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On Lesvos (CEP)

Ameni Abida

Lesvos Island, Greece.

If someone was to ask me “how was it?”, I wouldn’t be able to answer, because there are no words. Yet, here I am. So, for the sake of the Gazette, I’ll try.

Lesvos was difficult, emotionally more than physically. When you are constantly fed with images of the refugee crisis on the media, let’s be real, you get used to it. You get used to seeing children running with no shoes. You get used to the sad faces in front of tents. You see these things, you feel bad, and then you move on.

Lesvos was confronting the reality, which is never represented in the media. It was like sinking into a nightmare that didn’t feel too bad, because it was not mine. Hearing the stories from first hand on what happened to them was the most difficult. One man, who was smiling most of the time, nonchalantly told us how he lost his house and 6 year old kid because of ISIS. He was almost emotionless, told us the story as if he read it on the news. He then proceeded to clean his isobox where him and his family sleeps in. He looked at me and said: “I need to have my house clean, you know, because it’s the only way I could make it feel like home”.

Dignity; that’s what is needed after food and shelter. And a lot of them, especially in Morea where over 7000 refugees are housed, don’t find it. So, they try to retrieve it as best as they can. They continue their customs and traditions, they try their best to find jobs and make hobbies, laugh and make new friends, create new coping mechanisms that would help them face the harsh reality. If they are lucky, they can have access to learning new languages, making art or playing sports, but sometimes the only way to escape is alcohol.

I can go on about that trip, but I’ll leave you with this: if you were stuck in an island, months on end with no money, what would you do?

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Ameni is a Tunisian senior majoring in CULP. She doesn’t know what she’ll be doing after graduation, so please don’t ask. In her free time, she loves going to the beach, making art, and traveling. Her instagram is cool; you can go and check it out (but only if you want to) @amenitoomany.

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