Sunday night in Tabanovce, Macedonia, we were distributing winter clothing to refugee children as usual. A young girl arrived to our shelter, with her mother and her brother. Her brother was ill and had just been to the Red Cross. She was wearing leggings, thin as tights. It was Minus 10 Celsius. Her brother had a thin shirt under his jacket. Both needed new shoes. Thankfully they already had jackets – which they had probably received from our good friends in the Gevgelija camp south of here.
I helped her try on pants until we found two pairs we could layer over her leggings. Zara and Orhan helped me find the right clothes. We found a sweater for her brother. Both children got new socks, boots, and any other needed clothing.
The family left with smiles and chocolates in hand, wrapped up more warmly for the next part of their trip – the walk to Serbia.
The next day I came across some photos on Facebook. It was a little girl, being saved from drowning by volunteers in Greece, some days earlier. It was her. Orhan and I recognized her mother as well.
It was amazing to me to see what this poor girl had been through before I met her. And I am eternally grateful to the volunteers in Greece who saved her from the sea.
If those volunteers had not been there to pluck the family out of the water, I never would have met this gorgeous girl. I never would have given her new pants. She never would have laughed when I made faces to communicate without words. Or when we said “Oopsala!” as we realized there was still paper inside her new boots.
I never would have seen her face brighten up and smile. I never would have known her, because she would have drowned.
Thank you, volunteers of Greece. And volunteers everywhere.
For keeping them alive a little bit longer. So that we can put clothes on them in Macedonia. So the volunteers in Serbia and Croatia can keep them fed, so the volunteers in Slovenia can fight for their rights, so the volunteers of Austria and Germany can, god willing, help them find homes.
Thank you to those who donate so that we can help these children. And thank you to those who are raising awareness of the plight of these refugees.
Thank you Petros Tsetris for your work.
– Megan Tucker
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