16 The QUEE NS Courier • DECEMBER 10, 2015 for breaking news visit www.qns.com A Helping Hand The Syrian refugee crisis has been dominating headlines for months in Europe and only recently here in America, as the nation expects to take in thousands seeking refuge from the war-torn area. Astoria resident Lindsay Mayberry often heard about the strife in Syria and the plight of those fleeing from ISIS (the Islamic State). Raising three kids, however, left her with little time to fully educate herself about the conflict. Her husband, Larry, urged her to read a New Yorker article documenting the escape of one Syrian refugee and also suggested that she volunteer with Mazi Brosta, a humanitarian organization that stationed volunteers at the Greek/Macedonian border. “After I read the article and watched a video, I couldn’t sleep. And nothing keeps me awake. I’m a Astoria resident volunteers time to aid refugees from war-torn countries mom to three boys,” Mayberry said. “But this night I could not stop the images of fathers, mothers, children, being pushed out to sea in a little raft, out into the cold, out into the unknown and told never to return.” Mayberry read the article on Oct. 20 and, the next day, booked a flight to Thessaloniki, Greece. Accompanied by her mother Karen Davis and friend Kari McGhee, Mayberry stayed at a hotel in the city and would drive one hour north to the Greek/ Macedonian border near a town called Idomeni. The trio spent one week in Greece and four days attending to the thousands of people waiting to cross into Macedonia. Volunteers— who stayed at the camps each day until about 2 a.m.— were in charge of distributing food, tents and blankets and answering questions. “At one time, I’d have 10 different hands on my BY ANGELA MATUA neon green vest, hands that were desperately seeking answers,” she said. On Nov. 18, Mayberry entered the makeshift camp around noon and began directing the buses full of people who entered the grounds. People traveled from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia and even Nepal for a fresh start. Most of the refugees were headed to Germany. Each person would receive a ticket number, food, warm clothes and shoes — many of the refugees were wearing sandals when temperatures dipped in the 40s — before walking almost a mile to reach the Macedonian border. A mother of three, Mayberry was immediately drawn to the children at the camp and began to entertain them with small games. On the second day, Macedonia closed its borders but the buses did not stop. The volunteers were Photos courtesy of Lindsey Mayberry Refugees start a fire as they wait to cross the border.
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