Journey III: First Impressions

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The first morning we stay at the beach in Charamida with a bigger group: About 4AM some of us hear the sound of an engine, people shouting. Directly at the beach next to us a boat with refugees from Syria and Iraq arrived. We go to welcome them and bring them some water and biscuits. It is a group of about 40 people, among them many families with children, who arrived from Turkey after 4 hours in the sea.
We call the coastguard, we call the police, but without much hope that they will come and pick them.

There are so many arrivals these days and mostly the people have to walk and walk for hours until they reach Mitilini where they have to register in the port. The way from Charamida to Mitilini is long.

But the transport of unregistered refugees is not longer criminalized. You have to call 100 and tell the police that you will bring refugees to the port-police to register them, tell them your numberplates, then there is no risk. Many people on this island transport day by day newcomers nowadays. So we start to shuttle the families with children first.
When we go to Mitilini we find more people walking on the street another boat with Syrians, again a lot of families, with small children who walk already for some time. We go back and take the next group.
In the meantime another boat arrives at the beach on the other side of our
camping, a beach that is more complicated to reach, the people again a lot of families climb up to the street. We go back and forth, many times. Finally everybody reached the city.

The people are tired but also excited: many of them have friends and relatives in Germany – and all know people who want recently and arrived already there. The next day we meet some of the Syrian friends in the harbour, they already received the registration paper and will take the
ferry to Kavala in the evening. One of the Syrian young women says,before she boards the ferry:

Don’t say “goodbye”, I hate goodbyes, it remembers me how I cried when I left behind my mother. Better to say hello, when we will meet again in Germany. I will be there before you
come back!