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A few short reposts…

( All post can be found on our facebook page , no more borders, no more tears… please like and share the updates)

If there is anyone out there with the means to support us in any small way, please get in touch, your donations and support is all we have…

Wednesday 17th February,

We returned to the graveyard here in Samos to visit and tidy up the grave of the 3 lost children whose funerals we attended a few months ago. Please read their story here , dont forget them and the many more that come after them… The beautiful children were 7 years old, 4 years old and 7 months … We never recovered the body of the 4th baby girl, 8 months old…
https://irishingaza.wordpress.com/…/lives-lost-families-in…/

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Friday 19th February.

And the games continue. In Europe the losers of the games are more and more the refugees themselves while the top dogs play hero for the media. On Samos island, Split between a not finished screening centre and a partially dismantled port ( that was running extremely well up to now) those seeking refuge are now passed , literally, between one place and another.

Without the volunteers, things would certainly be a lot worse. These same volunteers who every single night, drive their own cars, at their own expense to the camp to pick up refugees to transport to the port for accomodation. ( While the NGO funded buses remain idle) These same volunteers, Greek and International , who cook from their own kitchens, buy from their own pockets and serve in their free time, who beg for donations to provide clothes, shoes, etc and yet, these are the same volunteers not kept informed, not offered help and barely thanked…The Greek civil society, who have helped from the very beginning and continue to do so without fanfare or glory expected.

Yes, we chose to do this, we will continue to do it I,m sure…but if we , as “mere volunteers”can see its wrong, that the politics and game play is causing needles extra suffering for those asking help, why can the others not…or can they??

One point that should be mentioned is the superb support of Samaritans purse who have remained a presence at the port throughout all of this and offer immense help and respect to all the refugees.

And sadly, again it comes back to me asking you for help… in two ways. First, the mainstream media has dropped the story pretty much , the real story of refugees seeking solace, safety , security and escape from the bombs ….please don;t let the rest of us forget, share the posts, the truth…

and secondly, yes, we need financial help, your donations to continue. any amount is a worthwhile amount. Every cent is used exactly where it needs to be used and spent on those in need of your help. Our paypal account is jennygraham7@gmail.com or pm me for other ways to donate… and thank you all.

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19th February,

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20th February

The number of refugees arriving to Samos has risen quickly over the last few days. Most arrived wet and scared , including many children and babies. Co-operation on the port meant everyone was dealt with quickly in terms of dry clothes and shoes. They were all then transported to the screening centre for registration ( which is still too slow and chaotic and not very humane) and back down hours later to the port to sleep and eat…some improvements but a lot still needs improving.. donations, if you would like to support our ongoing efforts, can be made via paypal , paypal email address is jennygraham7@gmail.com..

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21st February

She arrived very wet and very hungry yesterday, along with her extremely exhausted young mamma. They are travelling alone . I hope the frontiers are open for them and they both have a chance to become what they surely could. Thanks to your support and donations, she left on a ferry today, warm, dry and fed… please continue to support via paypal link or pm for other ways to donate… its the least we should do..

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22nd February

What makes a parent risk their children’s lives on a smuggling boat, which has pretty much wiped out their money, made them ill, fearful and at times hated. They know the journey is far from over, they know the frontiers are closing to them, they know the chances of all the young, the babies , the elderly , the frail and the injured surviving the journey is a pretty low percentage… but what must they be fleeing for all of this to be the “safer option”.. What? Bombs… Our bombs, while we may not be the ones dropping them, our silence in allowing them to continue is complicit, our silence in watching the borders close, in not allowing safe passage, in listening to our politicians pathetic excuses as to why we cannot help is complicit… If this is our world, its time to take it back … for all our sakes!

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And in the mean time…

 

12669702_1071774662873163_6490546397032391406_nNATO, Turkey, Greece, Hot spots, transition… but what about refugees, help, war, volunteers…

Transition is taking place and of course the games of politics , power , greed, occupation and War never stop… but lets not forget the reasons we are all here, the reasons we all offered to help…

Big changes are happening on the Greek islands, including here on Samos. “Hot spots” is the name given to the main control/ refugee camps on each of the 5 main islands where eventually all the refugees will be processed, registered and accommodated before furthering their journey. We must reserve opinion of how all this will work and accept the fact that all this is unprecedented. We willingly offer any help we can to make this transition as smooth as possible , especially for those in need of sanctuary on their journey…but surely NOT  at the expense of the refugees still arriving DURING the transition period…

While one camp is being constructed , those of us who can are remaining at the port. Most of the NGO cabins have already moved to the screening centre. The one remaining medical cabin is now on “time share” between WAHA , RC and MSF.. and for now, while the numbers are small , its manageable. Our worry is when , as is expected in the next day or so, the stormy weather passes and the number of arrivals once again increases dramatically. The volunteers along with Samaritans purse are maintaining a presence on the Port, not easy without electricity after 5 in the evening… But we did it originally, we will do it again..  We distribute what we can from the boot of the car, We walk the port to make sure everyone has what they need, nobody will go hungry or cold!!!!

