Because We Carry started in 2015 on the initiative of three friends. We started by handing out baby carriers to parents with small children, hence BWC. When this humanitarian crisis started, there was no aid structure set up at all. After making it to Lesvos by rubber boat, the people had to walk for three days from Molyvos in the North to Camp Moria in the South to register.
On one of our first missions, Steffi arrived at Camp Moria, which at that time only accepted people of certain nationalities. Everyone else was stuck outside the camp in an olive grove on a hill. This hill quickly became known as Afghan Hill, due to the many Afghan people residing there. There was nothing for these people so we started handing out the basic necessities: food, bananas and shelter in the form of simple tents. We figured out quickly that more help was needed so we called our festival friends, ID&T. They came to the rescue and soon together with other organizations a large unofficial camp, resembling a festival, evolved. In this camp, from a party tent, we prepared and distributed breakfast and lunch every day (about 3000 per day) for 6 months.
After the Turkey deal in March 2016 the island saw fewer people arrive. As a reaction to the deal, nearly all of the people who had arrived, including the people from Afghan Hill, were kept inside Moria for 35 days. Because of the deal, and no-one knowing what to do, everyone was locked up. The frustration this evoked almost turned us into activists with hairy legs and dreadlocks, but after these days a few of the “most vulnerable cases” were let out of Moria and transferred to Kara Tepe. It was clear that help was needed there. So we worked our ass off for a month proving to Site Management that we would be a valuable asset and by the end of April 2016 we succeeded and BWC moved her operations to Kara Tepe.
For reasons which are unclear to us, the number of arrivals to the island fluctuate a lot. Greece is trying their best to deal with the situation, however this crisis is immensely complex. With no-one really knowing what to do and very little help from outside, people are still usually stuck on Lesvos between 9 to 15 months. So help is always needed.