Cekdar’s Grandmother

A few days ago, we were revisiting some of the new Syrian families we had met to give them supplies; olive oil, food vouchers. Not much but some things to help them over the next few days.

We navigated our way through the meandering streets of Izmir, and when we finally reached our destination, we came across a few families outside, enjoying the sun and watching the children play.

An amazing old lady approached us and we got chatting. She was sitting outside with her daughter and we spent some time with them, taking photos together, before we continued into the Syrian family’s home.

When I got home that night, I posted a picture with the old lady outside the house, and what happened next totally blew me away…

Cekdar, a dear friend of mine and a resident at Pikpa camp in Lesvos, commented on the picture. He said that the lady in the picture was his grandmother!

I didn’t believe him.

The next day we went back to the area to see if it was indeed his grandmother, and mother, that we had met. He spoke about them often while working at the camp. I approached them both and showed them a picture of their boy. They were shocked.

I explained that I had been working at Pikpa for quite a while and that Cekdar had become a good friend to me, a brother. We used to play football together with the other residents of the camp, and he had been working in the kitchen, helping to feed other vulnerable people there. He even helped us through some desperate times on the beaches as a translator.

Cekdar’s grandmother took my phone from me and started kissing the picture of her grandson, her eyes welling up, smiling and laughing. They speak often through the WiFi* at Pikpa, but hearing stories about Cekdar first-hand from me, and knowing what a great young man they have raised, filled them with joy.

They hugged and kissed us as though we were their own.

It was a totally surreal experience. I would never have imagined meeting Cekdar’s mother and grandmother, across the ocean, in a city of 4 million people, while walking through one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods.

Thank you, Dan Teuma, for sharing this beautiful, moving story.

*The WiFi network at Pikpa was installed by Nethope, and we were able to boost the coverage for all of the residents to have access. To know that this has allowed Cekdar to keep in touch with his mother and grandmother is just incredible. THANK YOU, for supporting us, our work and this project. You have helped to create a lifeline.