At the Train Station: Mayas’ Story

It is crowded at the train station at Tabanovce as the refugees exit the train. Today they have crossed the border from Greece, where they arrived in Europe, and boarded the train at the first station in Macedonia.
The few tents put up for shelters are quickly filled up, and families must find other places to eat and rest. Luckily it is not raining today.
Mayas, 12, and Wasama, 10, are sisters fleeing from Syria with their older brother Mohammed, 16, and their parents. They are travelling together in a group of twelve with other family members, and they are heading to Norway.
Mohammed says they have been travelling for fourteen days and that they, as many others, came on a boat from Turkey to Greece. “Travelling is very difficult. Look at the children – they don’t have jackets” he says.
Mayas is lucky to have a warm winter jacket, hat, and gloves, and so is Wasama, but their young cousins have none.
Their mother asks us for jackets for the little ones who are shivering in the freezing wind, but we have none left to give today, and there are no other groups providing these essential either.
The only thing we can give them today is food, with the hope that we will have more coats for the next group.
The family sits just by the edge of the platform. When a train passes, Mayas and her sister put their feet up at the platform, but are still only centimeters away from the passing train. They hold their hands out towards the train as it goes by in a blur, enjoying the quick and welcome rush of warmth.

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