A little girl of 5 or 6 years’ old stole my heart in Lesvos. I liked her straight away when she came and plonked herself down on the plastic chair next to me and some other volunteers.
Her cropped brown hair was roughly cut – maybe a sign of being in a family always on the move - and the top was a little longer to pull up into a trademark bunch shooting straight up like a firework on top of her head!
She grinned and giggled and then grinned and giggled some more. She started watchful, but it wasn’t long before she was happily garbling away in her language.
She didn’t ask for help. She didn’t cry or whine. When she wanted her firework bunch fixed, she trotted off without saying a word and come back with a comb in her hand to fix her hair herself. When we tried to help her put her shoes on the right feet, she did it herself.
She sat with us volunteers for over an hour as other kids came and went. She laughed and played and tried to talk to us although we couldn’t understand.
This brilliant little kid left my life as quickly and easily as she came into it and I know our paths will never cross again. I’m smiling at the thought of how many other volunteer’s hearts she’s going to steal? And crying at the thought of her being a pawn in the crazy war politicians are waging against the very refugees their greedy policies are creating.
Wherever she came from, and whatever she’s already been through in her short life, this little one’s childhood now belongs to the overcrowded, inhumane Moria Refugee Camp.
History will judge us for how we are treating her and thousands like he, but it’s going to be too late.
We said “never again”. We lied.