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     Welcome, Welcome.   Lesvos, Greece  | 39.2645° N, 26.2777° E  Standing on the beach in the long dawn, we saw familiar sights and new faces, desperate and desperately happy to be on foreign shores. Volunteers helped families from the boats, and a father, son in arms, took his first heavy steps towards a warm welcome and the long road ahead.

Welcome, Welcome.
Lesvos, Greece | 39.2645° N, 26.2777° E

Standing on the beach in the long dawn, we saw familiar
sights and new faces, desperate and desperately happy to
be on foreign shores. Volunteers helped families from the
boats, and a father, son in arms, took his first heavy steps
towards a warm welcome and the long road ahead.

MKF SYNOPSIS - FINAL.png
  Marzieh’s Story.   Victoria Square, Athens  | 37.9930° N, 23.7305° E  When the family was detained at the border, they were separated for nearly 30 days in different camps without contact. As her father's condition deteriorated, he was shipped back to Kabul by Turkish authorities, leaving his wife, daughters, and the rest of his family in the dark, on the Turkish border. Marzieh hasn't spoken with or heard from her father since. This was two weeks ago. She left us with these simple parting words: "Tell them we are humans, too. Because so many treat us as animals."

Marzieh’s Story.
Victoria Square, Athens | 37.9930° N, 23.7305° E

When the family was detained at the border, they were
separated for nearly 30 days in different camps without
contact. As her father's condition deteriorated, he was
shipped back to Kabul by Turkish authorities, leaving his
wife, daughters, and the rest of his family in the dark, on
the Turkish border. Marzieh hasn't spoken with or heard
from her father since. This was two weeks ago. She left
us with these simple parting words: "Tell them we are
humans, too. Because so many treat us as animals."

  To Victoria Square.   Piraeus Metro Line, Athens  | 37.9930° N, 23.7305° E  On the metro from Piraeus Port, just minutes after setting foot in mainland Europe for the first time in her long journey from Afghanistan, a young girl watches the scenery rumble past, and she waits. Uncertainty is the commodity of the refugee in transit, and yet with seemingly endless grace, so many stayed curious and brave on their journey. And we were left in quiet reverence in their wake.

To Victoria Square.
Piraeus Metro Line, Athens | 37.9930° N, 23.7305° E

On the metro from Piraeus Port, just minutes after
setting foot in mainland Europe for the first time in her
long journey from Afghanistan, a young girl watches the
scenery rumble past, and she waits. Uncertainty is the
commodity of the refugee in transit, and yet with
seemingly endless grace, so many stayed curious and
brave on their journey. And we were left in quiet
reverence in their wake.

  Yarra's Story.   Mória Refugee Camp, Lesvos  | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E  Settling in for the long dark, Yarra and her family of nearly 15 do their best to stay warm as temperatures drop across Europe. It’s one of those beautiful anomalies of youth that children can enjoy themselves even in dire situations - and indeed, Yarra even seemed to be having fun. Racing to collect anything that would burn in a crowded camp that had already been stripped bare, Yarra made survival a game, and in that, she was winning. Only moments after sharing her family's fire, she offered us food we couldn't accept, and asked us in excited, simple English, "Where are you from?" Compassion runs deep here in a people who would offer everything, when they have so little of their own. And even as we moved on through the camp late into the night, finding new stories and new faces, we would catch glimpses of Yarra, hurrying from campfire to campfire, like a dream.

Yarra's Story.
Mória Refugee Camp, Lesvos | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E

Settling in for the long dark, Yarra and her family of
nearly 15 do their best to stay warm as temperatures drop
across Europe. It’s one of those beautiful anomalies of
youth that children can enjoy themselves even in dire
situations - and indeed, Yarra even seemed to be having
fun. Racing to collect anything that would burn in a
crowded camp that had already been stripped bare, Yarra
made survival a game, and in that, she was winning. Only
moments after sharing her family's fire, she offered us
food we couldn't accept, and asked us in excited, simple
English, "Where are you from?" Compassion runs deep
here in a people who would offer everything, when they
have so little of their own. And even as we moved on
through the camp late into the night, finding new stories
and new faces, we would catch glimpses of Yarra,
hurrying from campfire to campfire, like a dream.

