Flying a kite on Lesbos

Today, another volunteer and me are picking up a family from a shelter. We are taking them on an outing for a few hours. It’s a beautiful day. Father, mother, grandma and four children are already waiting for us. We drive to the Roman aquaduct to have a picknick there. On the way over there I worry a little, would the children like this, or would it be boring for them? But as soon as we leave the town of Moria and the aquaduct comes in sight, I hear ‘Wow…. Amazing!’ from the back seat. I think we’re fine!

We have taken a picknick tarp and sit between the olive trees, close to a tiny stream. We listen to the sounds around us. Father tells us he enjoys the sound of the water so much. He hasn’t heard this in a long time. Mother, grandmother and the girls are picking flowers. They even find the tiniest flowers. We make floral wreaths out of daisies to put in our hair. We check on the chickens and try to find a rooster. We blow bubbles. The son makes boats and lets them float on the stream. I see a family really enjoying themselves.

Father tells about the choices they have had to make. Choices I never hope to make, that nobody ever should have to make. It really hits home with me. Especially because the contrast with this beautiful day is so great. He tells about how sad he is that his children have not been able to go to school for a year now. I see the children enjoying things that should be normal for every child. But everything is different here…

My colleague has brought along a kite. The kids have never flown a kite before. We try it together. From the corner of my eye I see father and mother talking together on the picknick tarp. A moment to themselves, a moment without worries. The kite takes some practice, but it works. It goes higher and higher and the responses from the children echo throughout the valley. It seems so small, but is at the same time priceless. To me, the kite represents freedom. The freedom I have, but others don’t. The contrast is so big. I am glad I was able to do this. I hope I have been able to bring some light and air in a very difficult situation. Judging from the red cheeks and grandma’s smile in the back seat, we have succeeded.

Text: Manon Mol
Photo: Manon Mol