Be patient. I’ll get to the dirty bit soon. So…
I live on Lesbos. You’ve all heard of it. You’ve all heard what’s happening here.
My friend, Alison, called me. She needed help with the washing. She was lost under piles of bin bags filled with wet clothing lifted from the beach.
When the boats arrive the people on them are soaked to the skin, so they strip down and the volunteers give them clean dry clothes. The clothes people like you donate, so thank you. Thank you so much.
The discarded clothes are bagged up and volunteers launder them so they can be reused. A simple, effect, clever idea.
So, I went down to Alison’s house and grabbed a couple of bags from the pile slowly swallowing her front porch. And I lucked in – I got baby clothes. I didn’t get the stinky socks or the stale smelling jeans that weigh a ton when wet. I got itsy-bitsy coats with giraffes, and ABCs, and teddy bears appliquéd on the front. I got teeny weeny stripy, spotty, join the dotty socks. I got stripy little leggings like Pippa Long Stocking’s, and sand encrusted vests and pants. Everything was so small and soaking wet with sea water and pee-pee, and I swear the fear still clung to them. It must have been a terrifying journey for these kids.
I felt a little upset in my stomach. A little teary. But I lucked in – my other friend, Ariadne, got men’s jeans and washed them all only to find she had a tissue in nearly every pocket.
Now, when these clothes go back to the beach they will be dry and clean, and smell of ylang-ylang and lavender – well, according to my detergent bottle they will. And I hope the fear will momentarily wash away for the child wrapped up inside them, for I know what is to come and it is not good.
Please keep kind thoughts for these people. There is a high probability that you too, are the child of refugees or immigrants. You are a only a sliver of history away from this beach. You are where you are because someone else made a similar journey in order to have a future, and that future is you. Wear it well. Who are we to deny that same future to others cut from the same cloth?
Part 2 soon, and I swear I will get to the point.