  Hamad’s Story.   Kara Tepe Camp, Lesvos  | 39.1287 ° N, 26.5446 ° E  Possessed of a grace that transcended language, Hamad is a man of simple desires. Born with a degenerative muscle condition, he’d been wheelchair-bound for the last four years - but was still fiercely determined to find a better life away from bombs and death. Setting out on his own across countries and continents, he made it to Ismir on the coast of Turkey. Given the choice between leaving his wheelchair, or being left behind, Hamad climbed aboard the raft on his hands and knees. After three hours of prayers and the hum of the engines, Hamad found himself lifted out of the boat, and onto European soil. Days later, we met him here at the Kara Tepe Center for Refugees, preparing for the next stage of his journey to Athens. And the UNHCR had managed to find him a new wheelchair. He said it wasn’t as nice as his old one, but he wasn’t picky. Hamad has embarked on the most difficult journey of his life for the distant hope that abroad he’ll find a better one. He explained: “In Syria, I was nothing. I have so much to offer the world, I just need the chance to prove it.”

Hamad’s Story.
Kara Tepe Camp, Lesvos | 39.1287 ° N, 26.5446 ° E

Possessed of a grace that transcended language, Hamad is
a man of simple desires. Born with a degenerative muscle
condition, he’d been wheelchair-bound for the last four
years - but was still fiercely determined to find a better
life away from bombs and death. Setting out on his own
across countries and continents, he made it to Ismir on
the coast of Turkey. Given the choice between leaving his
wheelchair, or being left behind, Hamad climbed aboard
the raft on his hands and knees. After three hours of
prayers and the hum of the engines, Hamad found
himself lifted out of the boat, and onto European soil.
Days later, we met him here at the Kara Tepe Center for
Refugees, preparing for the next stage of his journey to
Athens. And the UNHCR had managed to find him a
new wheelchair. He said it wasn’t as nice as his old one,
but he wasn’t picky. Hamad has embarked on the most
difficult journey of his life for the distant hope that
abroad he’ll find a better one. He explained: “In Syria, I
was nothing. I have so much to offer the world, I just
need the chance to prove it.”

  Ghoson’s Story, Part I   Leros Refugee Camp, Greece  | 37.1306° N, 26.8499° E  Ghoson lives for her two young daughters. Alone, they made the long journey from Damascus - and here in her hands she holds the official Missing Persons Report from the day her husband disappeared. With no answers, and no help, Ghoson fought for more than two years to find any sign of her missing husband, a conscripted soldier in Assad’s army, but with money running out, and the war closing in all around her, she made the impossible choice to flee her home and offer her children a future - at the cost of putting her husband forever in her past. Ghoson broke quietly into tears as she recounted the thirteen names of friends and family members killed in the last two years in the violence in Syria. But even amidst all this unspeakable loss, she has hope for a better life: "I live for my daughters, I know that there is more for us out there, that there is a safe place that waits for us all." And I believe there is.

Ghoson’s Story, Part I
Leros Refugee Camp, Greece | 37.1306° N, 26.8499° E

Ghoson lives for her two young daughters. Alone, they
made the long journey from Damascus - and here in her
hands she holds the official Missing Persons Report from
the day her husband disappeared. With no answers, and
no help, Ghoson fought for more than two years to find
any sign of her missing husband, a conscripted soldier in
Assad’s army, but with money running out, and the war
closing in all around her, she made the impossible choice
to flee her home and offer her children a future - at the
cost of putting her husband forever in her past. Ghoson
broke quietly into tears as she recounted the thirteen
names of friends and family members killed in the last
two years in the violence in Syria. But even amidst all this
unspeakable loss, she has hope for a better life: "I live for
my daughters, I know that there is more for us out there,
that there is a safe place that waits for us all." And I
believe there is.

  Ghoson’s Story, Part II   Leros Refugee Camp, Greece  | 37.1306° N, 26.8499° E  Ghoson lives for her two young daughters. Alone, they made the long journey from Damascus - and here in her hands she holds the official Missing Persons Report from the day her husband disappeared. With no answers, and no help, Ghoson fought for more than two years to find any sign of her missing husband, a conscripted soldier in Assad’s army, but with money running out, and the war closing in all around her, she made the impossible choice to flee her home and offer her children a future - at the cost of putting her husband forever in her past. Ghoson broke quietly into tears as she recounted the thirteen names of friends and family members killed in the last two years in the violence in Syria. But even amidst all this unspeakable loss, she has hope for a better life: "I live for my daughters, I know that there is more for us out there, that there is a safe place that waits for us all." And I believe there is.

