HUFFINGTON POST

Susan Sarandon Is Welcoming Refugees To Greece

"I have come to hear their stories and learn."
Susan Sarandon and other volunteers welcome refugees to Lesbos, Greece.
Susan Sarandon and other volunteers welcome refugees to Lesbos, Greece.

Today the sun is out and the wind has calmed down in Lesbos. A good day for boat arrivals.

A Spanish volunteer group on Jet Skis guide the rubber boats in as we wave from shore. They direct them away from the cliffs to a place they can land safely. 

Medical assistance, blankets, socks, dry clothes, hot tea and juice await them. As they climb out of the boat, I’m handed a little girl who managed to stay dry except for her feet. At first she is frightened but her thirst overcomes her fear as she drains the juice box. 

Susan Sarandon gives a 5-year-old refugee a juice box in Lesbos, Greece.
Susan Sarandon gives a 5-year-old refugee a juice box in Lesbos, Greece.

I take off her wet shoes and socks, warm her feet and put on new socks. I find out the girl's name is Semihan. She is Iranian and 5 years old.

Her mother joins us, shy and shaken. She also has two sons and a husband with her. 

I can see that she’s trying to hold it together. When we make eye contact, I touch her shoulder and tell her in a language that she can’t understand that I’m happy she made it safely. With that little bit of kindness, she breaks. 

Susan Sarandon greets a 5-year-old Iranian refugee as she arrives on the shore of Lesbos, Greece.
Susan Sarandon greets a 5-year-old Iranian refugee as she arrives on the shore of Lesbos, Greece.

I take her in my arms and I, too, begin to weep because I have two boys and a girl also. I can’t imagine what state of desperation could make getting on this overcrowded, rickety boat seem like a good idea. 

Who are these refugees? Where are they from? What led them here? Where will they go? I have come to hear their stories and learn. 

I hope that I can make it possible for them to have a voice so we can understand. Understand that “these people” are just like us, wanting to keep their children safe. Wanting them to have a future. 

Susan Sarandon and other volunteers greet a boat of refugees in Lesbos, Greece.
Susan Sarandon and other volunteers greet a boat of refugees in Lesbos, Greece.

RYOT and The Huffington Post are teaming to up present "The Crossing," an immersive reporting series hosted by Susan Sarandon chronicling the refugee crisis as it unfolds in Greece. Read RYOT co-founder David Darg's haunting report from Lesbos here

Watch our Snapchat (@HuffPost) and The World Post's Instagram feed (@TheWorldPost) for coverage this week, and check back for upcoming virtual reality and 360 films about the people making the perilous journey from the Middle East toward safety.

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