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We buy/ supply/ distribute nappies, milk, wipes, sanitary pads, food, formula… and sometimes some sneaky jelly sweets or fun stuff, because we know you wont mind! As the numbers rise, so will our determination to keep all those at the port safe, dry, fed and clothed .. if you allow us to with your support.

So, While the mainstream media may continue to highlight their “Tag ” words… our words remain the same as ever … No More War, No more games,  No more death, No more lost souls…humanity, solidarity, equality, hope and safe passage!

NO MORE BORDERS, NO MORE TEARS!

Please continue to help us help others… Paypal link or email for bank details, jennygraham7@gmail.com

As always, we deeply need and gratefully appreciate all your support and can continue only with your efforts.

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Welcomed back …

So, We have returned to Samos, a beautiful Greek island hosting many refugees fleeing war and conflict and continuing to do so with respect and solidarity . We arrived to a lot of wonderful new faces of both refugee and volunteer … but of course the warmest welcome came from our own colleagues and comrades …

Samos is still in  the wake of a recent tragedy where 24 souls lost their lives and whose survivors are still being taken care of on the island . The Aegean sea is rough right now and the weather is cold , wet and windy. All of this means the numbers arriving  remain quite low , for now, but regardless,  the same help is offered, the same respect shown and the same dignity afforded to those needing solace, sanctuary and help.

20160205_134927Once back on the port, it does not take long to return to getting involved. One of the first jobs I had was to help a medic with a young girl of 9. This beautiful child had arrived on one of the boats from Turkey. The gasoline from the engine was leaking into the crowded boat. She sat for hours on a bench soaked in fuel and ended up with 3rd degree burns on her body. She was so brave as the dressings were changed, the burn washed and dead skin removed. That night I spoke to my sister and told her this story… Her answer , and the answer of any sane person with a conscience..

” It’s just not right, Children shouldn’t know that pain. At 9 years old we didn’t know anguish like that and that’s how it should be”

When it is not raining, India, a wonderful volunteer comes over to the medic cabin armed with paints, pads, colouring pens and toys  .. oh and plenty of wet wipes, ..and sets the children up painting, playing, interacting. We could all learn so much from these children. They play together, speak together, paint together regardless of colour, religion, or geology … the only conflict is who paints it better or who took all the red paint. An elderly man from Samos town comes down to hand out oranges picked fresh from his garden. If we have extra, we hand out glasses of milk and biscuits and for a little while they have a “childhood”…

Derek and I managed to replenish the shelves of pampers and milk. The daily distribution of nappies, milk, formula, wipes , baby bottles … whatever we have and whatever is needed continues. More bombs are being dropped, more borders threatening to close, more media feeding pararnoia …. and more people needing help. We continue to do what we can, and we continue to plead for your help to do so…

For paypal donations please click  …Donate

For those not using paypal, email jennygraham7@gmail.com for bank details

Apart from donations, Awareness of the truth is very important. Could you all please share our updates either from our blog or our facebook page: no more borders, no more tears or twitter: no more borders

Thank you all for your continued support and friendship … and stay in touch .

 

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Crossing borders…

10 years of the siege on Gaza…. and all we have learned is to build more walls and barbed wire fences .

The Rafah border remains closed , an illegal, inhumane siege by Israel, Egypt and the wider International community. Europe is now a fortress of armed guards, trenches, walls and fences. We are being dictated to by xenophobic, racist bigots as we decide which of them will ” lead the free world”….

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Our only hope is in ourselves.In a world of hatred, fear, divide , there is also always hope . In Palestine, In Greece, In Ireland we see true humanity and solidarity. We have always asked for and received whatever help needed. Thankfully, there still is good in the world.

Still we cannot return to Gaza…this border remains closed to us and more importantly to the thousands of palestinians needing , wanting and with every basic right to cross either in or out of Gaza. So now we make plans to return to the Greek islands.

picture no:1 , Rafah Border. Picture no 2: Samos island port.

We, together,  will continue to cross borders, We will continue to stand at the closing borders and shout for rights for all, We will continue to demand a return to humanity by all and for all.

We leave Ireland on January 30th . We would like to leave laden with support for those needing support. We can not bring actual aid as the shipping costs are so extravagant that we can purchase double the amount on arrival than we could afford to transport.We , as always, realise we need your support… financial, friendship … to continue.

