Lifeguard Hellas which took the initiative to send a permanent Volunteers’ Lifeguards Rescue Team to the island of Lesvos, truly inspired me. If a mother of 4 children could make her way there and help refugees, I could definitely make some time and go there as well. And this is when I decided to dedicate all my time off work to go and help. Help as many people as I could, in any way I could. We’ve been taught about Values and Principles all these years. But there is NO benefit if these Values and Principles are not put into Action. And Lifeguard Hellas Rescue team is trying to turn its Principles into action.
Arriving on the island of Lesvos 2 days before Christmas was indeed a lifetime experience. On one hand you’ll see people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sudan and many other countries trying desperately to make their way to Europe and on the other hand you’d have the Volunteers from Greece, Scandinavian Countries, the USA, Canada etc and Greek Authorities trying to help and do their job in the best possible way under the current circumstances. Children 13-14 years old were traveling alone trying to get a new life. You’d be able to see the fear in their eyes, the difficult times they’ve been through and all they were asking at last was one and only thing. SECURITY. Something we take for granted in the Western developed world.
As members of the lifeguards’ team we’d be the first persons the refugees would meet and there would be mixed feelings right on the spot. People would scream out of happiness, others would start crying, others would fall down and kiss the earth, but we’d be more concerned about the ones who would look lost. The ones who would not react at all and you could see that they are missing home and how they wished they could go back to their normal life before the war. These were the ones that words wouldn’t touch them and no matter the language barriers they would appreciate one and only things more than anything else. A Pure Honest Hug. And it was fascinating to see them smile after a while with relief, although they wouldn’t understand a word from what the volunteers would tell them. This is the Greatness of Humanity and this is where Respect reaches its highest point. No matter the Sex, the Religion, their background, their social status it was here on the beach that we were ALL EQUAL. It was, and still is, here on the beach that these Volunteers are teaching Humanity and Values to All the Leaders of the World.
Jacksonville Beach, Florida, United States
I was only in Lesvos for a week and yet I feel that I had some of the most memorable moments of my life in that time. The people, culture and attitude of everyone there was absolutely beautiful. The concept of people from all around the world converging on one place for one purpose: saving lives is a testament to the power of mankind’s love for one another. I will never forget this.
Όλα όσα έζησα τις μέρες που ήμουν στην Μυτιλήνη δεν πρόκειται να τα ξεχάσω ποτέ στη
ζωή μου. Είναι αναμνήσεις και συναισθήματα τόσο δυνατά.. Ο τρόπος που με αγκάλιασε η
Lifeguard Hellas Save & Rescue Τeam από την πρώτη μέρα, ήμασταν σαν οικογένεια.
Υπήρχε συνεργατικότητα, η ομαδικότητα και άρτια εκπαίδευση στις διασώσεις..
Από την άλλη θυμάμαι το σοκ που έπαθα όταν επεχείρησα διάσωση στην πρώτη μου
βάρκα. Άνθρωποι βρεγμένοι, ταλαιπωρημένοι, απελπισμένοι, που κλαίγανε και ζητούσαν
βοήθεια. Τα μωράκια και οι ηλικιωμένοι..και τα παιδιά.. τόσα παιδιά.. κάποια από αυτά
ασυνόδευτα.. Η χαρά τους όταν φτάνανε και πατούσαν το πόδι τους στην στεριά δεν
περιγράφεται. Τους φροντίζαμε δίνοντάς τους ζεστά ρούχα και φαγητό.. Προσπαθούσαμε
να κάνουμε τα παιδιά να χαμογελάσουν..να ξεχαστούν λιγάκι.. Αν παίρναμε έστω και ένα
χαμόγελο ήταν το καλύτερο δώρο της ημέρας! Μας ευχαριστούσαν, μας φυλούσαν τα
χέρια.. Τι άσχημο πράγμα ο πόλεμος.. Ανάγκασε αυτούς ανθρώπους να φύγουν από την
πατρίδα τους, που για γενιές μεγάλωναν.. Οι κόποι μιας ζωής χαμένοι.. Τώρα το ταξίδι της
φυγής.. Ελπίζοντας σε ένα καλύτερο αύριο..
Πιστεύω πως όλοι οι εθελοντές που βρέθηκαν κοντά στους πρόσφυγες, επέστρεψαν
αλλαγμένοι στα σπίτια τους. Από μία τέτοια εμπειρία βγαίνεις καλύτερος άνθρωπος..
Μάνια και Σπύρο σας ευχαριστώ για την ευκαιρία που μου δώσατε, να βοηθήσω στις
διασώσεις στη Μυτιλήνη. Ήταν ανεκτίμητο.
My experience from Mytilene
Everything I experienced the days when I was in Mytilini will not never forget to
my life. It’s memories and feelings so loudly .. The way she hugged the
Lifeguard Hellas Save & Rescue Team from the first day, we were like family.
There was collaborative, teamwork and sound education in bailouts ..
On the other hand I remember the shock I got when attempted rescue in my first
boat. People wet, weary, desperate, who cried and asked
aid. Babies and children ilikiomenoi..kai .. so guys .. some of them
Separated .. Their joy when they arrive and stomped their feet on land not
described. Caregivers by giving them warm clothing and food .. We were trying
do children chamogelasoun..na forgotten bit .. If we took even one
smile was the best gift of the day! thanking us, guarding the
hands .. What bad thing war .. He forced these people to leave
home, which for generations grew .. The labors of a life lost .. Now its journey
flight .. Hoping for a better tomorrow ..
I believe that all volunteers were near refugees returned
Changed to their homes. From such an experience you go better man ..
Your Mania Spiro and thank you for the opportunity you gave me to help in
rescues in Mytilene. It was priceless.
Aθανάσιος Δημόπουλος, 23, Θεσσαλονίκη
Marine Greece-Turkey border in Lesvos have unfortunately turned into a “gate” of the West for refugees in the east and the lifesaving station in Limantziki aims to ensure a ap’ti not have dead out of this “gate” and the another to provide first aid and dry clothes those arriving there.
The lifeguard team is staffed by professional lifeguards who are not paid for what you offer, what we do is purely out of a sense of humanity and solidarity. We help people in distress at sea, that is our job here. If they are war refugees or not, if politicians are to blame and what that will migrate and what to do is not our work but those who are in town and informed why lifeguards are constantly and urgently busy saving lives.
The lifeguard station is very organized, we coordinate with other groups, we work with the other volunteers and local residents. Precisely because it is a unique people, my team has given very positive energy and a lifetime experience.
(And something bigger ….)
Once the lifeguard making perspective on the hill locate with binoculars a boat on the horizon, notifies the wireless group on the coast, which shall notify the other groups of volunteers including doctors order to man the station. Also alerted minibus drivers to be there to carry their sto hot spot, as they arrive. While monitoring the course of the boat if the responsible decision we observed something unusual if it should intervene with the rescue boat, after contact with the other groups that have rescue.
In short, by the time you spot a boat with refugees on the horizon lie in the safe embrace of voluntary lifesaving team, solidarity and responsibility sense is there to help people in distress, whether war refugees or not, something it is found in the hot spot and it is not our responsibility. Our duty as lifeguards is to make safe passage by sea route, even if our political decisions difficult task (eg by altering the flow of refugees). Even if sometimes you see others either paid or to exploit the situation as “crows”, or are here for self-promotion and lifesavers professional volunteer, non-discriminatory and even some jobs have left the city to help here. This is sad and sometimes inconvenient. However, precisely because it is a unique people, my team has given very positive energy and a lifetime experience.