The wind whips mercilessly, pushing discarded thermal blankets and empty water bottles down the dirt road and over the edge of the cliffs. The only light comes from the full moon, and the twinkling of civilization 4km across the Aegean in Turkey. As we stand at the highest point on the island of Lesbos, binoculars to our eyes, we wait for the telltale blinking of a single light that lets us know a boatful of refugees is on its way towards us.
Accustomed to the dark, within minutes we all spot a faint blinking light, nearly simultaneously. Taking another minute to make sure it’s what we think it is, we discuss our action plan before dashing back to the warm van and speeding down the dark dirt path at a speed that could, if the volunteer at the wheel didn’t know these roads so well, kill us all.
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