Written by Melissa Dalton-Bradford
I hesitate to post this picture.
It is sacred.
It is terrifying.
It is true.
And it is not mine.
This is on the Aegean, crossing from Turkey to Greece. In the middle of this boat is a family, and they are my friends.
Their stories are featured in our book, Let Me Tell You My Story.
If you've ever wondered why those overloaded inflatable rafts coming to the shores of Greece seemed to be filled only with men (as I believe some US news outlets claimed), let me explain:
The men surrounded the outer rim of the vessels because they let women and children embarks first. The women and children weighted the center of the vessels, steadying them as men helped them shove off from land.
And most importantly, the men sat on the edges to protect the women and children from potential gunfire from both Turkish and Greek forces who were supposed to be curbing these smuggling routes, remember?
Finally, when smugglers, out of fear of coast guards, fled from navigating these vessels and jumped ship (we’ve heard several of those accounts), it was the men (who could drive) who took over.
Over the last year we have developed close relationships built on mutual trust with many of the families we help. We know their names, their personal stories, and individual needs. We are fully aware that our donations are only a temporary band aid for a larger problem. A bag of groceries only goes so far, and they will be back the following Saturday for more. Sometimes, though, we can make a bigger impact in someone’s life.
Selfies with friends. Shurooq and Sasha enjoy shopping together.
Suzanne Kaufman’s colorful illustrations are a delightful pair to Alaxandra Penfold’s narrative stating “all are welcome here,” no matter one's appearance or background.