An open letter to my wonderful new friends in Chios, Greece.
Dear Omar, Ahmed, Hasib, Baby, Kaled, and everyone else I had the privilege of volunteering with, eating with, taking chai with, laughing with, being told off by Greek neighbours with, being friends with, in Chios over the past week. New friends and old. I don’t really have the words, but here goes....
I might not always be there, but you’re never far from my thoughts. I can be doing anything and your face and humour, grace and friendship, will be in my mind and in my heart. You’re my cousins, my brother, my twin, my baba! You make this world brighter like shining stars and it’s my honour and privilege to know you.
You’re thoughtful and respectful and you do so much for others... even treating me ‘like a queen"‘! And I haven’t done anything to deserve it. All I can offer in return is friendship and a smile and I always hope it’s enough.
For a week we’ve shared our lives almost 24-7 and then we have to say goodbye (twice in my case thanks to my ferry mix-up!) not knowing if or when we’ll see each other again. That’s really hard.
And it’s true! Arab men do know how to cook and clean and give massages and gifts and be thoughtful and giving and kind. You ARE absolute catches for the lucky ladies who will one day capture your hearts for good. I hope I’m there to help tell them how incredible you are.
I love you all so much. Thank you Ruhi Akhtar (of our partners Refugee Biriyani and Bananas) for sharing your awesome brothers with me. I’ve learned so so much from all of you. We always say we see the very worst and very best of humanity helping with the refugee crisis. Believe me when I say that you are the very best.
I wish the world had more of you. Keep strong. Keep being there for each other. And know that there are people out here who will always have your back.
Your friend for life, Amber