I’ve been working as a nurse before, in India, Peru and Cameroun. I stopped because I had a son, but now he is 9 years old and I thought, what the hell, if I don’t go now I will regret it for the rest of my life. So I did, got plane tickets, stole lots of medical materials from the hospital I work in, and explained to my son that mummy had to go ‘cause for me is one of the most important things: to help people.

Nuria Sala de la Torre :: Nunu ::  From Catalonia :: Age: 40 :: Emergency care nurse.

What did you know about the place before arriving: I knew quite a lot because a friend of mine had been three times and was going again. I also joined a Catalan NGO and was already into it.

When did you arrive to Lesvos: the 29th February.

How long are you here for: just two weeks. Sooo short time!!

Did you come alone or  with friends: Alone, I just knew people that was already on the island by facebook. But to tell you the truth I’ve never felt alone in Lesvos.

What reactions did you get from family and friends before coming: A little bit of everything. Surprise, admiration, funny looks, some “are you crazy?”, be careful, etc.

An influential / defining moment you had on the Island: I found again, I’d thought I had lost it, this gigantic capacity to give love to people. It’s an amazing feeling that comes from inside of me. It happened the first time I saw a boat arriving on the shore. A woman was panicking, crying and I just couldn’t stop embracing her, looking into her eyes, then I realized that, the most beautiful thing, she was the one helping me.  

What did you learn new about life and people: Ufff, I’ve got all these mixed feelings. On one hand, I feel frustrated, angry, I can’t understand how terrible the humanity can be. And on the other hand I met all these amazing people, with enormous strength, refugees and volunteers from around the world, the first ones, traveling from far away to escape from ruined lives, risking their lives, and yet they never lost that smile, oh that smile. It breaks my heart. And then all the volunteers, leaving everything behind, jobs, family, spending their own money, and spreading this amazing good energy around. I felt really loved from this people I didn’t know.

Have you experienced moments of crisis or trauma: Unfortunately yes. Really hard moments, when your brain explodes and your heart breaks!! ‘cause you won’t believe that what’s going on is truly happening right there at your face. I suffer when people suffers. My empathy levels are really high.

Do you remember anyone in particular among refugees: Yes, and I’m worried that I will forget them because I didn’t take any pictures and they may fade away in time. But there’s this kid I gave him my son’s favorite T-shirt, on my son’s behalf, he’s so sweet!! And the woman with the nervous breakdown on my first boat. But what I really think I will remember are the eye looks and the smiles.  

What are you taking with you back home: Well, people back here in Barcelona, keeps asking me if I had a nice time, if everything well, and I don’t know what to answer. I guess it did went well, but at the same time it didn’t. I had time to meet amazing people, eat wonderful food, have some beers, breath nice clean air, watch the stars at night…But what I take with me back home is a feeling of not wanting to go back home, of not have done enough for these people, with the feeling that everything’s still and will stay the same. It’s frustrating and a really sad situation when you cannot share this amazing experience with anybody. It’s so impossible to make them understand what’s everything about.

What I’m going to say now may sound a bit selfish, but this experience has put me back to where I was many years before. I used to be more spiritual, more empowered of myself, but I can’t remember at what point of my life I lost it. Maybe because I had my son and I really couldn’t just leave him and go, my mind found a more comfortable place, and I forgot the main reason of my existence, to care and love.