Explore My News,
Thoughts & Inspiration

Freedom: The Heart-Wrenching Story of Refugees

By Erica Everett 

In this three-part series “Fleeing, Fighting, Freedom: The Heart-Wrenching Story of Refugees” I recount my experiences during my month working at a refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece. “Freedom” tells the story of what freedom looks like for a refugee that has been fleeing and fighting for so long. It’s not easy, but a stamp to Athens is like a ticket to freedom from a life they were once a slave to in oppression and war. 


Refugees start fleeing their countries to make it to a safer place. They fight to be seen and heard at the refugee camps. But what does freedom look like for them? Make sure you read my first two blog posts to the series, Fleeing and Fighting before reading on!


While refugees live confined in “no man’s land” called refugee camp, they are waiting to be processed in the system. 

What does that mean? Basically, each refugee has to be interviewed by the United Nations and has to prove that where they are coming from is dangerous.

Now that may seem obvious. But the reality of the situation is that many of these so-called refugees aren’t migrating for political or war asylum. Many of these people are just economic migrants, hoping to make more money and live a nicer life in a new country. And while that’s not a bad thing at all, the priority of people migrating to Europe at a time like this is the people fleeing their homes because they would die otherwise. There are just too many people, a few million, trying to flee the Middle East. Europe is already having difficulties enough just providing for those refugees actually seeking asylum. Add economic migrants, sex traffickers, possible radical Islams associated with extremist groups like ISIS… you can see why it’s so important that each refugee goes through the system. 

Freedom for these refugees looks like getting a blue stamp on their documentation that permits them to go to Athens. They can finally reach the mainland of Europe and migrate to other countries from there. Many go to Germany or the Netherlands. Many stay close to Athens and have started creating their own neighborhoods. 

Some families move through the system in a month and a half, yet there are single men that have lived in the hell of “no man’s land” for about two years. 

Often times the only way to prove that their hometown is not safe, is by printing pictures. These pictures often come from friends or family that still live at home. These pictures portray blown up buildings, dead friends or relatives and the like. 

As if these people didn’t experience it enough the first time around, they have to relive and recount the nightmare of escaping the country through the interview process. 

On my last day of camp, I worked the women’s section behind the vulnerable’s gate. One of the women that have been there a while came up to me and repeated “Athena, Athena!”

This is a woman probably in her late 50s. Every time I’ve worked the gate before she has a big smile on her face and pinches my cheeks, gently brushes my face or gives me a kiss on the cheek. It’s always refreshing because many congo women live there and tend to throw their ID card that is needed to get in, into my face. They’ll give me a hard time and yell at me in their native language. But this woman always showed me, love, knowing that I’m there to protect and help, no matter how annoying it may be to open the gate over and over.

This woman is called “Mother Hen” in Arabic by all the younger woman in the section. I’m not sure how long she had been there, but long enough to be loved and known by everyone in the section. 

And that day was her day of freedom. It was both of our last days at camp. It was bittersweet seeing the refugees you love and know finally get that blue stamp to Athens. 

Their hardship won’t end after leaving camp. But at least they are finally free from the limitations that come with the refugee camp. 

They see a glimpse of hope.

A glimpse of a future.

A glimpse of freedom. 


.         .             . 


Update of Camp Moria:

The refugee camp is at an all-time low currently. Just this week there was the worse riot they have seen in a while. All the supplies from New Arrivals was looted. The toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine products, shampoo, deoterant, shoes, clothes, soap… all the things we give to new arrivals so they can survive camp is gone. 

Laptops locked up in Euro Releif’s info center have been stolen. Tents and tarps and platforms gone. The government has called a meeting to discuss how to better or speed up the interview process because refugees are being left in No Man’s Land for far too long. Please pray for the people of Moria. Pray for the government officials and leaders to make a difference in the system. Pray for the long-term volunteers that have to deal with the aftermath of this mess. Pray for my friends, other short-term volunteers still there that have worked 9 days straight of 8-12 hour shifts because of such little man power. Pray for peace and understanding in the refugees hearts so they may not continue to damage the very place that is struggling to help them. 

Maybe God is calling you to help at camp Moria. If so, please look up the organization Euro Relief. They are truly amazing people who just need a flood of hands willing to serve in this place either a week or months at a time. 


Take a moment to subscribe to my blog for the most up-to-date stories and to see for yourself how God is moving on my Race! Please help me get funded by a Christmas! Prayerfully consider contributing (donate here) to God’s bank account to continue sending me to the nations, I’m not yet fully funded!