Monday, April 25, 2016

Look for the Helpers: Enter Hassan

I need to give out a special shout-out to Hassan.

Hassan helps me fit my friend Krystal's beloved carrier onto a refugee mama & her super spunky little baby Photo credit: Keli Hiatt Anderson
Look for the helpers, yes, but the helpers are not always people coming in from the outside.

Hassan was living in a tent at the port while we were there...He is a Yazidi man traveling with a group including his sister, who unfortunately, learned during our stay that she had lost 95% of her sight, and the only chance of saving her from complete vision loss was an operation that she'll never be able to get as a refugee...their whole family is incredibly kind and strong, from what I can tell.  Hassan, though, was more or less willingly adopted by our group and was indispensable in his role as our translator, since he speaks fluent English, Arabic, and Kurdish.  He is also just a genuinely nice guy, and fun to be around...He was game for pretty much anything we threw at him.  In addition to just walking around helping us to translate, he was out there helping us to fit carriers, helping us with heavy lifting, walking from gate to gate to gate with us...he even came with us to the Elliniko warehouse and worked all day sorting aid.

Hassan and Lily being their cute selves while walking between gates at the port
Can we just take a moment to let that sink in?  This man who is living with his legally blind sister in a tent outside of a warehouse building in a busy port, stuck in transit with no idea what was going to become of any of them, in a time when they had little food, next to no resources, and most people didn't have enough warm clothes...to go from that situation to walk into Elliniko and see miles and miles of aid stacked up and boxed in this abandoned stadium, just sitting there...how hard that must be, to see the aid so many of his fellow travelers desperately needed sitting in a warehouse, sorted, ready to go, and yet untouched?  But, Hassan is a helper. and a doer.  And he didn't say one word about it but he rolled up his sleeves and dug in.  He sorted and stacked and worked right along side of all the volunteers, and at the end of the day, he want back home, to his tent on the road at the port.

a testament to how fast we were trying to work here, but notice the blue blur at the top left?  That's our guy, makin' it work. Photo credit: Cristal Munoz Logothetis
Hassan is a hero in my book.

Much love and good wishes for you and your family, Hassan...and of course, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!