Winter in Greece: “My heart bleeds”

Sina Hansen, volunteer field worker with A Drop in the Ocean, writes from Athens.

Sina Hansen
Foto: Sina Hansen

The last few weeks I have been in Athens to I work as a volunteer field worker for A Drop in the Ocean.

Today I woke up feeling sad. Outside, the temperature has dropped to below zero, with snow and strong winds throughout Greece. My thoughts go to the countless number of displaced persons with no roof over their heads or the opportunity to keep warm during these cold winter days. On Lesvos and Samos, for instance, people live in small tents on the cold ground, shared with many, many others.

You may know the feeling when you have been out in the winter cold for too long, with not enough clothes on. Yesterday I felt it. I lost the feeling in my legs and fingers, and simply felt miserable. But when I got home from work, I could lie down in a comfortable bed and warm up. At the same time, the biting cold is a reality for an infinite number of people, a reality that they can do nothing about.

We are constantly seeing pictures and articles from refugee camps around the world. We have to accept and understand the fact that most of these people would rather be there, in inhuman conditions, than in the country that was once their home. Nevertheless, we, who are currently sitting in warm houses with a cup of coffee in hand, talk about how the best thing Norway can do is to contribute with humanitarian aid where the conflict is taking place. It’s a selfish and cowardly mindset that makes me incredibly angry. Norway is a large and resourceful country with the opportunity to help people forced to flee.

That the government proclaimes that we can take in 50 people from Lesvos (when will these people arrive by the way?), while several of our municipalities are shouting that “we can take 50 each!”, is shameful.

When I went to Greece, I had decided not to share too much about my stay on social media, but the feeling I woke up with today needed to come out. My heart bleeds today. I think about and empathise with the people who are freezing right now. The people who came to Europe in the hope of a better future, but who right now are struggling to survive in camps. The world is simply unfair, and when Norway actually has the opportunity to step in and help displaced persons, then this is a responsibility we must take seriously. One day it might be us who need help!

The posts was first shared on Facebook.