Last night we drove to the coast to see if any boats would arrive. Nothing happened however. We did see the coast guard patrolling the area. Turkey is ridiculously close, the sea of lights that is Bodrum. There was too much wind and therefore heavy waves. This morning the large ferry came into the harbor, leaving quickly with thousands of refugees on board.
But many still remain. It is a bizarre mix of two worlds. There are two types of tourists here in the touristic center of Kos city. You have the ‘normal’ tourists who are standing around like one would do around a train wreck, and then there are the refugees, mostly Syrians, and often times families. We saw a 12-day old baby, born in Kobani. And then there are the Pakistanis, Afghans and Bengalis, mostly young men with a single dream, to reach Germany! Lastly there are Saudis, sheik-like people, and Africans.
This morning we continued to carry out our routine of handing out water to the people waiting in the hot sun at the police station. This evening we handed out toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, etc.) to the Pakistanis, who were in dire need of these items. We also treated a burn wound and a broken toe.
We met with Doctors without Borders (MSF) this afternoon. They asked if Pieter would join them as a doctor and Hillien as a lactation expert.
And finally, what beautiful people.
1. A mother who is on vacation with her two daughters, and another Dutch girl, have helped every single day with handing out items. Tomorrow they return to their homes with special memories. The coming days a Dutch woman and an Irish couple will also be helping out, they were moved by what they saw us do. Other people heading here on vacation have offered to bring a suitcase with supplies.
2. We had dinner at an Armenian Greek restaurant. He asks us, “what are you paying for the water bottles?” Well, €5 for 24 bottles. That is much too expensive, he said indignantly. “I’ll sell them to you for €3.50, the purchase price.” This obviously saves a lot of money when we’re buying over 1,000 bottles each day. “It is a present from me for the refugees.” This makes us very happy. The Greek are truly beautiful people!
We talk to a lot of Greeks about their thoughts regarding the refugee crisis and politics. This shows the other side of things. Which is very understandable. It is a difficult situation for them. Some places are complete messes. Tents are everywhere. People are sleeping on the sidewalks on pieces of cardboard. The penetrating smell of urine is sometimes unbearable, and the women have to use the toilets in restaurants. Shopkeepers and other business owners are suffering a loss of income.
The problem is too big for the Greeks to handle alone. Europe must start taking responsibility. In spite of everything, refugees remain people, in need of humanitarian help.
We are thankful that we can be here and help out.
Update: this morning we were offered water for only €1.27!