I had a friend who was helping out with the refugee crisis on the island of Lesbos and she posted some images of what was happening there. Through messaging I asked her if I could come there and volunteer even though I was not with a group. She said yes and so a week later I was there. I had no idea what to expect. 30 minutes after my plane landed from Athens to Greece I was in a car stopping off on the shore to assist with a boat coming in. I remember not knowing what to expect and I if I was going to be running into the water so all tech gear was removed from my body. My new friend said I should first just stand by and watch so I knew how it all worked and he would give me further instructions. I started to watch as people would go into the water to help guide a boat and then realized they could use a hand helping people once on shore. They all had to walk a distance and walk up a steep incline to get to are area they would be transported to the Moria refugee camp. This is short video of what the refugees see when they arrive. I did not take any photos or video for a while while I was there. I was doing more hands on helping.
With thousands of people arriving per day in the winter, securing a warm and comfortable night sleep was very challenging. The white UNHCR tent could house over two hundred people laying side by side while other families often packed into the small portable tents or buildings there were 900 people in a place that had a normal capacity of 300.
This was the view in the morning after my night shift of midnight to 9 or 10am. There were not enough tents for everyone so people slept outside on the ground in front of the white tents.
When people come off the boats they can arrive to the camp at night or during the day. Arrivals are happening 24 hours a day. The first stop is getting a ticket that says what day it is which indicates when they will be able to wait in line for official Greek papers. These papers attempt to verify who they are, where they are from and how long they can stay in Greece. Many come without passports. The goal for most people is to travel to other parts of Europe as soon as possible.
I met this group of Kurds from Syria who were waiting for the registration line to take their number. They had to wait a couple days so we were able to talk a while. They were living in these larger tents that house multiple families. They invited me to stay with them. They were worried about me and whether I had a place to sleep. Their kindness and generosity really touched me. They made their way to Germany and we are in constant contact.