Age: 54

City/Country of origin: Veghel, The Netherlands.

Marital Status: Living together

Children: 0

Profession: Teaching assistant

Hobbies: Gardening

Reason for staying on Lesvos: Holiday 

My mood today (1-10): 8

Why? Lesvos is an amazing island, today we have swum in the pool and driven with the motor bike. And I'm so happy that I've met Mayada, what a special meeting!

My advice for the world: Connect with each other in a positive way. In the end everything is about love.




Age: 43

City/country of origin: Al Hasakah, Syria

Marital status: Widow

Children: 4

Profession: Hairdresser

Hobbies: Cosmetics

Reason for staying on Lesvos: On my way to Germany.

My mood today (1-10): 10

Why? It was lovely to have a conversation with Seet. She gave me an optimistic feeling. 

My advice to the world: I hope that everyone can live in safe places like Europe.



‘I make this journey for my children and grandchildren,’ the Syrian Mayada told the Dutch Seet.  Her husband had died long before the war.  She tried to explain how the war had forced her four sons to be spread out over different countries:

‘Two sons are still in Syria.  One of them is trying to complete his studies so he will have a diploma, but every day he is terrified that the army will pick him up.  My oldest son came with me and his family to Turkey and also wants to make the crossing.  And my youngest son went to Germany last year. I am now trying to go to him and will try to arrange residency permits for my sons who are still in Syria.’

‘Do you want to bring them all together again?’ Seet asked.  ‘Yes, I do, she said, ‘I am worried every minute about the safety of my sons.'

At one time Mayada was a beautician and she had her own hair salon at home.  In the city where they lived there were many tourists. But the war made the tourists disappear and there was nothing left of the house or salon. ‘Is Syria a beautiful country?’ Seet 

asked. ‘Yes, very beautiful,’ Mayada said, ‘we love Syria, but destiny has brought us here. We have nothing left.’ She had never expected this.

‘When I see you, I see worries,’ Seet said, ‘but also a big heart; you have much to offer your children.’  ‘Thank you very much,’ Mayada replied.  They exchanged telephone numbers.  ‘It is like we have known one another for a long time.’

When leaving Seet spoke of her admiration for the people who had to make this journey.  ‘I am so grateful that I have met you,’ Mayada said.  They hugged and then she went back to the parking lot where she spent the night sleeping on the ground.

In the weeks following the discussion we lost contact with Mayada.  Her Syrian number no longer worked and we could not find her on Facebook.  We hoped that everything was going well.  Then, at the beginning of November, Seet received a WhatsApp: ‘I must think of you often and miss you.’ It turned out to be from Mayada. She texted that she was safe with her son in Berlin.  Seet and Mayada hope to see one another again soon.