Can you plan a quick fundraiser? A car boot sales profits? A bucket round your local? A contribution from a game of cards or a gig somewhere? Trust me, every cent helps for buying food , medical needs, hospital care, building work at the camps..its all necessary. We were very proud, thanks to many Irish groups last year including “Cork to Calais group” and the “Washbags to wellies” group to be able to purchase badly needed wheelchairs, stretchers, small medical equipment, food toys, and some tools just before we left …

People are still arriving in their thousands as the war mongerers continue to force peace loving families from their lands. Smugglers are still sending overcrowded boats at exorbatant costs , people are still losing their lives.

We have kissed the body of a young 8 month old girl , watched the father of a beautiful 4 year old child lay her body in the grave and held the mother of a 7 year old girl as she said her last goodbyes.  We have sat all night with an 11 year old child who watched her mother, brother and sister drown, and so many more tragic stories.This week alone 35 people have died in one tragedy alone  and it doesn’t stop, not while war is a business to some..

We have a paypal account for those of you on paypal, we also have a bank account, email me on jennygraham7@gmail.com for bank details. We will continue to update from Greece on this blog as well as on the “Irish in Gaza” facebook page.

For further reading please click the following links.

http://wp.me/psaGo-1p3  More souls lost.

http://wp.me/psaGo-1pk Denied a burial, 8 months old

http://wp.me/psaGo-1pG  lives lost

http://wp.me/psaGo-1qe A dark day

http://wp.me/psaGo-1qk  Good days

As always, our deepest appreciation… Happy new year…

And to our wonderful families, Thank you so much, we had a lovely Christmas. ( Our first at home in quite a few years)

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Happy New Year …

One border remains closed to us but others opened this year…. May 2016 be the year of no more closed frontiers, no more barbed wire, no more siege! No more ….

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With love, Derek and Jenny …

To  Donate, click here..…………….Donate

 

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The door…

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Humans of Samos …

 

 

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So … Our time in Samos has come to an end …but just for now!   We will return, insh’allah, in January. There is so many to thank, so much more to say, so much to do … but Samos is in good hands.

The “Friendly humans”group of Samos volunteers … Inspirational! Every single morning, without fail, they provide breakfast to every refugee child on the island. These guys, while holding down jobs, taking care of families etc are on the port daily, nightly , whenever they’re needed to do whatever needed.Bettina, Yiannis, Yana , all of their group are the epitomy of the true meaning of “Human”…

Dr. Manos ( Batman) , a true hero of our time. This man, whilst taking care of any and all medical needs with respect and diligence can also regularly be found with a hammer in his hand, building fences from pallets, digging garbage out of drains. He takes his time to hold each child, comfort the mamas, speak to the papas and allow each patient the time they need to find comfort and healing in both a physical and emotional way… It has been our absolute priveledge to work alongside you, Manos.

The complete WAHA team, past and present, who compliment Dr.Manos with their medical expertise. Again always willing to take up a sweeping brush, a garbage bag or a child in need … understanding the dynamics of being involved in an emergency crises being played out on a island sea port… Well done all of you.

To all the volunteers, those arriving for a few days, those staying a month or those who come back as soon as work, family or commitments allow… keep up the good work, you are all amazing…but remember to take breaks. Give both body and mind time to sleep, recuperate and re-energize … you can only give what you have, let that be strength and humanity, not frustration and signs of exhaustion. We hope to meet you all again someday and enjoyed meeting each of you, Well done..

Greek civil society, Samos island residents, port police, police, security personal and coast guards,Anastasia and all at Archipelagos Marine Institute ( you are the reason we actually ended up on Samos) and all NGO’s, It was our pleasure and honour to work alongside all of you. We seen first hand how many of you went above and beyond your jobs and with respect and genuine solidarity took care of many people in need. The security guard ,Kostas, who walked the port with us at night to ensure anyone in need was taken care of, the port police man, Giannis, that sat with me as we rocked an 11 year old survivor of a boat tragedy to sleep, the coast guards risking their lives to rescue survivors and recover the lost souls…all of you, each of you showing the world the true spirit of humanity, decency and what it means to be human.

We will return to Samos and continue to need your help. Any donation ( via paypal or bank)received between now and then will be saved for when we return next month …and used again in the most helpful way possible.

We thank , with all our hearts , all of you who continue to support us and all we do, or at least try to do… We realise and acknowledge we are very little without any of you, family, friends, comrades and colleagues. Continue to show the world we have hope, a sense of justice and a desire for a world without war, without racism, bigotry or needless suffering, a world where each living person has a home and a helping hand…

And lastly, To the refugees themselves, we wish we could name each of you by name, it is the least you deserve. You have shown us courage, strength and dignity in the face of terror, horror, adversity and death. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to show you there are still some good people in this world, thank you for showing us the truth, for sharing a small part of your Ives with us… Insh’Allah there will be a day we will meet you as you all return home…

In the words of our dearest but departed friend and comrade, Vittorio, Thank you for showing us how to “Stay Human”.

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