In November 2015 we set out with an enormous task – to provide winter clothing to tens of thousands of refugees as they passed through Macedonia in their search for safety and a future home in Western Europe. Today is the first day of spring. Winter has officially ended.
He arrived to us with no shoes. He had only socks, which had obviously been what he was walking around in. We gave him new boots.
The father died in the war in Syria. The rest of the family escaped to Turkey and tried for about two years to survive there, but it was impossible. Eventually they boarded a rubber raft, luckily survived the trip, and made their way to Europe.
We do not just hand out clothes to children, we make every effort to give them some control back over their lives. While this may not seem like much, it makes all the difference in the world.
A family with a few small girls came in last night. Two of them were co-operative, sat down where we indicated, and let us change their shoes or give them clothes.
He came in with large open sores on his lower legs. His shoes were rubbing up against the sores. We got him cleaned up, and with new socks and shoes that would not touch his calves. His eyes lit up when I smiled at him.
Sadly, refugees along the route are given little or no opportunities to avail themselves of the hygiene facilities we all take for granted.
Confession. I really liked this girl. I actually did not want to put her down.
After we gave this little refugee boy his new clothes and mittens, he began to walk around the room handing out out mittens to everyone else inside.
It was almost the end of the night. Most of the train passengers had come and gone. We were getting ready to leave. Lingering for a few moments longer, in case of any last visitors. That’s when the old man came, hesitantly, into our shelter.