I personally apologize for the delay in sharing more about this trip. To those who supported us - financially, emotionally and spiritually - thank you. Thank you so much. Working with refugees - in the sort of environment we served - really impacted us a lot. It's something that I have trouble writing about because it's a traumatic thing that is still happening right now. Not only inside me, but in the living hell that many many people call life.
Due to blanket passport restrictions from war torn countries - refugees are not allowed to overland or fly into the EU. Denying safe passage is a direct violation of their rights as refugees.
Refugees have to spend up to $2000 per adult and $500 per child to illegally cross in dangerously overcrowded rafts, boats and dinghy's in dangerously treacherous water (the Aegean Sea). This journey, by the way, costs $15 on a normal ferry - only for those us with passports from western countries.
We worked in the Moria Refugee Camp in Lesvos, Greece. This was where refugees who survived the sea would go to get registered with the EU and transferred to another camp.
None of us have ever been to a funeral of someone we didn't know. Surely, not anyone who didn't have any friends or family to also attend their funeral. That was another really sad thing. Was knowing that the people we buried have are not nameless or faceless. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. They all have family somewhere that may or may not know they are dead.
The one thing all these people had in common was the hope for safety and freedom. And there are tens of thousands of people every single year who pay the ultimate sacrifice for the simple hope (not the guarantee) of freedom.
Officially, our work was to learn about them and figure out how we can help them get their kids in school and if there is any skills they have that we could help them make money from - similar to our work in Kenya, Africa.
We were personally invited into the homes of over 150 Syrian Refugees and many we got to see multiple times and few are now life long friends.
I will say that no matter where you stand on the political spectrum - if you saw what we saw. Which is just a small small glimpse into the living hell that these people have had to endure - you would see that things like religion and politics should never come before our humanity. Making sure that even if we can't actively take care of the least of these, the orphans and widows, and treating others like we would want to be treated - that at the very least believe and support it.
We stood on both sides of the Aegean Sea. We saw what happens there, and nobody should have to be forced to do what these people have had to do. Nobody.
The people we served are now our family. Some people can understand that, and some people can't. Despite everything that is going on, we met some of the most beautiful people we've ever met in our lives.
The Muslim men, women and chidlren treated us like family. And that is one of the saddest misunderstandings about their culture. How peaceful and welcoming they are.
There is much more to be learned from this and we will be releasing more pictures and video soon. Thanks for understanding the sensitivity of all this. And thank you for all of you out there that support this.