The first place I went to when I arrived in Lesvos was Kara Tepe. The camp run by the UN for Syrian families to register at. We parked the car and were waiting for a colleague and I noticed two huge doe eyes staring up at me.
I walked over and introduced myself, “As-Salaam-Alaikum, I’m Anna”.
The doe eyes stared back, blinking and distant. Using gesture I signalled to myself and said ‘Anna’ and then gestured for him to do the same. The same blinking stare, and then all of a sudden his beautiful little hand grabbed mine so tight I thought it would burst. My heart exploded. Matteo bent down and gestured for me to help him build some rocks he was collecting.
We sat and built, when it crumbled down it didn’t matter, we just started again. Matteo didn’t let go of my hand once as we sat building in content silence.
After a while I started to gesture to his father who was watching from a distant. He came closer and smiled as we played, the father told me his son's name was "Matteo", I noticed his smile falter as he spoke his name and after watching us for a few minutes he collapsed on the floor in tears.
Grown men sobbing is never easy, but to see that amount of pain in one man, the pain pleading from his eyes, it’s impossible to communicate how useless you feel in that moment. He composed himself and explained that Matteo doesn’t speak anymore. He hadn’t spoken a word since the family had fled from Syria. The father gazed at his beautiful son his broken heart beating with such hope, such longing for him to be better. A wish so strong you could feel it, that, one day, they’d be in a place where Matteo can be supported, where he can be safe and loved and start on the road of recovery to a happy life.
After his father had composed himself, Matteo walked over to him, gently lifted his hand and wiped away his daddy’s tears. Matteo is no more than 6. These children are our hope for building the future we have a duty of care to each and everyone of them.
Don’t all children deserve that right? The trauma that these beautiful children have suffered in their little lives, it’s too much. Don’t these babies deserve a chance at peace when all they have ever known is war and terror.
Matteo needs more than just a doctor, he needs sustained aid he needs stability and a safe environment and extensive psychotherapy.
RefuAid and all the other amazing volunteers and organisations are doing what we can, but we need to do more. As winter approaches too many children suffering with illness and injury are left to sleep on the cold slopes of Moria cold and poorly and traumatised, just like Matteo. Please help us to provide them with medical assistance and supplies.