Ghoson’s Story, Part II
Leros Refugee Camp, Greece | 37.1306° N, 26.8499° E

Ghoson lives for her two young daughters. Alone, they
made the long journey from Damascus - and here in her
hands she holds the official Missing Persons Report from
the day her husband disappeared. With no answers, and
no help, Ghoson fought for more than two years to find
any sign of her missing husband, a conscripted soldier in
Assad’s army, but with money running out, and the war
closing in all around her, she made the impossible choice
to flee her home and offer her children a future - at the
cost of putting her husband forever in her past. Ghoson
broke quietly into tears as she recounted the thirteen
names of friends and family members killed in the last
two years in the violence in Syria. But even amidst all this
unspeakable loss, she has hope for a better life: "I live for
my daughters, I know that there is more for us out there,
that there is a safe place that waits for us all." And I
believe there is.

  Reem's Story.   Eleonas Refugee Camp, Athens  | 37.9828° N, 23.698944° E  Nearly 9 months pregnant, Reem is 21 years old, and full of light. She and her husband fled Syria at the height of the conflict, struggling to make it west. After months in Turkey, her husband was accused of smuggling after he attempted to make the crossing to Europe. That was nearly 4 months ago. Now, the only thing Reem wants is to have her husband back before her baby is born. After sharing her story, she smiles - she will name her child Maria. And she hopes that one day, Maria will see a Syria without war.

Reem's Story.
Eleonas Refugee Camp, Athens | 37.9828° N, 23.698944° E

Nearly 9 months pregnant, Reem is 21 years old, and full of light. She and her husband fled Syria at the height of the conflict, struggling to make it west. After months in Turkey, her husband was accused of smuggling after he attempted to make the crossing to Europe. That was nearly 4 months ago. Now, the only thing Reem wants is to have her husband back before her baby is born. After sharing her story, she smiles - she will name her child Maria. And she hopes that one day, Maria will see a Syria without war.

  January’s Child.   Leros Refugee Camp, Greece  | 37.1305° N, 26.8497° E  Three generations of Syrian women sit and stand before me, and it’s the youngest that seems to command the wind. Catching sunlight, she stares back, challenging. And as I spoke with her mother and grandmother, and learned about their travels and the waiting game they now found themselves playing for keeps, she continued to watch us, the wind whipping through the camp, sending stray laundry eddying around her like loyal subjects. We’d found a curious one.

January’s Child.
Leros Refugee Camp, Greece | 37.1305° N, 26.8497° E

Three generations of Syrian women sit and stand before
me, and it’s the youngest that seems to command the
wind. Catching sunlight, she stares back, challenging. And
as I spoke with her mother and grandmother, and learned
about their travels and the waiting game they now found
themselves playing for keeps, she continued to watch us,
the wind whipping through the camp, sending stray
laundry eddying around her like loyal subjects. We’d
found a curious one.

  Legacy, or, The Sprawl.   Lesvos Municipal Dump, Greece  | 39.1980° N, 26.2952° E  Children play wherever they find themselves. Astride mountains of all kinds, chasing dragons with many meanings. And we’re reminded that hope and safety and wishful thinking all have to go somewhere.

Legacy, or, The Sprawl.
Lesvos Municipal Dump, Greece | 39.1980° N, 26.2952° E

Children play wherever they find themselves. Astride
mountains of all kinds, chasing dragons with many
meanings. And we’re reminded that hope and safety and
wishful thinking all have to go somewhere.

  In The Middle of The Storm, A Light   Moria Refugee Camp, Lesvos  | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E  A young girl watches me from Home 25 as I make my way through the storm. In heavy sheets the rain came down, and in the closed corridor of UN shelters, a door stood open, lights on. There in the yawning doorway, curious eyes watched as I made my way through ankle-deep mud on my way through Mória Refugee Camp looking for the rest of our team. And as I stopped briefly to make this picture, half-blind in the storm, this young girl stared back. A lighthouse, fascinated and unafraid.

