‘Is Germany full?’

“Is Germany full?” an Afghan refugee asked me as he waited for registration on the hills of the Moria Refugee camp in Lesvos.

No Of course not. Germany isn’t full. It can’t be full. It will never be full. But the field we were standing in, along with hundreds of Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi refugees and so many other migrants, was full.

It was full of people like you and me, whose faces tell a piece of the story; of their extensive journey to Greece. With nothing in hand, they wait for their journey to continue, at times with no destination and a very delicate drive that leads to the ‘nowhere’ that will potentially become home one day.

Their gazes are like razors that beg for a dignity that we as volunteers have never been thirsty for. At times, the helping hand you give feels somewhat insulting because you know that there is a fine line between humility and being disconcerting.

With a few days to go before I return to my reality, I realise that the question that has very rarely left the back of my mind throughout my days in Moria is one equivalent to the one I began writing this column with. “Where will this end?”

I think about Amir, Fahrad, Mohamed Reza, Fatima, Wesa, and so many refugees I have met whilst at the camp and I wonder where they are, where they have landed, where their fate has taken them.

I’m not sure that merely helping them to continue their journey to Athens is the right thing to do, but it’s what they’re ‘told’ to do. At least for now. I cringe at the thought of their future. I cringe at the way the world has let the situation come to what it is.

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About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London