This could be a picture of me and my nephew.
But it’s Adouan. He arrived on Lesbos 15 minutes before taking this picture. By boat. This boat. With three, or maybe even four times the amount of people that are allowed on such a boat, which is 15.
His mother hasn’t really recovered from the shock, but when I walked up to them with dry clothing she immediately handed him to me. Together we removed his wet clothing, gave him a clean diaper and put dry clothes on him. There weren’t any baby sleeping bags left in the car so I gave them extra clothes in case it gets cold tonight.
It turned out that there were two older sisters as well, soaking wet. So I held on to Adouan for a bit longer as their mother dried them off and gave them new clothes. Adouan, in the meantime, pulled my hair gently, smiled at me, removed my glasses, made gurgling noises, laughed loudly, and drooled all over my shirt. An added advantage of holding him closely was that he warmed up quickly.
When all the kids are dressed they continue their journey. The father and mother are still soaked but we ran out of clothing. Note to self: fill the car up even more next time.
I gently caress Adouan one last time and then it’s goodbye, good luck, and take care! And off they go. On their way to Mytilini. It is only another 45 km to this stopover on their undoubtedly still long and tiring journey…
(By Kirsten Alblas | Translated by Selma Rooseboom)