In The Middle of The Storm, A Light
Moria Refugee Camp, Lesvos | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E

A young girl watches me from Home 25 as I make my
way through the storm. In heavy sheets the rain came
down, and in the closed corridor of UN shelters, a door
stood open, lights on. There in the yawning doorway,
curious eyes watched as I made my way through
ankle-deep mud on my way through Mória Refugee
Camp looking for the rest of our team. And as I stopped
briefly to make this picture, half-blind in the storm, this
young girl stared back. A lighthouse, fascinated and
unafraid.

  Zaina, Patiently Awaiting   Eleonas Refugee Camp, Athens  | 37.9827° N, 23.6988° E  A Farsi-speaking Afghan tomboy, Zaina was all quiet energy and bright eyes. And in the last light of our final day, all she could seem to see or talk about was the future that lay ahead.

Zaina, Patiently Awaiting
Eleonas Refugee Camp, Athens | 37.9827° N, 23.6988° E

A Farsi-speaking Afghan tomboy, Zaina was all quiet
energy and bright eyes. And in the last light of our final
day, all she could seem to see or talk about was the future
that lay ahead.

  Redwan's Story   Leros Refugee Camp, Greece  | 37.1305° N, 26.8497° E  Redwan and his two sons are looking for a better life. Away from the missile strikes that destroyed their home, and the Regime that imprisoned Redwan for months without trial or sentence. When I asked him, simply, what was the hardest part about leaving his homeland behind, Redwan said that it was telling his boys, Mohammed (right) and Abdul-Rahman (left), that they might not ever see their Syria again. And even as he explained this to me, Mohammed, his eldest, began to softly cry, mourning the loss of his home, his homeland, and everything he has ever known. Redwan is seeking political asylum in the west, looking only for the opportunity to get his son's an education, to work hard, and, as he explained: "to actually live again, without bombs and death and hate."

Redwan's Story
Leros Refugee Camp, Greece | 37.1305° N, 26.8497° E

Redwan and his two sons are looking for a better life.
Away from the missile strikes that destroyed their home,
and the Regime that imprisoned Redwan for months
without trial or sentence. When I asked him, simply, what
was the hardest part about leaving his homeland behind,
Redwan said that it was telling his boys, Mohammed
(right) and Abdul-Rahman (left), that they might not ever
see their Syria again. And even as he explained this to me,
Mohammed, his eldest, began to softly cry, mourning the
loss of his home, his homeland, and everything he has
ever known. Redwan is seeking political asylum in the
west, looking only for the opportunity to get his son's an
education, to work hard, and, as he explained: "to actually
live again, without bombs and death and hate."

  Brothers   Leros Refugee Camp, Greece  | 37.1305° N, 26.8497° E  Muhammad and Abdul-Rahman, 12 and 10 respectively, reminded me of my own brother in so many ways - from their physicality right down to the way they acted, these were just kids caught up in something larger than themselves. As we photographed their father, the boys played in the other room of the abandoned school we'd found as our studio for the day. During our interview, what stuck with me most, even now as I write this caption months later, was Abdul-Rahman's embarrassed admission that one of the things he really missed about home, was his toys. That even as his elder brother held back tears at the thought of never seeing Syria again, for Abdul-Rahman, the reality hadn't fully set in. And that simple distinction was born of the resiliency of youth.

Brothers
Leros Refugee Camp, Greece | 37.1305° N, 26.8497° E

Muhammad and Abdul-Rahman, 12 and 10 respectively,
reminded me of my own brother in so many ways - from
their physicality right down to the way they acted, these
were just kids caught up in something larger than
themselves. As we photographed their father, the boys
played in the other room of the abandoned school we'd
found as our studio for the day. During our interview,
what stuck with me most, even now as I write this
caption months later, was Abdul-Rahman's embarrassed
admission that one of the things he really missed about
home, was his toys. That even as his elder brother held
back tears at the thought of never seeing Syria again, for
Abdul-Rahman, the reality hadn't fully set in. And that
simple distinction was born of the resiliency of youth.

  Landings   Mytilini, Lesvos, Greece  | 39.2645° N, 26.2777° E  The first boats begin landing before dawn. Sometime around five in the morning, long before the light, families touchdown on Greek shores after a journey through the long dark. Here, at just after dawn, a group makes the voyage. Distances are deceiving at sea, and even with the Turkish Coast so visible in the distance, it's no simple crossing. Over three hours in nearly-freezing weather, on a zodiac made for short-range travel, refugees arrive traumatized and shaken. Seen here with effectively a 600mm lens, a boat well over 2-miles away prepares for the final stretch.

Landings
Mytilini, Lesvos, Greece | 39.2645° N, 26.2777° E

The first boats begin landing before dawn. Sometime
around five in the morning, long before the light, families
touchdown on Greek shores after a journey through the
long dark. Here, at just after dawn, a group makes the
voyage. Distances are deceiving at sea, and even with the
Turkish Coast so visible in the distance, it's no simple
crossing. Over three hours in nearly-freezing weather, on
a zodiac made for short-range travel, refugees arrive
traumatized and shaken. Seen here with effectively a
600mm lens, a boat well over 2-miles away prepares for
the final stretch.

  Color & Cold   Moria Refugee Camp, Lesvos  | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E  Ahmad, just 16 and with something of James Dean about him, explains in near-perfect English (as learned from watching Hollywood movies, no less) that leaving your entire life behind is hard, but it's harder still when you're responsible for two younger siblings, your mother, and a babe-in-arms. After losing his father first to Assad's conscriptions, and then a stray rocket blast on the front lines, Ahmad feels he must bear the burden of getting his family West. We sit at his temporary campfire of cardboard and trash, and he doesn't complain, not even once - he just shares his story, because he's finally found someone who will listen. And for people like Ahmad, people in his position, that means a great deal.

Color & Cold
Moria Refugee Camp, Lesvos | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E

Ahmad, just 16 and with something of James Dean about
him, explains in near-perfect English (as learned from
watching Hollywood movies, no less) that leaving your
entire life behind is hard, but it's harder still when you're
responsible for two younger siblings, your mother, and a
babe-in-arms. After losing his father first to Assad's
conscriptions, and then a stray rocket blast on the front
lines, Ahmad feels he must bear the burden of getting his
family West. We sit at his temporary campfire of
cardboard and trash, and he doesn't complain, not even
once - he just shares his story, because he's finally found
someone who will listen. And for people like Ahmad,
people in his position, that means a great deal.

  Manifesto   Mória Refugee Camp, Lesvos  | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E     
  
 
  
     
  
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     Outside the walls of the Moria Refugee Camp in Lesvos, Greece, the concrete bears slogans in five languages, all fluorescent light, cheap spray paint, and thinly-veiled frustration. Inside, families just try to stay warm through the night. 

Manifesto
Mória Refugee Camp, Lesvos | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E

Outside the walls of the Moria Refugee Camp in Lesvos, Greece, the concrete bears slogans in five languages, all fluorescent light, cheap spray paint, and thinly-veiled frustration. Inside, families just try to stay warm through the night. 

  Arrivals, Part 1   Lesvos, Greece  | 39.2645° N, 26.2777° E   It's not all joy.

Arrivals, Part 1
Lesvos, Greece | 39.2645° N, 26.2777° E

It's not all joy.

    
  
 
  
     
  
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   Dawn at Piraeus    Piraeus Port, Greece  | 37.9406° N, 23.6333° E   Families make their way from the maws of the massive ferry like an exodus from the ark, they arrive at dawn, ready for another bus, another train or car, to continue their journey west.

Dawn at Piraeus
Piraeus Port, Greece | 37.9406° N, 23.6333° E

Families make their way from the maws of the massive ferry like an exodus from the ark, they arrive at dawn, ready for another bus, another train or car, to continue their journey west.

  The Hundred in the Hands   Mória Refugee Camp, Lesvos  | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E   Huddled close around the burning pallets and cardboard, a teenager from Damascus recalls his journey across the Aegean Sea. The refugee camps across Greece are full of stories just like these, of videos of their travels and the people who've made the crossing. Without fail, every person we spoke to explained that the hardest part of their journey, was their time in "the boat." Hardly more than a raft, overcrowded beyond all possible safe limits, these rubber boats make a three plus hour crossing through winter waters with families who have left every single thing they own behind on the opposite shores.

The Hundred in the Hands
Mória Refugee Camp, Lesvos | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E

Huddled close around the burning pallets and cardboard, a teenager from Damascus recalls his journey across the Aegean Sea. The refugee camps across Greece are full of stories just like these, of videos of their travels and the people who've made the crossing. Without fail, every person we spoke to explained that the hardest part of their journey, was their time in "the boat." Hardly more than a raft, overcrowded beyond all possible safe limits, these rubber boats make a three plus hour crossing through winter waters with families who have left every single thing they own behind on the opposite shores.

    
  
 
  
     
  
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   By Fire's Light   Mória Refugee Camp, Lesvos  | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E   Families do their best to stay warm as winter settles over the Aegean, and temperatures in the camps plummet. Yet for the children, life remains, at times, innocent - as campfires become adventures, wood-gathering a pastime, and staying warm a vital game. 

By Fire's Light
Mória Refugee Camp, Lesvos | 39.1333° N, 26.5166° E

Families do their best to stay warm as winter settles over the Aegean, and temperatures in the camps plummet. Yet for the children, life remains, at times, innocent - as campfires become adventures, wood-gathering a pastime, and staying warm a vital game. 

  Zahra's Story  | Eleonas Refugee Camp, Athens  Eleonas Refugee Camp, Athens  | 37.9828° N, 23.698944° E   With her two daughters in her arms, Zahra shared her story. "I felt, that at that moment, the only thing left to do was to die." When her husband was taken by the government, they didn't tell her why - she only found out months later that it was for political reasons. Raising her eldest, Sumeneh, who is partially blind in both eyes, Zahra became pregnant with Suraiya while visiting her husband in prison. Alone on the outside, with war on her borders, Zahra received a typewritten letter one day informally her quite simply, that her husband had died in prison. Widowed with two children at the age of 25, Zahra summoned all the strength she had left, and left to seek a better life. Braving thousands of miles by land, and open seas, Zahra explained that she drew strength from her daughters. "They are my world, and my light." Suraiya, who is epileptic, needs simple medication that is easily found in the west, and Zahra has been told there's a clinic in Germany capable of treating Sumeneh's blindness - this is what keeps her going. And through her tears, there was a smile, because Zahra believes more than anything that they will make it. Shortly after hearing Zahra's story, we recounted it to a team from the BBC working with Doctors Without Borders. They've picked up her case, and hopefully she will finally reach that clinic, and that better life she has been dreaming of for so long. 

Zahra's Story | Eleonas Refugee Camp, Athens
Eleonas Refugee Camp, Athens | 37.9828° N, 23.698944° E

With her two daughters in her arms, Zahra shared her story. "I felt, that at that moment, the only thing left to do was to die." When her husband was taken by the government, they didn't tell her why - she only found out months later that it was for political reasons. Raising her eldest, Sumeneh, who is partially blind in both eyes, Zahra became pregnant with Suraiya while visiting her husband in prison. Alone on the outside, with war on her borders, Zahra received a typewritten letter one day informally her quite simply, that her husband had died in prison. Widowed with two children at the age of 25, Zahra summoned all the strength she had left, and left to seek a better life. Braving thousands of miles by land, and open seas, Zahra explained that she drew strength from her daughters. "They are my world, and my light." Suraiya, who is epileptic, needs simple medication that is easily found in the west, and Zahra has been told there's a clinic in Germany capable of treating Sumeneh's blindness - this is what keeps her going. And through her tears, there was a smile, because Zahra believes more than anything that they will make it. Shortly after hearing Zahra's story, we recounted it to a team from the BBC working with Doctors Without Borders. They've picked up her case, and hopefully she will finally reach that clinic, and that better life she has been dreaming of for so long. 

  Water & Soul   Lesvos Municipal Dump, Greece  | 39.1980° N, 26.2952° E     
  
 
  
     
  
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     A thousand life jackets, a thousand new lives.

Water & Soul
Lesvos Municipal Dump, Greece | 39.1980° N, 26.2952° E

A thousand life jackets, a thousand new lives.